MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Travelers at Memphis International Airport who like to imbibe prior to a flight will soon be able to take their drink with them to their respective gate.
Beginning March 1, the airport's new beer permit and liquor-by-the-drink license will allow restaurants at MEM to provide customers with the convenience of carrying a drink around while they shop or wait for their flight.
"As the number of passengers we serve continues to grow, we will continue to look for new ways to improve the passenger experience here," said Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority President and CEO Scott Brockman. "We're pleased to be able to offer our customers this added convenience while they wait for their flights at MEM."
Restaurants located beyond the security checkpoints will be able to sell beer, wine, and other alcoholic drinks to go.
The permit and license do not apply to restaurants in the ticketing lobbies and passengers will not be able to enter or exit through the security checkpoints with alcoholic beverages.
Airline guidelines will dictate whether passengers can bring their drinks onto planes.
Special cups have been distributed to the concessionaires in order to properly identify the beverage and where it was purchased. The airport is also taking steps to inform passengers of the rules, including new signage and messaging in restaurants and other locations throughout the airport.
More than 4 million passengers passed through MEM in 2016, an increase of almost 6.5 percent from the year before. It was the first year that passenger totals eclipsed the 4 million mark since 2013 – the airport's last year as a hub for Delta Air Lines.