First-Class Flyers on Alaska Airlines Just Lost a Perk

August 27, 2018, 1:30 PM UTC

If you’re hoping for a pre-flight cocktail before your Alaska Airlines flight takes off, you’d better grab it at the airport bar. The carrier has put an end to pre-takeoff drinks in its first-class cabin.

That’s a luxury that many other carriers, including Delta, continue to offer. Especially notable, though, is that pre-flight drinks for premium passengers were one of the hallmarks of Virgin America flights before Alaska Airlines announced plans to buy that carrier.

The service continued for a while, but Alaska put an end to it on August 1. You can still get a drink after takeoff, though.

Alaska says it’s making the move “to streamline the customer experience.”

While some airlines have done away with first class altogether and experts have been predicting its demise for years, a seat at the front of the plane with extra legroom and extra attentive service is still the dream for many travelers. It’s expensive, but with a little legwork, savvy travelers can dramatically cut the costs or get an upgrade from their coach tickets.

Starting November 1, Alaska says it will offer first-class flyers a choice of bottled water or coffee before takeoff on flights before 10 a.m. If you’re a first-class passenger on a flight after that time, you can get sparkling wine—though no cocktails.

The move might irk some flyers, but probably won’t tarnish Alaska’s reputation dramatically. The airline has one of the top-ranked frequent flyer programs in the industry.