Now Serving Booze For Breakfast At Airports

on 01/12/10 at 3:07 pm

Booze News

It’s getting easier to grab a drink at the airport and in the air.

Some airports now allow liquor to be sold at dawn or around the clock. Passengers can experience happy hour at 30,000 feet. And wine aficionados passing through airports in Philadelphia, New York and Seattle can enjoy a tasting without leaving the terminal.

The ability to enjoy a libation while flying is a long-standing perk. But the increased access and options reflect efforts by some airports to boost revenue, as well as a growing marketing savvy by airlines, which now sell everything from meals to day passes to their premium lounges, travel experts say.

“What’s happening is airlines are becoming better retailers of products,” says Jay Sorensen, a consultant, who says the cocktail push by U.S. airlines began during the last year. “They’re doing things to highlight the fact that, ‘Yes, indeed, we do sell alcohol on the airplane.’ They’re trying to mimic what occurs on the ground in terms of consumer promotions.”

But some union leaders, local officials and frequent fliers fear that the increased access to alcohol raises the risk of more drunken travelers (duh), particularly at a time when many passengers find a travel experience that involves enhanced screening and crowded planes more stressful than ever.

Last month, two AirTran passengers — one flying from Los Angeles International to Atlanta Hartsfield, another headed to Atlanta from New Orleans — weren’t allowed to board because they were intoxicated.

{Full story via USA Today}

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