American Airlines will be following Southwest Airlines lead by continuing to ban alcohol on flights during the summer.
The ban is meant to help decrease the rise in assaults on board and will remain valid until September 13. This is when the mask mandate for planes, trains, and buses will expire according to Business Insider.
The decision comes after a Southwest Airlines flight attendant was punched in the face by a passenger. The flight attendant lost two teeth on Sunday while in flight from Sacramento to San Diego.
Video obtained by CBS News shows the moment a Southwest Airlines flight attendant was punched by a passenger after asking her to keep her seat belt fastened during a flight from Sacramento to San Diego Sunday. https://t.co/gQusevodYC pic.twitter.com/oOYvPdwCFj— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 27, 2021
“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,” Brady Byrnes, the managing director of flight service at American Airlines said in a memo according to Insider.
“Over the past week we’ve seen some of these stressors create deeply disturbing situations on board aircraft,” the memo stated. “Let me be clear: American Airlines will not tolerate assault or mistreatment of our crews.”
American Airlines had reinstated beverage services on May 1 from the March 2020 ban due to COVID-19 restrictions. The alcohol sales were set to resume on June 1 at their main cabin.
“We also recognize that 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,” Byrnes stated in the memo.
Southwest Airlines made their announcement on Friday that they will not sell alcohol on board until the end of July, after the incident.
“We realize this decision may be disappointing for some customers, but we feel this is the right decision at this time in the interest of the safety and comfort of all customers and crew onboard,” Chris Mainz, a Southwest spokesman said.