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Southwest Keeps Flights Dry After Passenger Clashes

Alcohol service had been scheduled to resume this summer
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 28, 2021 3:25 PM CDT

(Newser) – Southwest Airlines is delaying serving alcohol again on flights after an increase in incidents of unruly passengers. The airline was planning to resume selling alcohol next month on Hawaii flights and in July on other flights, the AP reports, a move that was questioned by the president of the union representing Southwest flight attendants. "Given the recent uptick in industry-wide incidents of passenger disruptions inflight, we have made the decision to pause the previously announced restart of alcohol service," Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said Friday. Mainz said the decision might disappoint 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."

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The airline has not determined new dates for selling alcohol, Mainz said. The president of the flight attendants union, Lyn Montgomery, said this week that there were 477 incidents of "misconduct" by passengers on Southwest planes between April 8 and May 15, and that her members were concerned about Southwest’s plan to resume selling alcohol on flights. Montgomery raised the issue after a flight attendant was punched in the face by a passenger last Sunday after a flight in California. A 28-year-old woman faces a felony charge of battery, though a police report did not mention alcohol.

(Read more Southwest Airlines stories.)

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