Based on this FlyerTalk thread, it appears that Trans States has started offering elites complimentary alcoholic beverages on their flights. American has been doing this for years, although it only applied to Platinum members and up, but more importantly, this was the case on ALL American Eagle flights, which is key.
I hate to complain about a genuine improvement, but am I the only one that sees this as problematic? United has several regional carriers operating on their behalf under the “United Express” name. Unless you’re a savvy traveler, you won’t know the difference between the various regional carriers, since most people assume that all “United Express” planes must be the same. So now an elite member gets free booze on a Trans States flight, and expects a free drink on Chataqua, Mesa, Skywest, etc., and for good reason. How are they supposed to know the difference?
Anyway, this raises another interesting question: Why is Trans States offering passengers free booze when there’s no financial reward for them? It’s not like passengers typically book Trans States because they want to fly with them, but rather they want to fly a United carrier. The only explanation I have is that they’re trying to position themselves better when it comes time to renew their contract with United. Maybe they hope that high levels of satisfaction in the survey will lead to United doing anything to keep them. At the same time, United still lets Mesa fly on their behalf, so I can’t imagine that’s the case.
Either way, kudos to Trans States!