Southwest Airlines — SWA — Soaring With Alcohol

This is real and the God’s-honest truth.  I got a call from SWA’s customer relations department after sending it:

Dear Southwest:

I am a loyal customer, A-List member and generally a “big fan.”

As I write this, I am on flight 1055 from Philadelphia to St. Louis at 9:30 a.m. on December 14. I purchased a Business Select ticket for the flight and received the drink coupon.

This is where my bewilderment begins.

I asked the flight attendant, Deborah, for an energy drink, displaying my Business Select coupon.

She said, “Sorry, it has to indicate ‘speciality drink’ on it.”

“Really? I can ONLY get alcohol?”

“Uh, huh. Sorry.”

Can’t be.

Lo and behold, I looked at it, and Deborah was right.

It says: “ONE DRINK COUPON, Valid Day of Travel Only.” It then states: “1 Coupon = Beer, Wine, or Liquor.”  Nothing else.

I can’t believe I’m the first to point this out, but in case I am, here are the inherent problems with this:

I don’t drink. So, your Business Select “Beer, Wine, or Liquor” coupon is absolutely no inducement or use to me whatsoever. I’m already A List, so getting in the 1-15 boarding is not that big of a deal and I get Fly By lane already.

Other than the extra points for Rapid Rewards, there ain’t much to offer me. A $4 Monster to get my heart pumping in the AM would probably actually cost you less than the airplane bottle of Mad Dog I could get to wash down the Nabisco 100 Cals Deborah just handed me.

If I did drink, unless I was Nicholas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas or Michael Keaton in Mr. Mom (“Wanna beer?” “It’s 7 o’clock in the morning.” “Scotch?”), what on Earth would I be doing slugging down luke-warm beer at 9:30 in the morning? I think the right to tie one on during a three-hour flight to Vegas is a God-given inalienable right, up there with wet wipes from KFC, but I can’t believe the market research shows your Business Select customers on a PHI to STL flight at 9 a.m. on a Wednesday drink like David Hasselhoff eating floorburgers, but you guys are the experts.

Plus, not that I’m a Teetotaler or anything, but is it really appropriate to have ONLY alcoholic options for your current and potential Business Select customers? I suppose that big Business Select marketing campaign to the Southern Baptist Convention, MADD, and AA might want to be put on hold.

The civil defense lawyer in me also cringes a little thinking about the Business Select customer weaving his way home from the airport, crashing into the bus load of Make a Wish kids on their way to the puppy store. There he is, his tongue thick and slurring from the mandatory SWA alcohol as he stares at the cop’s dash cam: “Occifer, I swear I asked for Monster but they told me no. Jus’ booze.”

I can hear it now: “Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, in considering your verdict against Southwest, they chose a $4 Monster over my client’s safety. I ask you, who’s the real Monster here?”

I guess one could say there are non-alcoholic beers, within the definition of “Beer” on the coupon, right? Wrong.  No non-alcoholic beers. I just asked.

“We used to. Couldn’t get rid of it,” Deborah said.

So, it’s alcohol or nothing, as my useless drink coupon sits idly next to me in empty Seat 4E, soon to be tossed like so many empty peanut bags into Deborah’s white plastic sack, and just as valuable.

Don’t get me wrong. You guys are the best and I’m a loyal customer. Still will be. I just wanted a Monster energy drink with my Business Select ticket. Is that too much to ask for in America?

Instead, you got a rant. At least you know it’s not a drunken rant, despite your best efforts.

You should know I wouldn’t pay for the Monster I wanted (I have a shred of dignity, after all), but think about how bad this would have been were I all hopped up on a Monster energy drink I had to actually pay for?

Yours truly,


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