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Wallet Watch: Southwest Raising Drink Prices

For years, Southwest has bragged about its simple, low price for all onboard alcoholic beverages: “$5 happy hour, every hour.” In fact, Southwest has held to that $5 drink price since 2009.

On March 1, Southwest’s drink prices got a bit more complicated, and a bit more expensive:

  • Beer: $6 (Miller Lite, Dos Equis); $7 (Fat Tire, Lagunitas, Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy
  • Wine: $6
  • Liquor: $7

The good news is that Southwest’s drink prices are still $1 or so below most other airlines’.

In other good news, the new pricing won’t affect Southwest’s popular drink coupons, doled out to members of the airline’s Rapid Rewards program and to Business Select passengers.

A modest price rise after all this time is no cause for concern. But combined with Southwest’s recent increase in priority-boarding fees, it’s an sure sign that Southwest is looking closely at such so-called ancillary fees to nudge up its top and bottom lines.

Reader Reality Check

Worrisome trend?

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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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