US Airways Denied New Mexico Liquor License

Sorry alcoholics, US Airways is now banned from serving alcohol on all flights to and from New Mexico. The state Regulation and Licensing Department had already denied the airline a temporary liquor license in June after US Airways served alcohol to a passenger who later crashed his car, killing a family of five. The Licensing Department yesterday rejected the airline’s permanent application, claiming that it:

…cannot reasonably find that approval of application will protect the public health and safety or that it is in the public interest.

According to No liquor permit for US Airways in N.M. [AP]
PREVIOUSLY: US Airways Denied New Mexico Liquor License For Not Paying Outstanding Fine
(AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)


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  1. Cowboys_fan says:

    If this is actually about safety then I’m all for it but IMO, its not.

    “Hagan said the state had sent a letter to US Airways offering to resolve the citation through a settlement, but the airline never responded.”

    This says to me that its about money of course. It sounds like legal extortion to me. Either that or safety can be overlooked for the right price.

  2. jrdnjstn78 says:

    Why can’t the stewardesses just refuse to serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated people?

    Most people like to blame everyone else for when they get drunk and do something stupid.

  3. Xandey says:

    And how many times have we all been in a bar and watched someone who’s visibly intoxicated stumble up to the bar and order another round? I’ve never done that in New Mexico…. But only because I don’t live there.

  4. mrosedal says:

    If a man gets into an accident after consuming alcohol how is that US airways fault? If he doesn’t know his limits that is his fault…I don’t even see why US airways should take any of the blame.

  5. sleze69 says:

    @mrosedal: This is the law for ANY alcohol serving establishment: a restaurant, a bar or an airline. You legally can’t serve someone who is clearly drunk.

    That said, it is a stupid law and there are many bars from my college days that would fold within a month if they refused to serve drunks.

  6. Xandey says:

    I have a solution. We outlaw cars:
    1) this creates many jobs as shops must open up all over the place.
    2) Lowers polution since we are not burning all that oil.
    3) Lowers obesity since everyone would have to bike or walk everywhere.
    4) enhances a sense of community since you make friends with the people who live near you.

    I’m sure there are some negatives, they’re just details ya?

  7. chili_dog says:

    Of course NM fails to address their own internal state problems of alcoholism and drunk driving. Lets see here:
    “There were 16,885 alcohol-related fatalities in 2005 – 39 percent of the total traffic fatalities for the year”. And yet the government continues to support weak punishments for the idiots that consistently and actively CHOOSE to drink and drive.

  8. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @chili_dog: Do we have to go over this AGAIN?
    The famous “Alcohol-related fatalities” statistic as beaten to death by insurance companies, MADD, and websites such as the one you cite (which shills personal breathalyzers) are bullshit. The following are ALL considered “Alcohol-related fatalities”…
    1. Mr. E has ONE beer on the way home, and some moron walks out in front of his car right before he gets home.
    2. Mr E has SEVERAL beers and should not be driving, so he calls Mrs. E (who DOES NOT DRINK) to drive him home. Someone runs a stop sign in front of them and dies.
    3. Mr. E is driving home from work and a drunk walks in front of him right as he leaves the local Target.

    I AM NOT JUSTIFYING DRUNK DRIVING. Drunk driving is stupid, but unilateral laws which are not evenly enforced are not the answer.
    Perhaps Mr. E can drink two or three drinks and still drive, while Mrs. E can’t drive after a single cocktail.
    And if Mr. E who might be 23 driving a red camaro pulls up to a roadblock the same time as Mr. F (55 and driving a beige Audi), who is more scrutinized?

    We need laws that work, not more bullshit rhetoric to fill the coffers of local gubbamint and increase profits for the ‘insurance’ industry.

  9. dysthymia says:

    bad bad bad. now the pilots will get drunk BEFORE going to NM. No, wait. They do that already, nevermind.

  10. nhoj1962 says:

    Yeah New Mexico, blame the airline because one of your citizens chose to drink and drive and killed people.

