Thursday, January 19, 2006

International Flights: Time to Start Packing a Flask

I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer. - Homer Simpson

The WSJ this week (paid link) has an article on something I noticed on my last international flight: U.S. airlines have stopped giving away free drinks in coach on overseas flights.

Their excuse is they want less drunks on the flight, but it's really about cost cutting. I have no complaints about doing this for domestic flights. I never experienced free booze in coach for domestic flights anyway, and the flights rarely last more than a few hours - five tops. But being crammed in coach for 12 hours and not giving away free booze? At that point I wouldn't worry about the drunk people on the plane, but the stone-cold sober ones about to go postal.

On my last Continental flight to Israel I went dry, but on the way back I broke down started shelling out bucks for booze. The better solution is to stick a flask into my carry-on and pour a wee dram into a coke or other beverage when the stu isn't looking. Of course I'd have to finish the flask during the flight so I wouldn't have to declare it when I go through customs.

The other solution is to fly foreign flagged airlines, who not only still pass out booze in coach for international legs, but largely give away free booze on their domestic legs as well. Alternatively I could fly business, but my company's current policy is to pay for coach tickets only, something everyone from EVPs on down are trying to change.

So it's time to dig out that flask I got for being a groomsman at my brother's wedding all those years ago...

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