If you want to enjoy an alcoholic beverage before your flight, it may be best to avoid Alaska Airlines. At least for now.
In fact, complimentary alcohol has been missing since August 01st. Spokeswoman Ann Johnson told USA Today this was “to align the policies of Alaska and merger partner Virgin America.”
Historically, Alaska never (or rarely) offered alcohol in first class as a pre-deaprture beverage, except on flights to Hawaii (sparkling wine only). But Virgin America opened the full bar prior to takeoff. The change has irked passengers, but Johnson assures us that things will be better than before on November 1st.
In November, Alaska will offer sparkling wine to first class passengers prior to takeoff for flights departing after 10:00 A.M. Passengers on earlier flights will receive water or orange juice.
So for two-thirds of passengers, they are actually gaining access to sparkling wine at predeparture.
Until November, FAs have been advised to serve water only as a pre-departure beverage in first class. Numerous reports on Flyertalk, however, indicate that many flights, particularly those operated by ex-Virgin America crews, are offering passengers a pre-deapture beverage of choice, including a full bar service.
This inconsistent approach is sure to anger passengers, though I am amazed at how tone deaf Alaska Airlines is. First, other carriers offer a choice of pre-depature beverage in first class. Second, why not leave in place an open bar policy until the systemwide roll out of the aligned policy in November? This is a penny wise, pound foolish move…
Taking a step back, I still fail to comprehend how Alaska hopes to remain competitive with competitors, especially on transcontinental routes. Not only will Alaska offer an inferior hard product (other carriers offer lie-flat seats in the front cabin), but an inferior soft product as well? I hope Alaska will offer superior pricing or else this simply won’t work.