United Latest Airline To Scale Back On Inflight Booze

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If you fly United and need a drink to relax, well, you may want to begin the process before you get on the plane.

That’s because United has become the latest airline service to decide it will start scaling back on alcohol, largely because of, you know, “unruly” passengers.

The decision: United will make wine, beer and hard seltzer available on domestic flights over 800 miles. Previously, those adult beverages were available on flights of more than 200 miles.

As The Hill relayed, this sort of scaling back on booze has become the norm in the airline industry.

“Both Southwest Airlines and American Airlines announced recently that they would also be limiting alcohol service on their flights,” The Hill wrote. “American Airlines said it would not be lifting its suspension on alcoholic drinks until September due to ‘disturbing situations on board aircraft’ in which passengers have allegedly assaulted staff members on flights.”

This all follows a “zero-tolerance” announcement from Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson in January. Then, Dickson said bad behavior on flights — or more specifically, alcohol-induced bad behavior — would result in fines and jail time, as opposed to simple warnings.

Now, United is united on that front.

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico spent 15 years covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and NBA.com, along with a few other spots, and currently runs his own basketball website on the side, FortyEightMinutes.com.


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  1. How many of those people sitting in 42E do you think can actually afford a double Tito’s and Soda, let alone the two or three necessary to get belligerent enough to get kicked off a plane for *no reason other than being intoxicated* (this means, drop the other factors like, “This isn’t a restaurant, mask on in between bites,” “that bitch moved my bag,” etc)? I used to love most SWA flight attendants, but the domestic trip this summer was absolutely annoying AF.

    It’s between $14-16 per double, not including tax. Meanwhile, feel absolutely free to buy an entire bottle of wine (175ml at a time) for less than four equivalent drinks of spirits. Don’t forget, the FAs have ALWAYS HAD THE RIGHT TO NOT SERVE YOU if they suspected you of being intoxicated, no matter where you were sitting.

    And of course no one, ever, gets drunk and belligerent in business or first. Remember how food service had to be cut from crappy to extra shitty to “minimize contact” between FAs and passengers? Oh yeah, that was totally dropped as soon as we found out COVID didn’t live on surfaces… Wait, still there. They only care about your safety.

    Annd, we’ll bring this back to sports. When stadiums were dry, even people that weren’t big drinkers usually put a little extra in the tank since they’re going to be dry for 3.5 hours. So what do you think people on their way to Orlando are going to do at the hotel bar before departure? I’m sure that will improve behavior.

  2. This is dumb. No one gets drunk *on* the flight. They boarded that way. Simple solution: don’t let super drunk people get on I suppose (not even really on board with that since they paid to be there and aren’t technically violating their arrangement, but it seems doable). Not letting regular passengers enjoy their one or two in-flight drinks to transition from work to vacation mode is silly based on a few isolated incidents.

    • I actually noticed that point after I posted; no drink service on 200 mile or under flights… I mean, the flight to Dallas from HOU barely gets you one beer before they’re collecting empties at the front of the cabin on SWA, so we’re going to end up drunk how? Maybe you’ll think I’m drunk after flying out of OKC when there’s a tornado cell (typical summer weather in OK) inbound.

    • I have particular red-ass about this because I’m almost exclusively long haul international in economy, and you can absolutely go and do horrible things to your body with a Volkswagen Beetle coated in vaseline before you take my ability to get happy/sleepy before the turbulence in Newfoundland/Greenland hits, or flying over Iran because it’s the “safe” option to get where I’m going.

  3. I flew Singapore Air between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. 90 miles, 50 minutes gate-to-gate. Business class. I was served a drink (Jack & diet) after boarding, a drink right after wheels up, and one right before descent. They also served a warm spring roll appetizer that was delicious.

    Drunk and disorderly passengers are not the issue. Packing people on crap-ass planes and giving them even worse service is. United, American, and Delta wouldn’t last a year competing with Singapore Air, Thai Air, or Emirates in equal markets.

  4. There have been MILLIONS of airline customers this year. Just as President Bidet has deemed EVERY white male Trump voter to be a white supremacist, these airlines are treating EVERY customer as though they are mindless idiots incapable of behaving like adults.

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