Memphis Airport Will Offer Beer-to-Go for Passengers

Goodness knows that most flights have no issue with alcohol, but it sure seems as though onboard alcohol-related incidents are reaching epidemic proportions. And the diversions they cause are costly to airlines and passengers alike.

Whether it’s the drunk Alaska Airlines passenger who started demanding hugs, the two drunk women playing music on their speakers who went to the lavatory declaring “I’m a suicide bomber” or the drunk American Airlines passenger who urinated in his seat, flying breeds bad behavior but topped with alcohol it can be… problematic.

Flight attendants had to take down a drunk passenger using an ice pick and a pot of coffee last year. What this man did isn’t even safe for work. And then there’s Blac Chyna

But airports are designed to generate revenue and the more alcohol you sell:

  • The more revenue restaurants make
  • Which drives up airport rents
  • And increases the airport’s take from revenue-sharing

So it’s no surprise that the Memphis airport plans to allow passengers to purchase beer-to-go.

Restaurants in the airport do currently sell alcoholic beverages, however, passengers must keep them inside the restaurants.

The new permit will allow restaurants to provide customers with a beer-to-go option, making it more convenient for those who want a drink, but like, or need, to be close to their gate.

So you can drink at your gate but you’d better not bring your own alcohol onboard. I once sat next to a woman on a Dallas – Austin flight who brought onboard a cup of wine from the lounge. She got into an argument with a flight attendant which led to a Passenger Inflight Disturbance Form (at British Airways they warn passengers with a yellow card).

You can’t drink the wine an airline gives you in the club if you bring it on the plane, you can only drink the wine the airline gives you in the air. And you can’t keep drinking water the airline gives you in the plane prior to takeoff once the plane pushes back, but you can keep drinking the water you got in the club and brought on board yourself.

If you bring your own alcohol, you may wind up diverting the flight. But if you drink all the alcohol that’s already on the plane, you may get congratulated.

With 60% fewer passengers using the airport than before Delta acquired Northwest Airlines, in the name of revenue generation Memphis is going to try this grand social experiment. We’ll see what happens. Any guesses?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Yes, it’s going to be consumed responsibly…. duh. This isn’t a nation of idiots. (Trump aside). I think we can manage a drink at the gate without getting arrested. As a Memphis based FF I am proud of our airport for innovation on income streams.

  2. I remember before 9/11 when I still flew American grabbing a beer from a stand at MIA and walking over to the next gate without problems.

  3. Chicago O’hare allows it. They have it at Chili’s to go – they pour it in a plastic cup and you can walk around the airport with it.

  4. 1) Lots of airports have inside the airport carry. No biggie there.

    2) Traffic is so low at Memphis, is anyone going to notice?

  5. @ Nathan I’ll pay attention to your comments on DJT’s intelligence as soon as you make your first Billion $ and get elected POTUS. 😉

  6. I believe that Tennessee has a requirement that everyone must show their ID (proof of age) in order to purchase alcoholic beverages. Even if you’re 80, you’re gonna get carded.

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