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Airlines Crack Down on Flyers Bringing Their Own Booze Onboard

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The news that airlines had stopped serving alcohol in-flight due to coronavirus sent the internet into an uproar. But if you're thinking of bringing your own mini bottles on your next flight, that may not fly, either.

Delta has begun telling passengers they can't crack open their own alcohol, Thrifty Traveler has learned. Starting Aug. 1, the airline added a reminder to its pre-flight announcements: “Please note that any alcohol brought on board should not be consumed during your flight.”

And Delta isn't alone. USA Today reports Southwest has also added a similar line to their announcements, telling travelers: “It is also prohibited to consume alcohol that you've brought.”

The TSA may allow travelers to bring miniature bottles of alcohol through airport security, but federal regulations explicitly ban drinking any alcohol that wasn't served by the airline. The new in-flight admonishments are apparently in response to an uptick in travelers trying to get their fix at a time when alcohol has largely disappeared from the skies.

Major U.S. airlines pulled alcohol from domestic flights this spring as both a safety and cost-cutting measure, and it hasn't yet returned. Unless you're flying long-haul international, most airlines currently only serve water onboard. Delta resumed pouring complimentary beer and wine in first class and Comfort Plus last month, but the economy cabin is still dry.

In a memo explaining the change, Southwest's manager of in-flight safety, standards and regulatory compliance Kari Kriesel explained that the airline is responding to an uptick in passengers sneaking their own drinks in-flight. And she said most airlines are “noticing the same challenges.”

An American Airlines spokesman said the airline has also noticed an increase in incidents.


Bottom Line

If you want a drink during your travels, you may be out of luck. Don't count on bringing your own booze on board.


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