I landed in Chicago around 11 p.m. last night after a long weekend in the great state of Pennsylvania. Half an hour earlier, up in the air, I chugged the dregs of my complimentary in-flight beverage: cranberry juice served out of a can and poured over ice. Meanwhile, the barefoot man next to me gestured wildly every time we flew over city lights. “That’s gotta be Cleveland!” he exclaimed while I downed my Ocean Spray, wishing that I could trade it in for a gigantic beer.
Earlier today, I chatted with Takeout editor in chief Marnie Shure about the strangeness of in-flight drink orders. For both of us, defying gravity means defying personal beverage guidelines, a phenomenon that sends us reaching for ginger ale and weird orange juice when the drink cart comes rattling down the aisle. To quench one’s thirst onboard an aircraft feels akin to transcending time and space: you’re soaring through the clouds, which means the normal rules don’t apply.
Unfortunately, some airline passengers take that transcendence too literally. Several airlines have recently resumed alcoholic beverage service, which was suspended due to COVID precautions. But a wave of bad, booze-fueled passenger behavior prompted some carriers to ixnay the booze once again. (Back in May, the Federal Aviation Administration said it was reviewing 1,300 reports of “passengers behaving badly” on flights since February. For context, it usually takes about a decade to rack up that many reports.)
It seems some people just can’t handle their alcohol in public spaces, but that’s really nothing new. For the rest of us, my question is this: do you imbibe on planes? As a very nervous flyer, I’ve found that a glass of wine on an international flight can make takeoff a less unnerving experience, but I’ve never gone further than that. With COVID restrictions loosening nationwide and folks cruising out for summer holidays, where do we stand on in-flight booze these days?