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Southwest and Alaska Are Making Big Changes to In-Flight Purchases

Look out for changes to how you pay and how much you pay on future flights.

The winter holidays are upon us, and many of us are planning travel to see loved ones. "Many" might actually be an understatement: The U.S Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has already said it expects that this holiday travel season will be "the busiest ever." But if you're flying with one of two major carriers, you'll want to take note of certain changes being made to the onboard experience. Read on to discover how Southwest and Alaska Airlines are updating in-flight purchases, from how you pay to how much you pay.

RELATED: Travelers Are Boycotting Southwest Over New Boarding Change.

Southwest is raising some of its in-flight prices.

southwest airlines plane in flight
Markus Mainka / Shutterstock

Spirits may be shifting on Southwest Airlines flights this holiday season—in more ways than one. The Texas-based carrier recently confirmed that it is raising the prices of alcoholic beverages on board, Simple Flying reported. According to the airline, it's been several years since it changed the prices of its drinks, despite ongoing inflation.

"Southwest last adjusted pricing for onboard beverages in 2018 and recently reviewed our position as we work to keep fares low while offering our customers unmatched flexibility," a spokesperson told Simple Flying. "Upon review, we made the decision to implement a modest change to the pricing of our alcoholic beverages."

RELATED: Southwest Is Finally Adding the Flights Travelers Have Been Clamoring For.

This change has already gone into effect.

Man enjoying drink during flight. Passenger holding glass of sparkling wine against airplane window.

If you're taking a Southwest flight for Thanksgiving, be prepared to pay more for your drinks on the plane. The carrier's new prices have already gone into effect, as of Nov. 15.

According to Simple Flying, Southwest Airlines previously charged $7 for any drink containing one of its liquor options: Deep Eddy Vodka, Jack Daniel's Whiskey, Wild Turkey Bourbon Whiskey, Cazadores Tequila, or Bacardi Rum. Now, that cost has increased by 29 percent to $9 per drink.

Southwest also previously charged $6 for beer and wine. But now its beer options (Lagunitas IPA, Miller Lite, and Hawaii-only Kona Brewing Big Wave Golden Aleas) and "Beyond Beer" options (Noon Hard Seltzer and Dogfish Head Strawberry Vodka Lemonades) will cost passengers $7 each. Meanwhile, the carrier is now charging $8 for a glass of wine.

Alaska Airlines is changing how you make in-flight purchases.

An Alaska Airlines plane coming in for a landing

Southwest is not the only carrier adjusting in-flight purchases ahead of the holidays. Alaska Airlines is now making changes to how you can pay while onboard, according to a Nov. 16 press release from the company. The Seattle-based carrier announced that it would be introducing Tap to Pay for Apple users on its flights.

"You can pay for your alcoholic beverage or snack pack with just a simple tap from your iPhone or Apple Watch to pay with Apple Pay, other digital wallet, or contactless credit or debit card—no more swiping," Alaska Airlines stated in its release.

RELATED: Alaska Is Cutting Flights to 14 Major Cities After This Year.

This new payment option will be rolling out over the next few months.

Alaska Airlines new partnership with Stripe for contactless payment for iPhones
Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines said new technology from Apple and its partnership with the financial infrastructure platform Stripe have allowed the carrier to bring contactless payment with iPhones on board.

"We're constantly innovating to give our guests the most seamless and caring experience possible," Charu Jain, senior vice president of innovation and merchandising, said in a statement. "We're proud to partner with Stripe to be the first airline to bring Apple's Tap to Pay on iPhone technology to flight."

Passengers will be able to hold their iPhone or Apple Watch near a flight attendant's iPhone to pay for their purchases, and the "payment will be securely completed via NFC technology," according to the release.

But not all flights may be equipped with this new technology just yet: "Tap to Pay on iPhone is rolling out on select flights and will be available across our fleet in the next few months," the carrier noted.

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Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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