American Airlines Extends Alcohol Ban In Main Cabin

Airlines have scaled back in-flight alcohol sales during the pandemic

By Bob Kerlik

Published August 23, 2021

Read Time: < 1 min


American Airlines is extending its main cabin alcohol ban until January, the carrier announced last week, amid several national reports of unruly passengers on flights.

The carrier had initially planned to resume serving alcohol on Sept. 13, when the Transportation Security Administration’s mask mandate was set to expire.

Federal officials last week extended that order to Jan. 18, which applies to passengers and staff onboard planes as well as in airports. American pegged its alcohol policy to the same date.

“We are doing all we can to help create a safe environment for our crew and customers onboard our aircraft,” wrote Stacey Frantz, American’s senior manager of flight service policies and procedures. “This decision does not change our current service levels.”

First-class passengers can still be served alcohol on American.

Southwest has also banned alcohol on its flights since March 2020 in response to the pandemic. A Southwest spokesman said alcohol service remains suspended and the airline has no timeline for restoring the service.

United Airlines has stopped selling liquor in the main cabin but is serving beer, wine and hard seltzer on some flights. Delta’s beverage service varies depending on seating section and flight distance, but the airline is offering alcohol in the main cabin on some flights.

American’s announcement came the same week the Federal Aviation Administration issued more than $530,000 in fines against 34 airline passengers for alleged unruly behavior, bringing the total for 2021 to more than $1 million.

Since Jan. 1, 2021, the FAA has received approximately 3,889 reports of unruly behavior by passengers, including 2,867 reports of passengers refusing to comply with the federal mask mandate.

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