You can bring mini-bottles of alcohol through security. But you cannot open them and drink them on a plane.
You can buy alcohol post-security, such as at duty free. But you cannot open the bottles and drink them on a plane.
It is a violation of federal law to drink alcoholic beverage onboard an an aircraft unless served by the airline. Airlines have the option of serving you the alcohol you bring onboard yourself, but that’s entirely at their discretion (and the discretion of the flight attendants on any given flight). So don’t count on it.
Southwest flight WN122 on Saturday night was a 35 jaunt from Houston Hobby airport to… Houston Hobby airport.
Here’s the route they took:
No, this wasn’t a charter flight, and it wasn’t sightseeing. In fact, the flight was supposed to go to San Jose, Costa Rica. There was nothing wrong with the aircraft.
Instead there passengers onboard who brought their own alcohol on the flight and refused crew instructions to cease consuming it. (My seatmate on a Dallas – Austin flight once did that, fortunately we didn’t divert.)
The flight returned to Houston to remove them from the aircraft, and then everyone continued on their journey. Southwest spokesperson Lisa Tiller tells me,
Southwest flight #122 from Houston Hobby to San Jose Costa Rica returned to Houston shortly after takeoff on Saturday evening due to several unruly passengers who refused to follow inflight instruction. The passengers involved were removed and the flight arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica approximately two hours behind schedule. Safety is our primary focus, and we must take appropriate actions to ensure the safety and security of our crews and customers when necessary.
The plane ultimately made its way to Costa Rica a few hours behind schedule. And the passengers who insisted on drinking their own beverages onboard? They won’t be doing any drinking in Costa Rica.