American Airlines Extends Alcohol Sale Suspension Until September

The airline's announcement comes after what it described in a memo as "deeply disturbing situations" over the past week

NBC 5 News

American Airlines has extended its suspension of alcohol sales in the main cabin through Sept. 13.

The decision was announced in an internal memo to flight attendants of the Fort Worth-based airline Saturday.

The memo said the airline recognizes alcohol can contribute to "atypical behavior" and "we owe it to our crew not to potentially exacerbate what can already be a new and stressful situation for our customers."

American suspended alcohol sales in the main cabin in March 2020.

"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," the memo said. "Over the past week we’ve seen some of these stressors create deeply disturbing situations on board aircraft."

Alcohol will continue to be offered in first and business classes, but will not be offered before departure, according to the memo.

American joins Dallas-based Southwest Airlines in the decision to delay alcoholic beverage sales. Southwest announced Friday its decision to pause its plan to resume alcohol service, which the airline had initially planned to bring back this summer.

The Southwest decision came days after a video surfaced of a passenger punching a flight attendant in the face. The flight attendant lost two teeth in the attack, according to the union president.

Michelle Manner, a passenger on the flight who recorded the video, said the passenger and flight attendant had been yelling at each other and that the disagreement was over the mask policy.

The Transportation Security Administration in April extended the federal mask mandate that includes airports, onboard planes, and bus and rail systems. It is set to expire Sept. 13.

On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration said it has received about 2,500 reports of unruly behavior by passengers, 1,900 of which included passengers who refused to comply with the federal mask mandate.

The FAA said it has proposed civil penalties ranging from $9,000 to $15,000 against five passengers for their behavior, which included two assaults on flight attendants.

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