Southwest Airlines Is Raising Drink Prices

Southwest Airlines has raised the cost of alcoholic drinks onboard their flights as of yesterday, March 1, 2018. The airline hasn’t raised the cost of their drinks since 2009, so this is the first time in almost a decade that the prices are changing. For years the airline advertised a “$5 Happy Hour, Every Hour,” so I guess they’ll have to rethink that slogan.

Per USA Today, going forward Southwest Airlines’ drink pricing will be as follows:

  • Beer: $6 for Miller Lite or Dos Equis, $7 for premium beer, including Fat Tire, Lagunitas, and Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy
  • Wine: $6
  • Liquor: $7


Southwest Airlines’ old drink pricing & selection

Southwest Airlines is for the most part still priced lower than their competitors, in most cases charging $1 less per drink.

As before, Southwest Airlines drink coupons will continue to be valid for any alcoholic drink. These coupons are typically issued to those booking Business Select fares (they receive one that can be used same day), as well as to Rapid Rewards members after they take 10 one-way revenue flights (they receive four coupons). Historically Southwest Airlines also offers free drinks on certain days of the year, and there’s no indication that will change.

So yeah, this certainly isn’t a customer friendly change, though at the same time you can’t really blame them for this price increase, given that they haven’t increased prices in so long, and given that they’re still priced lower than most of their competitors.

Will Southwest’s drink price increase impact whether or not you buy a drink on your next flight?

Comments

  1. No big deal for me. I fly WN between 65-70 flights a year which means I wrack up a ton of those drink coupons. Have never paid for a drink as a result. I’m probably also part of a minority of Ben’s readers that actually earns the companion pass each year w/o having to rely on credit sign-up bonus – simply earning enough points via flights, car rentals, and credit card spend.

  2. I only rarely see people pay for drinks on Southwest. They usually use those vouchers that SW hands out in spades. You’d have to be pretty desperate for a beer to fork out 7 bucks for a beer. It tastes weird on the plane anyway. On United I’ve noticed that few people actually pay for food and drinks – they mostly hand those out for free to 1K members as consolation prizes for not getting upgraded (Which is often).

  3. If you’re out of coupons and pleasant about it, most of the time the FA will say “Don’t worry about it” or “It’s on me” and keep moving — at least that’s been my experience.

  4. I’m on a Southwest flight to Cabo right now. I ordered a drink, used a coupon, then saw the article. Gotta love Southwest! Still the lowest price for drinks, great fares, excellent employees, almost always on time. No other US airline comes close!

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