    Using that logic, New Mexico ought to ban liquor sales at bars & restaurants whenever someone drunk kills someone else, and their drinks can be traced to that bar or restaurant.

    I agree with the person who suggested this may be more about some form of extortion on behalf of the New Mexico liquor commission.

    Between the fear of being held hostage by an airline once they pull away from a terminal in bad weather, and the completely inane hoops the utterly ineffective TSA puts us through, I feel airline passengers are entitled to the 2 complimentary drinks I watched my parents be offered when flying with them in the late ’60s and early ’70s

  11. nhoj1962 says:

    “US Airways earned New Mexico’s ire twice before for boozing up passengers who were later cited for drunk driving.” Hmmmmm.

    Maybe people returning home to NM feel they need to be drunk to go back home?

    Maybe the thought of having to visit NM causes one to overdrink?

  12. Benny Gesserit says:

    But by that logic, if I were to sell someone a gun that they used to commit a crime, I should have my license revok…

    Oh, never mind. I just remembered this happened in the US.

  13. StevieD says:

    I have a solution… just remove the booze from all airlines. It sure would make flying safer and a whole lot more fun. Of course there is a downside as it removes a revenue stream from the airlines, but that is the only downside. On the upside, drunks can still get drunk, they will just have to do it in their homestate, thus the states will still have their revenue stream. And the people that just “must have” a drink in order to fly will not fly, which will free up a seat on the airplane, making more room for my luggage and making the flight more enjoyable for everybody else.

    All in all, I think I have an excellent plan.

  14. backspinner says:

    This is quite ironic. New Mexico is a drunk driving mecca.

  15. timmus says:

    New Mexico is a drunk driving mecca.

    Yeah, strangely enough that’s been my impression too the several times I’ve driven through the Land of Enchantment.

  16. chili_dog says:

    When I lived there years ago, the Sunday Paper would print the names of the dead indians (and more) that were found Fri/Sat after a drinking frenzy.

    Turns out, when you are drunk and a long way from home going to sleep under a warm train or car appears to be a good choice.

  17. chili_dog says:

    @doctor_cos: We need laws that work, not more bullshit rhetoric to fill the coffers of local gubbamint and increase profits for the ‘insurance’ industry.
    Yes, because the lax attitude towards punishment has worked so well.

    Who cares if the stats don;t meet your approval. A single drunk driver is unacceptable, EVER.

  18. cuiusquemodi says:

    @chili_dog: Damn the facts, full speed ahead!

  19. chili_dog says:

    You know it. I am applying the same principals to Drunk Driving as are applied to global warming.

  20. ShadowFalls says:

    True, they should limit the number of drinks, but still the person still got themselves drunk. They knew they weren’t just going to a hotel to sleep it off, but they continue to drunk.

    Let us not remove personal responsibility, that comes before the airline’s responsibility.

    Seriously, you really don’t even need alcohol on a flight. It seems as stupid as having a cotton candy wagon on there and serving it to kids.

  21. adg00 says:

    Holy crap! – A government (i.e. the People – I mean, if this is a democracy and all, right?) that actually uses its stick against a corporation who doesn’t adhere to its values and laws rather than ignoring the offense in exchange for not rocking the boat or (oh no!) endangering the free flow of business.

  22. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @chili_dog: Approval? Your ‘stats’ are bullshit (but then again 67% of all statistics are made up on the spot).
    A single drunk driver as determined by what? If you have just enough to be over the ‘limit’ in your state and you get pulled over, good luck to you.

    Which word in the phrase “I AM NOT JUSTIFYING DRUNK DRIVERS” are you having a problem with?

    Drunk driving laws are the same as 90% of the rest of the traffic laws – they are designed to make money for local gubbamint, not to keep our dumb asses safe.

  23. Justinh6 says:

    Reminds me of the guy I sat next to on a flight from vegas to phoenix. About a 1 hour flight.

