Major airlines American and Southwest will extend their suspensions of in-flight alcohol service following a rise in incidents involving unruly passengers.
With travel now getting closer to pre-pandemic levels, there have been a growing number of altercations on flights between passengers and flight crew.
On Friday, a passenger on a Southwest flight attacked a flight attendant, knocking out two of her teeth after refusing to sit down at the attendant's request.
This, CBS News reports, was the latest of 477 passenger misconduct incidents over the period between April 8 and May 15 on Southwest flights – part of 2,500 incidents on all airlines reported in the U.S. in 2021.
This prompted to airline to announce that its suspension of in-flight alcohol service – which was due to be lifted this summer after being halted during the pandemic – would be extended.
On Saturday, American Airlines followed suit, saying that alcohol would only be served to passengers in First and Business class, having initially planned to open it up to Main Cabin passengers on June 1.
In a memo reported by The Street, CEO Brady Byrnes "Over the past week we’ve seen some of these stressors create deeply disturbing situations on board aircraft. Let me be clear: American Airlines will not tolerate assault or mistreatment of our crews."
The American alcohol suspension will remain in place until Sept. 13.
Delta, the biggest carrier from Minneapolis-St. Paul, said it had made no changes to its in-flight services yet, with alcohol still available for purchases in economy on most of its domestic flights.