Feb 4, 2022 - Economy & Business

Flight attendants' union slams Southwest plan to resume alcohol sales

Picture of two people walking underneath a blue "Southwest" terminal sign
Airline workers walk toward the Southwest Airlines terminal at the San Francisco International Airport on Jan. 24. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The union representing Southwest Airlines flight attendants says it opposes the airline's plan to resume alcohol sales on flights because it could increase customer "misconduct issues."

Driving the news: Southwest said late Thursday that it will resume alcohol sales on most of its flights on Feb. 16. It was the first major airline to suspend booze sales at the start of the pandemic.

  • "Customers have expressed a desire for more beverage options, so we’re delighted to restore additional on-board offerings as a part of the Southwest Hospitality that our Customers know and love," Tony Roach, Southwest's VP of customer experience and customer relations, said in a statement.

What they're saying: The flight attendants' union, TWU Local 556, said in a Facebook post that it is "outraged" at Southwest's "irresponsible resumption of alcohol sales."

  • "We have adamantly and unequivocally informed management that to do this prior to the mask mandate being lifted is contrary to their prior statements and will potentially increase customer non-compliance and misconduct issues," the union added.
  • "This, along with added injury risk on ultra-short haul service flights, will put our [m]embers overall safety and security at an unacceptable level of risk."

The big picture: The Federal Aviation Administration in 2021 received nearly 6,000 reports of unruly passenger behavior, with over half, about 4,200, being mask-related.

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