Houston, we've definitely got a problem. LAX does not sell bottled beer to-go. Houston does — and at George Bush Intercontinental. This is L.A., and we don't even have a local craft brewery in our 747 vicinity like Portland International does? Not so friendly skies.
We would be pretty satisfied — should anyone in the LAX concession debate care to ask a pedestrian frequent flier — with to-go beer. If only because our local craft breweries are probably too small to meet airport demand. Surely the culinary and financial shortcomings of LAX's food fight would be more tolerable if we could imbibe in a bottled beer at our gate. OK, maybe two beers.
The idea of to-go bottled beer in an airport is something we were pleasantly surprised — shocked, really — to find at Houston GW airport on a recent layover to the East Coast. When we saw the first passenger casually strolling through the concourse with a Shiner, we figured the guy had simply forgotten to leave his beer at Chili's. Otherwise, there's that airport jail appeal.
But considering the shakedown that airline agents will give you in Vegas if you appear remotely buzzed (not that we would know), and that you can't even get past TSA with a soda, surely no airport would knowingly allow open containers of alcohol? And so we asked. Granted, it was a Continental rep used to dealing with angry flyers stranded overnight, but she actually cracked a smile when we commented on the Shiners walking by. “Well, what can you do?” she said. “It's Texas. People are going to do what they want.”
Indeed. Bottled beers are available in most GW Bush food court restaurants, including Pappa's Bar-B-Q — although McDonald's notably did not sell beer. A good thing, as no doubt we would be reporting on some sort of dreadful McLite right now. Even the tiny pre-made sandwich concession stand in our commuter flight gate cul-de-sac sold bottled beer. At 7 a.m. Sure, it was nothing remarkable, with Shiner being by far the best of the Budweiser/Miller offerings. But when you're sitting waiting for a flight, cheap airport beer is pretty good. Very good, actually.
LAX, we know you aren't listening. But a cold beer would be pretty great in Terminal 3. It might even solve some of those corporate food woes.