In June 2021, American Airlines joined Southwest and banned alcohol during flights. This came as a response to a surge in unruly passengers post-COVID-19 lockdowns. Passengers have grown used to giving up small luxuries when traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic but now with even fewer amenities on various airlines, will the ban on alcohol hurt sales?
Only 10% of travelers we surveyed said they definitely would not consider buying a ticket on a flight that didn’t serve alcohol. But even if alcohol isn’t a deciding factor, many people would still prefer to have the option of a drink in flight. More men than women said that food and beverage offerings were a priority to them when choosing an airline (34% vs. 20%). And regionally, travelers in the West prioritize these offerings with far greater importance than the rest of the country, particularly those travelers originating from the South and Midwest.
Cost is actually the number one decision-maker when buying a ticket, with 81% of today’s travelers giving it their top priority. Interestingly, age seems to play a significant role in further travel preferences. An airline’s ability to fly in and out of specific locations is more important to convenience-seeking older generations (45+ years old) than to Gen Z respondents. Additionally, their decision to buy a ticket would be less influenced by alcohol service compared to younger travelers.
Looking at current travel reports, it’s clear that almost all Americans are excited to return to the sky. Airports are reporting record numbers of passengers passing through their doors. To keep Americans excited about purchasing airfare, airlines would be well served to continue to add flights so travelers can have affordable and ample flight options. Saving money and having plenty of flights to choose from? Who wouldn’t want to drink to that?
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PureSpectrum interviewed 691 online respondents on June 12, 2021. The study targeted consumers within the United States and consisted of a general population audience of 18+ years old. This study uses 95% confidence level to examine the data.