Shanghaiist is sleepy. It’s still February 15 where we are — Honolulu, Hawaii –and we are entering the 42nd hour of a day that began in Shanghai and included an eight-hour layover in Tokyo. We didn’t sleep at all on the plane, either. Likely because we weren’t full of wine, as we usually are on Northwest Airlines international flights. You see, NWA has phased out free alcoholic beverage for economy passengers on international flights to Asia-Pacific (but not Europe or other international destinations … huh?). When did this rule go into effect? According to a flight attendant — February 15, 2006. What kind of shitty luck is that? Beer and wine are now US$5 a pop. Maybe worth a thought if they had any kind of selection …
The overall outlook seems stark for those who enjoy a drink as part of their travel experience. With the introduction of drink charges, many airlines are cutting the amount of liquor they carry on board, while airline clubs are also phasing out free booze.
It is not just coach-class travelers who are finding their alcohol supply drying up. According to The State newspaper US Airways’ business-class passengers have also seen the quality and variety of their free drinks cut down in recent months.
Some quarters suggest that the measures are part of an effort to cut down on “air rage”, while others are blaming the difficult economic climate that airlines now have to operate in.
It should be noted that the team of Japanese sumo wrestlers also seated in coach — seriously — had no problems falling asleep. (Helpful tip: If two sumo wrestlers are sleeping on either side of an aisle, best not to try to fit between them. Find your way to the other aisle when you need to use the bathroom.)
Regular posting should resume tomorrow, after we get some sleep. Good night.
Photo from airlinemeals.net.