United Refuses to Sell Booze on Christmas Day

United Refuses to Sell Booze on Christmas Day


It’s Christmas Day. One where most companies are obliging, sometimes charitable even. Especially power house companies. Leave it to United Airlines to not only act as Ebenezer Scrooge but also suddenly decide at 30,000 feet, that they are following Prohibition protocol.

Now I know handheld credit card devices go down. In fact, it’s happened on a few flights of Christmas Past on airlines other than United Airlines. Usually they’ll say something like, “Don’t worry about it, its’s on us” or “I’ll run your card once we land.”

Booze on a flight is important. Because some people, present company included, need a little liquid courage to soar above the clouds.

Today, on Christmas Day, on an afternoon flight (UA4335) from Newark, NJ to Columbus, OH – on what very well may have been the bumpiest and scariest flight I have ever been on in my life – I was forced to fly sans liquor.

The stewardess, with very little regard or remorse, said the handheld devices were down and she refused to be responsible for my credit card information at a later time. I told her I was not worried about my credit card info, I was much more concerned about the fact that I was sober and being thrown all over the place from turbulence.

She moved her cart on down the aisle.

About thirty seconds later, said stewardess jumped into her own seat and cancelled the drink cart to strap on her safety belt because we were all clearly about to die.

She made an announcement that no liquor would be served without a coupon. A coupon? Where was I?

As far as I knew, they frowned upon cash and only allowed for credit card purchases – I had the means. An entire wallet of credit cards! This really didn’t seem fair.

Once she resumed cart service, I asked her again, “Please, can you take my credit card, I really need to calm my nerves.”

Her: “Ma’am, I will not be responsible for your credit card information. I just made an announcement,  you can use a coupon.”

Me: “Where do I get a coupon?”

Her: “In the airport.”

Really? So now I had to somehow parachute back to Newark to grab a coupon to get a Jack and ginger?  I asked her her name knowing this would make one of the finest Christmas tales I had ever heard. Of good will and the spirit of giving. She quickly rattled off the spelling of her name and added “Houston-based” for good measure.

Basically, she was proud of the shitty service offered to a guest on Christmas Day.

United, your customer experience never ceases to amaze.

And Merry Christmas.

            Amanda Palasciano

            Sober passenger on UA 4335


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