There’s a time and a place for providing for those who are less fortunate. Passing a free drink from first class to economy class, it turns out, is not that time or place. A first class passenger on an American Airlines flight was kicked off the plane after trying to give pre-departure drinks to his friends in the cheap seats.
The ordeal happened on a flight from Philadelphia to Atlanta, and was seen firsthand by Katie Genter, a writer for the travel website The Points Guy. The first-class passenger (who is only referred to as “1A”) received his customary drink before takeoff. When boarding was finished, he asked for two doubles on the rocks. After being told he could only order one at a time, he said the second drink was for the stranger next to him. 1A then took the drinks and started walking to the economy cabin to “use the restroom.” That didn’t fly with the flight attendant as she saw his two economy class friends also going to “use the restroom.” 1A and the flight attendant discussed that the behavior wasn’t allowed, so he chugged one double and returned the second. Shortly after, he was removed from the flight.
Before you pick a side on this, it’s important to note that the guy who was booted wasn’t exactly acting like a first class human. Genter claims 1A was using “language that isn’t appropriate to repeat” and attempting to cheat the system. He pushed his economy friends through the first class line and ignored the attendants who said they had too much carry-on luggage. But even if that wasn’t the case, there is a lesson here for everyone: Don’t try to make economy passengers feel better by giving them your first class drinks.
Federal Regulation 121.575 states: “No person may drink any alcoholic beverage aboard an aircraft unless the certificate holder operating the aircraft has served that beverage to him.” Additionally, they can’t serve drinks to anyone who appears to be intoxicated. That’s why if you want to drink your own alcohol on a flight, the attendant has to open it for you. And if you’re sitting in coach, you have to pay for your drinks, regardless of who you know in first class.