Federal Court reverses ban on US Airways New Mexico liquor license

US AirwaysThis week, a federal appeals court overturned a ban the had been preventing US Airways from serving alcohol on flights to and from the state of New Mexico. The ban was put in place back in 2006 after an incident involving a drunk passenger.

The passenger, Dana Papst had been served two drinks on his US Airways Albuquerque flight, despite already being intoxicated. On his drive back home from the airport, he smashed into oncoming traffic, killing himself and five others.

For years, the airline had been in court trying to get the ban overturned, but it took a federal judge to rule in their favor.

US Airways had argued that airline alcohol laws are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and not local states. Part of the states decision to ban the airline from serving alcohol was based on a history of citation for over-serving passengers.

What do you think? If an airline has a history of over-serving, should states be allowed to revoke their liquor license?


[Photo credit: AP]

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 …

Five facts about vacation relaxation: boys drink, girls read and nobody sleeps

Everyone has a different approach to relaxation. Aside from the major activities at a destination, like hitting the beach or wandering the city, there are the things we do back at the room that help us unwind. What you do when your feet are up, however, differs for men and women … shocking, right?

According to the “Relaxation Report,” by Princess Cruises:

1. Men drink, women read: 32 percent of women read to relax, compared to only 18 percent of men. Liquor, on the other hand, appeals to 25 percent of men and only 15 percent of women as the top relaxation option. The story, in USA Today, also indicates that men will take beer over wine, at 41 percent to 27 percent, with women usually opting to sip wine instead of beer (45 percent to 27 percent).

2. Nobody likes bits and bytes: 97 percent of respondents to the Princess Cruises survey, 97 don’t hit the web as their primary way to relax, with 87 percent eschewing television for this purpose. Keep in mind, however, that this is only as the “primary” way to relax: it doesn’t mean people unplug when they get away.3. Sleeping sucks: 55 percent would rather get up early than sleep late when they’re on vacation. Men are more likely than women to do this, at a rate of 58 percent to 51 percent. I get the reasoning on this: you want to maximize your time at your destination!

4. Natural water is best: 67 percent of respondents like to chill at the beach, with 26 percent thinking a pool is better. This really doesn’t blow me away: beaches are far better.

5. Schedules are unacceptable: do you prefer a set itinerary? Well, you’re in the minority – 60 percent would rather take it easy and see what the vacation gives them.

Study abroad, major in getting drunk

Your kids are getting wasted on your dime. Forget about the new cultures, unusual experiences and memories and lessons that will last well into a young person’s life. Instead, shots off some hottie’s very tight stomach are far more likely.

Researchers at the University of Washington found that students who study abroad are more likely to increase how much alcohol they drink – more than doubling their intake, on average College kids studying in Europe, Australia and New Zealand are the spots where imbibing increased most.

So, how could this possibly happen? According to the Associated Press, “Students reported drinking more when they perceived their fellow travelers were drinking more heavily, and those who planned to make drinking part of their cultural immersion did so.”

Of course, these programs provide a real opportunity for underage drinkers, which is why this group’s intake grew by 170 percent, compared to the average of 105 percent.

Fortunately, the study abroad experience is not transformative … at least not in this regard. On average, the students doubling their drinking while away from home came back and settled into a routine of three to five drinks a week.

[Via Gawker, photo by Mike Burns via Flickr]

American Airlines to deliver free liquor to top customers

American Airlines is stepping up to take care of some of its most loyal and committed customers. The carrier is going to start offering up free booze in its U.S. Admirals Club lounges beginning October 1, 2010. Look for the basics – “well-brand liquors, as well as beers and house wines” – the company said in an announcement. Premium alcohol and food will be available, but not free.

The company continues, in its statement, “Our customers have asked for free drinks and we are delighted to respond to their request by providing this service for our existing and new members at our clubs worldwide.”

[Image credit: AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee]

This comes on the heels of another perk offered in the Admirals Club. American put the word out on Monday that it was bringing new HP computers into the lounges “to offer members and guests the latest technology for their professional and personal needs.”

This is both nice and smart. In addition to improving the travel experience for its customers, American is focusing on those with likely the highest spending behavior, which means it’s rewarding its best passengers – a tactic that works well in just about every other business.