Southwest says it may start selling booze on flights again this spring. It'd come after a record year in unruly passenger behavior.
Southwesthas halted its in-flight alcoholservice during the coronavirus pandemic.
- On Thursday, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said the carrier was looking to resume service in spring.
Like other carriers, Southwest first paused in-flight alcohol sales in 2020 to minimize contact between staff members and passengers during the coronavirus pandemic. Plans to restore the service were postponed first because of a rise in unruly passengers and then because of a federal mask mandate that now is scheduled to run through March 18.
On Thursday, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said the carrier was looking to resume alcohol service "late in the first quarter, maybe early in the second quarter," according to a transcript of the airline's fourth-quarter earnings call.
The carrier is bolstering its safe-distancing measures before resuming the service, Kelly indicated in the call.
The Federal Aviation Administration said this month that it received 5,981 unruly-passenger reports in 2021. According to the FAA, more than two-thirds of those incidents were attributed to disputes over face masks.
Southwest Airlines' flight-attendant union, TWU Local 556, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.
Flight attendants told Insider's Allana Akhtar in June that they hoped the limits on alcohol service would stay.
"When we have problems that escalate, they would be escalated 10 times more if they were fueled by alcohol," an anonymous flight attendant told Insider at the time.
FAA regulations do not allow passengers to consume alcohol on flights unless the drinks are served by the airline.
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