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Southwest Airlines to resume serving alcohol on flights

The airline halted its alcohol service at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

DALLAS — If you're taking to the skies on Southwest, you can once again buy an alcoholic beverage on your flight. 

Starting Feb. 16, Southwest Airlines says it is expanding its beverage selection. The airline stopped its full menu of on-board drink options in March 2020 during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

USA Today says it was the first major U.S. airline to suspend traditional inflight service at the beginning of the pandemic in order to reduce the interactions between flight attendants and passengers. 

“Customers have expressed a desire for more beverage options, so we’re delighted to restore additional on-board offerings as a part of the Southwest Hospitality that our Customers know and love,” Tony Roach, Vice President Customer Experience and Customer Relations, said in a statement.

The expanded drink options will be offered on flights longer than 176 miles. The re-added non-alcoholic options include tonic water, apple juice, Coke Zero, Dr. Pepper, hot tea, and hot cocoa. 

Alcoholic drinks will also be available for purchase, including selections of beer, wine and liquor.

Southwest also says passengers who had a Southwest Drink Coupon that expired in 2020 or 2021 and was meant for an alcoholic drink can use it through Dec. 31, 2022. 

Once Southwest resumes alcohol service, American Airlines will be the only major U.S. airline that hasn't resumed serving alcohol in economy class, USA Today says. 

Southwest originally planned to resume sales of inflight cocktails, beer and wine mid-2021 but scrapped plans after "incidents of 'misconduct'" by passengers rose significantly, according to the Associated Press

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