American Airlines Is Banning Alcohol On Some Of Its US Flights. Here's Why

Following the Pro-Trump insurrection at the Capitol Building, American Airlines has decided to cease serving alcohol on flights out of Washington D.C. In addition to Wednesday's events, the ban is in response to the difficulties faced by the hosting staff of a flight from Dallas to D.C. that ferried many Trump supporters on Tuesday, as Axios reports. According to Axios, American Airlines said in a statement that, "We are working closely with local law enforcement and airport authority partners to ensure the safety of our customers and team members on the ground and in the air." This includes restricting access to alcohol in an attempt to stop further belligerency.

Such caution is not unwarranted, however, as videos from the flights heading to D.C. show, Gizmodo reports. One from Texas revealed Trump supporters shouting at other passengers and projecting videos onto the ceiling of the plane's cabin. A Delta flight from Utah featured passengers shouting at Senator Mitt Romney to resign. Gizmodo notes that neither appear to have alcohol, but considering how booze can exacerbate such tensions, it makes sense to reduce the number of ways in which a situation could get out of hand. That was essentially the reason given by Sara Nelson, President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA International: "The mob mentality behavior that took place on several flights to the D.C. area yesterday was unacceptable and threatened the safety and security of every single person onboard. It will not happen again." Presumably, once tensions ease, booze will return.

Previous alcohol bans on flights

This ban almost marks the six month anniversary of the previous ban on serving alcoholic beverages in airplanes. In June, CNN reported that despite the increase in alcohol consumption due to the prolonged pressures of the pandemic, American Airlines, Delta, and others had suspended or limited the service of booze on domestic flights due to the need to reduce contact between staff and passengers. Because alcoholic drinks usually require payment, there is a more prolonged interaction during their service than when snacks are dropped on passengers' laps. That said, even many snack servings were suspended due to concerns of the virus spreading.

By the end of October, however, some services had resumed, according to The Points Guy: "Most airlines are beginning to offer complimentary snacks and drinks again on many flights. Some airlines that went dry have also resumed alcohol service in premium cabins." On American Airlines flights, you could now receive a drink provided you were seated in first class. Otherwise, tough luck. A similar set up was present in Delta, which showered its idyllic boozy offerings upon its First Class and Comfort+ customers. So, really, the new measures American Airlines has put in place may only affect a small segment of those that fly.