US Airways Denied New Mexico Liquor License For Not Paying Outstanding Fine

US Airways, US Airways, US Airways. What the heck is wrong with you? US Airways was issued a citation by the State of New Mexico after they over-served a passenger and he killed himself and 5 other people as he drove home from the airport.

It turns out that US Airways did not have a New Mexico liquor license and was in violation of state law. They were issued a citation which, according to the Arizona Republic ,”carries a first-offense fine of $1,000 to $2,000.” US Airways then applied for a license and was issued a temporary one until the matter could be decided in court.

Since the first incident, another US Airways passenger has been arrested for DUI and US Airways has not resolved the first citation. In addition, the court claims that the airline “delayed the implementation of a program for dispensing alcohol, created by the University of New Mexico, as part of a statewide crackdown on drunken driving.”

Their temporary liquor license has been suspended as of today. All US Airways flights in and out of New Mexico will have to stay dry until the matter of their license is settled. US Airways responded to the suspension by claiming that they were implementing the drunk driving training. US Airways spokesman told the Arizona Republic, “We think we did comply with what they were asking for.”

For their casual attitude towards drunk driving and disregard of the laws of the state of New Mexico, we decree that US Airways has become the Paris Hilton of airlines. Good job. —MEGHANN MARCO

US Airways is denied license to sell alcohol on flights to, from New Mexico [Arizona Republic]
(Photo: brappy!)

PREVIOUSLY: Man Arrested For Driving After Drinking On A US Airways Flight


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  1. specialed5000 says:

    Personally, one thing that I like about USAirways is that in 1st Class they generally give you liquor bottles 2 at a time when you order a drink. I’ve got a flight tonight from West Palm Beach to Charlotte where I got a free upgrade. I’ll try to get at least 4 of those mini bottles down. Of course I’m not driving home from the airport. Maybe they like to keep their frequent fliers half loaded so they don’t notice some of the other crap they screw up.

  2. b612markt says:

    Maybe that’s why their customers are getting plotzed?

  3. kubus_gt says:

    Am I the only one that thinks this is messed up? How is it US Airways fault that someone is stupid enough to get drunk and then try to drive. For that matter, why do we have police stupid people. If anyone should get a fine, it should be DOT that issued the guys driver license for allowing him to drive. If we gonna point fingers for our own stupidity then might as well point it in the right direction.

  4. specialed5000 says:

    @kubus_gt: In general I agree with you that the primary responsibility is with the driver, but flight attendants do(or should) receive some training on when to recognize that a passenger is intoxicated, and should be able to tell when they should not serve someone. In this case, this guy was so drunk that it would have been hard not to tell. They should have gotten airport police involved when they landed. Of course then they would have had to tell them how much they served him.

  5. William C Bonner says:

    Why is this not an interstate commerce issue? It seems that this is part of where our states rights vs federal consistency laws should come into play. If US Airways was taking off and landing in the same state, it might be a purely state issue, but if the flight is tsking off or landing in a different state, then federal rules should apply.

  6. specialed5000 says:

    @William C Bonner: I wondered that too. I always thought that regulating alcohol on planes was an FAA thing, and not subject to state law.

  7. adambadam says:


    I agree that it is messed up. While I understand that a flight attendant should use some discretion while serving alcohol to passengers, I think it is up to the individual to drink to their own hearts desire.

    Of course, if that passenger starts to annoy other passengers then I can understand cutting the guy off, though you seriously have to be kidding me — that the airline can get in trouble for this guys actions after the flight. I mean he came into an airport, there are more taxis per person at an airport than anywhere else in the state of New Mexico.

    American’s need to learn to control their drinking and their actions when they drink, if the rest of the world can do it at 18 why can’t we even do it when we are grown up.

  8. John Stracke says:

    @William C Bonner:

    Why is this not an interstate commerce issue?

    Probably because the Twenty-First Amendment, which ended Prohibition, gave states the power to regulate alcohol.

  9. Wormfather says:

    After watching how they refused to searve Jack, I’ll only fly Oceanic flight from here out…oh, but wait. :-/

  10. bonnie says:

    I, too, agree with the comments about personal responsibility. However, this does seem to be in line with the way a bar will get in trouble if they overserve someone who then gets pulled over for drunk driving. Given that, it makes sense that it would apply to any company that serves alcohol.

  11. QTex says:

    Ya, about a year ago I had to do some research into this issue. My findings were that there is no doubt that the 21st Amendment gives the states the power to regulate alcohol (obviously, this is clear from the text). What is not clear is what happens where the 21st Amendment is in conflict with the Commerce Clause.

    However, there is some debate as to whether alcohol served in flight is pre-empted as “service” by the Federal Aviation Administration Act (FAAA). There’s a split among the circuits as to what constitutes “service.” Here in the 5th Circuit (home to AA, Continental, Southwest), the FAAA likely preempts state law on alcohol as airline service. I know the 3rd & 9th Circuits take a stricter view on FAAA preemption. I can’t remember where the 10th Circuit (New Mexico) comes down.

    However, if US Air’s smart, they’ll pay whatever fee NM asks and call it a day–so much cheaper.

    Personally, I would air on the side that alcohol service is not preempted, due to the explicit language of the 21st Amendment. But then I could never be confused with a Supreme Court Justice.

  12. Bay State Darren says:

    One-size-fits-all bureaucracy at its finest! Major airline gets treated like it doesn’t have millions of dollars and lobbyists because there’s no sub-section of a regulation to cover this particular type of entity, so they have to actually enforce the law to the airlines like any common bar. (As they should be.) Sam Lowry would be proud.

  13. US Airways, we meet again…

  14. bnissan97 says:

    Metaphysically this is payback to US AIR for the lack of care for the lost and found NON-help.

  15. SexCpotatoes says:

    Probably they thought they had to “train/make more drunk drivers” with the drunk driver training they were supposed to be doing.