Bottoms up? Airports and airlines don’t want you sober

liquor served by airlines and airportsIf you want to grab a beer at 5 AM, go to your nearest airport or board a flight. More airports are letting vendors sell liquor at dawn, or in some cases 24 hours a day. The move isn’t intended to keep you happy, of course, that’s really irrelevant to the aviation industry. Rather, the goal is to pump up revenues by getting you to dig a little deeper into your wallet while you’re traveling. Further, it reflects a bit of “marketing savvy,” USA Today reports, as airports and airlines are figuring out that they can sell just about everything, “from meals to day passes to their premium lounges.”

USA Today continues:

“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.”

Of course, some corners of the airline industry aren’t happy about the prospect of bringing new revenue into businesses that often struggle to perform well. The concerns are legitimate, with “some union leaders, local officials and frequent fliers fear[ing] that the increased access to alcohol raises the risk of more drunken travelers, particularly at a time when many passengers find a travel experience that involves enhanced screening and crowded planes more stressful than ever,” USA Today reports.The decision to serve liquor around the clock is expected to have tangible results, however, with an extra $500,000 to $1 million in revenues for O’Hare alone, up from the current level of approximately $20 million a year.

There’s good money in liquor, and if you drink enough, maybe the airlines and airports will be able to invest in a little customer service training …