    We get going, and the guy orders 3 jack and cokes, pays his 15 dollars, and the stewardess gives him 3 cups of ice, and 3 cans of soda, and 3 mini jack bottles.

    This was a united airline flight also.

  24. hc130radio says:

    I live in Albuquerque, NM and know of this incident of how Mr. Dana Pabst got drunk and killed 5 members of a family of 6 on his way home from the Albuquerque airport to Santa Fe.

    The sad part is that two people in the Albuquerque Sunport (who were fellow passengers) reported him as a drunk passenger to security but was never stopped before he headed to his car located on site in airport parking. He also stopped at a local convenience store in Albuquerque and purchased a six pack on his way to his home to Santa Fe (45 min drive from ABQ).

  25. airren says:

    Might not be an issue – how long was the flight?

  26. Torabo says:

    How is it the airline’s fault that a drunken passenger decides to drive a car afterwards? Even at a bar they can’t actually prevent someone driving home afterwards after drinking there. Sure you can’t legally serve someone who is already clearly drunk at any establishment, note that the person is drunk already. How do we know the airline did not stop serving alcohol to the guy after he was clearly drunk as well? If they’re drunk, they’re drunk. They should know better than to drink so much if they’re going to drive afterwards. Airlines are not your baby sitters, they’re not supposed to watch out for everything for you.

  27. Hamm Beerger says:

    “Seriously, you really don’t even need alcohol on a flight.”

    Who are you to tell me what I need? That’s what this is about… jackass nanny-statists trying to restrict the freedom of adults to do what they want.

  28. 3ZKL says:

    “sorry, alcoholics. . .”?!

    COME ON CONSUMERIST! that is actually pretty offensive. i am far from PC, but alcoholism is a damn serious condition that really shouldn’t be joked around about. would you have started that 10,000$ text message article with ‘hey parents, keep your retard kids away from cell phones’? no. definitely not. just because someone wants a drink or six on a plane doesn’t mean they are a damn alcoholic. maybe a bit of a lush at most. damn.

  29. I personally don’t believe that any place that serves alcohol should be legally responsible for what their customers do after they leave. Punish the people who think it’s a good idea to get drunk and then drive.

    just because someone wants a drink or six on a plane doesn’t mean they are a damn alcoholic.

    @3ZKL: I honestly can’t tell if your comment is serious or not.

    …67% of all statistics are made up on the spot…Drunk driving laws are the same as 90% of the rest of the traffic laws…
    @doctor_cos: This amuses me.

  30. Zelle999 says:

    I live in NM. Yes, the drunk driving problem is really bad. But it’s not like the government isn’t doing anything. There are programs being put in place every day to curb drunk driving. Ignition interlock, DWI/Drug Courts, massive media outreach, etc, etc etc. However, it is a slow process. People can’t change behaviors overnight. If denying this airline their liquor license helps prevent ONE drunk driving death, it’s worth it while we work on other solutions. What is the airline losing, really? Blah blah, personal responsibility, blah blah. Tell me who really loses out when a freakin’ airline doesn’t get to serve bloody marys on flights to NM?

  31. gorckat says:

    “Hagan said the state had sent a letter to US Airways offering to resolve the citation through a settlement, but the airline never responded.”

    This says to me that its about money of course. It sounds like legal extortion to me. Either that or safety can be overlooked for the right price.

    Settlement doesn’t always mean “money”. It could mean a limit on drinks served on planes to/from NM, some sort of education for those serving people or half a dozen other plausible things.

    Really no different than the state settling a bad check case by keeping it off your record in exchange for your attendance at a money class.

  32. SpdRacer says:

    Police will generally make up their minds whether a person is intoxicated or not before they even do a field sobriety test (which are jokes themselves). It is all about personal responsibility, which nobody seems to think matters anymore in this nanny state we live. Just blame the other guy, cause we all know you wouldn’t have done it if THEY didn’t let you.

  33. SpdRacer says:

    @Justinh6: So?