Southwest Airlines raises prices on alcohol ahead of the holidays

The price of drinking on Southwest Airlines flights is going up starting on Wednesday.

The Dallas-based carrier confirmed “a modest change” to the pricing of its alcoholic beverages would take effect on November 15, noting in an email that Southwest last raised the cost of booze on its planes in 2018.

All liquor on Southwest will cost $9, an increase of $2, or nearly 29%, from the $7 Southwest had been charging. Beer options including Kona Brewing Big Wave Golden Ale, Lagunitas IPA and Miller Lite will run $7, versus $6, and wine choices such as Cruset Brut sparkling wine, Carmenet Cabernet Sauvignon, Mossel Bay Chenin Blanc Chardonnay and Stone Cellars California Rosé will cost $8, up from from $6. 

Southwest said will continue to offer free nonalcoholic beverages, including soft drinks, juices, coffee, tea and water. The carrier offers only water on flights of 175 miles or less.

The airline’s pricier drink menu comes amid signs that U.S. inflation is easing overall, as it remained unchanged in October from the previous month. Still, the Labor Department’s report on Tuesday listed travel as among the services where prices continue to outpace pre-pandemic levels, largely reflecting higher labor costs.

Southwest early last year revived sales of alcohol on flights after placing its drink menu placed on hiatus in March 2020 when the pandemic erupted in the U.S. Initially installed to keep passengers from taking off their face masks, Southwest and other major carriers wound up extending restrictions on alcohol due to widespread passenger disruptions. 

Those incidents included one in 2021 in which a Southwest flight attendant lost two teeth after being assaulted by a passenger, one of 477 cases of passenger misconduct on Southwest flights between April and May of that year, the carrier’s flight attendant union said at the time. 

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