American Airlines is extending its suspension of in-flight alcohol service until September following reports of unruly passengers on other airlines.
The decision was announced in an internal memo on Saturday, a day after Southwest Airlines banned a passenger accused of assaulting a flight attendant and breaking two of her teeth.
“Flight attendants are on the front lines every day to not only keep our customers safe, but also allay fears, answer questions and enforce policies such as face masks required by the federal government,” the memo reads. . “Over the past week, we’ve seen some of these stressors create deeply disruptive situations on airplanes. “
Alcohol will be offered in first class and business class, according to the memo.
“Over the past week, we’ve seen some of these stressors create deeply disruptive situations on planes,” the company said in the memo. “Be clear: American Airlines will not tolerate assault or mistreatment of our crews. “
Southwest Airlines said on Friday it would not resume alcohol service following an increase in passenger misconduct across the country. Airlines reported 2,500 unruly passenger incidents in 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration said earlier this week. That number includes at least 1,900 cases in which passengers have refused to wear face masks.
The agency sees 100 to 150 formal cases of passenger misbehavior in a typical year. This year unruly passengers were fined up to $ 15,000 for berating or physically assaulting flight attendants and diverting flight crews, including pilots, from their duties.
Last weekend, witnesses aboard a Southwest flight from Sacramento to San Diego told police that a 28-year-old passenger struck a flight attendant in a clash. A statement from Southwest said she had “repeatedly ignored standard flight instructions and became verbally and physically abusive on landing.”
Lyn Montgomery, president of Local 556 of the Transport Workers Union of America, wrote in a letter Monday that the flight attendant was “seriously assaulted, resulting in facial injuries and the loss of two teeth.”
Paramedics took the flight attendant to hospital for treatment. Her alleged assailant was arrested and charged with grievous bodily harm.