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No Such Thing as Free Beer: Era Alaska Airlines Promotion Altered

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on June 25, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Era Alaska Airlines ran afoul of the law when they offered free beer to customers as part of a new promotion.

The original campaign offered customers a free 6-oz glass of Denali Brewing Co.'s "Single Engine Red" with each additional glass costing $3 each. It applied to flights offered between several Alaskan cities and was scheduled to run through the end of June according to the Associated Press.

But then the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board got wind of the promotion and pulled on the plug on everyone's fun.

Turns out that in Alaska, it's illegal to give away free beer as part of a promotion. In most cases it's probably a good policy intended to prevent dangerous high levels of driving (because who wouldn't go for free beer?) and help keep alcohol-fueled crimes and accidents under control.

In this case, those concerns aren't so strong since the airline was only offering one free beer and required payment for additional drinks. The longest flight that offered free beer, a two-flight trip from Anchorage to Deadhorse, isn't more than three hours, according to a quick travel search. That means people aren't likely to imbibe too heavily since a fair amount of time is taken up by takeoff and landing when no new drinks are served.

This could be called an example of a law designed to prevent a dangerous but unlikely outcome that ends up also preventing something far less problematic. But in the end, there's no real harm done.

Era Alaska Airlines quickly complied with the regulations and customers can still enjoy the promotion. It's not a free beer but each glass of Single Engine Red costs just $1 on select flights. We'll drink to that.

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