If you’ve been following our blogs, then you’re well aware about the spike of U.S. alcoholism since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly that is now a proven fact and it is rearing its head in many new places, including domestic airline flights. In fact, excessive drinking has become such a problem in the skies that major players like United, Southwest and American are pulling back on their beverage services.
CBS News was just one of the outlets to cover this alarming trend. A new article on their site highlighted the actions these major airline companies are taking after more drinking and disorderly conduct began occurring on their flights.
United Airlines is one of the more recent companies to cut back on their alcohol service. Now, only beer and hard seltzer will be available on select flights. The travel route will also have to be 800 miles or more for the service to be available. They are actually following suit from American Airlines, who took an even harsher stance. That company has banned all alcohol from their main cabins.
And though you may think some of these decisions were based on COVID-19 safety, they actually harken back to consistent unruly disruptions during flights. Southwest Airlines (who took similar actions) made headlines recently after a drunken passenger assaulted a flight attendant; knocking two of their teeth out.
In response, the company issued a statement banning all alcohol from its flights. “Given the recent uptick in industry-wide incidents of passenger disruptions inflight, we have made the decision to pause the previously announced re-start of alcohol service onboard June and July,” Southwest said in a statement. “We realize this decision may be disappointing for some customers, but we feel this is the right decision at this time in the interest of the safety and comfort of all customers and crew onboard.”
And this type of behavior has become universal. The Federal Aviation Administration told CBS that they received roughly 2,500 reports unruly behavior linked to alcohol since the start of 2021. This, as you can imagine, is a drastic increase to what the airlines had seen in previous years.
Obviously this past year and half has brought on several new stressors; which not only led more people to drink, but also heightened anxieties and frustrations. Clearly this habit is now becoming a safety concern in the air and we think it merits a deeper analysis into the alcoholic habits of Americans in 2021.