Such fees vary by state. California requires an original fee of $100 for an airline liquor license and $442 a year for every year thereafter. New York's liquor license for airlines costs $3,930 for a two-year license. An airline liquor license in Texas costs $2,339 a year.
Most of the states that don't require airlines to hold a liquor license are relatively small in population, such as North Dakota, Wyoming and Vermont. The reasons vary.
Bill Goggins, chief of liquor enforcement for the Vermont Department of Liquor Control, said the Vermont Legislature simply has never addressed the issue. The state requires licenses to sell liquor on trains and boats, he said, but not airplanes.
Eric Honma, director of the Hawaii Liquor Control Commission, said he is not certain why Hawaii doesn't require airlines to hold a state liquor license, but he believes it's because the state does not have jurisdiction over airspace three miles outside the Hawaii islands.
He said that's the reason the state does not require boats to have a state liquor license.
In Wisconsin, the legislature carved out a special liquor-license exception for transportation businesses, said Lauren Jackson, a legislative analyst with the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. As long as liquor is served to passengers while they are in transit, the law says, companies don't need a license for service on planes and trains.
Although New Mexico doesn't yet apply its alcoholic-beverage server training rules to flight attendants, New Mexico is one of 14 states that has a mandatory program for servers and sellers, according to the Alcohol Policy Information System, a division of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism based in Bethesda, Md.
Of those 14 states, only nine, including New Mexico, require airlines to get a liquor license. Only Alaska specifically requires flight attendants to receive alcohol-server training.
But other states also are considering adopting the practice.
Dan Adams, assistant director of the Maryland Board of Liquor Control, said officials in that state's Comptroller's Office are talking about trying to change a law that exempts airline personnel from alcohol-awareness-training requirements.
Almost all alcohol retailers in Maryland must have at least one person who has undergone such training, Adams said, but operators of boats, trains and planes are exempt.
A US Airways spokeswoman declined to answer questions about the airline's alcohol training practices. But Jeff Kovick, a spokesman for United Airlines, said that airline gives flight attendants extensive training, including how to deal with passengers who shouldn't have any more to drink.
Kovick said it would be premature for the airline to comment on New Mexico's plan to certify alcohol-server training programs for flight attendants.
Gary Roberson, government relations manager for Training Intervention Procedures, a Virginia-based company that conducts alcohol-server training programs worldwide, said Continental Airlines and Delta Airlines require their flight attendants to undergo training by his company.
Elizabeth Findling, who teaches alcohol-certification classes in Santa Fe, said she gives servers advice on how to cut off a customer.
"I just tell them to blame it on a higher authority," Findling said. That higher authority, she said, can include the law and/or the boss.
"I think they'd be a great idea for flight attendants," Findling said of the classes. "I would recommend them for anyone who is involved with alcohol and drinking and driving."
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA supports measures that would increase training for flight attendants.
New Mexico plans to start certifying the training that airline personnel receive for serving alcohol.
UD Airways and Northwest have applied for state licenses, but Frontier Airlines has not. Frontier is not selling alcohol on New Mexico flights.
The New Mexico licensing process typically takes three to five months and includes public hearings by the state Alcohol and Gaming Division and the municipality in which the airport is located.