Airlines Pause Alcohol Service Amid Surge Of Maskhole Violence On Planes

by Madison Vanderberg
Getty/CBS Twitter

Southwest and American Airlines just put alcohol service on pause again just days after a violent altercation on a flight goes viral

At the beginning of the pandemic, airlines temporarily paused in-flight alcohol service to limit the contact between flight attendants and passengers. Now, airlines that previously planned to start serving alcohol again are holding off again, but this time they’re not serving alcohol because passengers are being way too violent with airline staff as complaints about passenger behavior has skyrocketed during the pandemic, with many of those complaints about mask usage. Aka maskholes are ruining flying for everyone else.

Southwest and American Airlines just announced that they would continue their pause on alcohol service, citing their fears about employees safety. Just this week, a woman punched a Southwest flight attendant over an argument that was reportedly about the fact that the passenger would not pull her mask up over her nose. The flight attendant lost two teeth in the assault.

The New York Times reports that the Federal Aviation Administration has received 2,500 reports of bad behavior by passengers since January 1, 2021, including about 1,900 reports involving refusal to comply with mask mandates. The FAA said there has been a “disturbing increase” in the number of unruly passengers who seem to believe they are above a federally mandated mask policy required for them to fly. Normally, the FAA sees anywhere from 100 to 150 complaints in an entire year.

The two airlines realized that they cannot protect their employees as is during this uptick in violence, so re-instating alcohol service was off the table.

Southwest and American Airlines (which was set to resume alcohol service on flights this upcoming week), said Screw It, and put alcohol service back on pause because adding booze to an already unruly group of passengers just spells trouble. Southwest said they would pull alcohol from flights due to the “recent uptick industrywide of incidents in-flight involving disruptive passengers.”

American Airlines suspended alcohol sales until mid-September stating “alcohol can contribute to atypical behavior from customers onboard and we owe it to our crew not to potentially exacerbate what can already be a new and stressful situation for our customers.”

“Flight attendants are on the front lines every day not only ensuring our customers’ safety, but are also calming fears, answering questions, and enforcing policies like federally-required face masks. Over the past week we’ve seen some of these stressors create deeply disturbing situations on board aircraft,” the airline continued. “Let me be clear: American Airlines will not tolerate assault or mistreatment of our crews.”

Despite the fact that stories of violent maskholes disrespecting and fighting with airline staff seem to go viral weekly, the FAA has reportedly only doled out fines to five individuals this year.

What a damn mess.