American Airlines has joined Southwest Airlines in banning alcohol services on flights, the airline announced Saturday. The decision comes after a recent assault of a Southwest flight attendant that resulted in a severe injury.
“Flight attendants are on the battlefront every day not only ensuring our customers’ safety, but are also answering questions, calming fears, and enforcing policies like federally-required face masks,” said managing director of flight service at American, Brady Byrnes.
“Over the last week, we’ve seen some of these troubles create deeply disturbing situations on board,” Byrnes added. “Let me be clear: American Airlines will not condone mistreatment or assault of our crews.”
American Airlines first banned alcohol sales in March 2020 to minimize interaction between passengers and crew and ensure safer flights.
The airline said alcohol services would remain suspended till September 13. The date corresponds with the end of the Transportation Security Administration’s mask mandate for all airlines.
The order requires masks on all travellers in aeroplanes, airports, buses, boats, terminals and trains. It was set to end on May 11, but the TSA delayed it to September.
American’s extended suspension on services comes after the airline restored beverage services, including alcohol on May 5, in all of its premium cabins.
The airline declared alcohol will continue to be offered in business and first-class cabins but only inflight. Alcohol sales were originally scheduled to resume on the airline’s main cabin on June 1 but will remain adjourned.
“While we appreciate that crewmembers and customers are eager to return to “normal,” we will move deliberately and cautiously when restoring pre-Covid practices,” Brady said in the memo.
“We also admit that alcohol can contribute to abnormal behaviour from customers, and we owe it to our crew not to possibly worsen what can already be a stressful situation for our customers,” Byrnes said.
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