Alaska Airlines cuts off pre-takeoff cocktails for first-class passengers

Passengers on an Alaska Airlines flight on Aug. 24, 2014. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Passengers on an Alaska Airlines flight in 2014. The Seattle-based carrier said it has stopped offering alcoholic drinks to first-class passengers before takeoff but will begin to serve sparkling wine to those passengers starting in November.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

The acquisition of Virgin America by Alaska Airlines is leading to changes for passengers who like to down a few cocktails before a flight.

Before Alaska Airlines’ parent company acquired Virgin America in 2016, first-class passengers on Virgin America were able to order cocktails before takeoff. Alaska Airlines continued to offer the pre-flight drinks on the 71 Airbus planes formerly operated by Virgin America.

With the merger nearly complete, Alaska Airlines put an end to that service Aug. 1.

“As part of this move to streamline the customer experience, we will no longer be offering full-bar service prior to departure on Airbus planes,” said Alaska spokeswoman Bobbie Egan.


But there is good news for fliers who like to imbibe before a flight.

Starting Nov. 1, first-class passengers flying before 10 a.m. on all Alaska Airlines flights will be offered nonalcoholic pre-takeoff drinks, including bottled water and coffee.

On all flights departing after 10 a.m., Alaska Airlines fliers will be offered pre-takeoff drinks that include sparkling wine (but no cocktails).

Then, as now, the bar is open once the plane lifts off.


“Our focus is on delivering a consistent experience to guests,” Egan said.

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