Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

It was a promise that was so alluring.

You'd not just be up in the sky, but you could enjoy something that few on Earth would have the privilege to experience.

The $5 Happy Hour, Every Hour.

This was Southwest Airlines' irresistible come-on, one that made it -- for many people, at least -- the most pleasant, egalitarian experience in the skies. 

But time kills all good things. Or, at least, alters them profoundly.

The airline just announced that the $5 promise is unsustainable. So it's raised the prices of its drinks on board.

Your Miller Lite or Dos Equis will now set you back $6. 

Your Fat Tire, Lagunitas and Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy will have you digging deeper into your pocket to find $7.

Wine is now $6 and liquor $7. 

Yes, it's still lower than many airlines' prices and it's the first price rise since 2009.

It's also indicative of the airline trying to find new sources of revenue wherever it can. 

Last week, the airline raised the fee for priority boarding.

Regular Southwest passengers will know that there are still ways around paying for drinks. You can nab some drinks coupons. If you're a so-called Rapid Rewards member, you get four coupons for every 10 flights you take.

Sadly, Southwest is always having to confront the tension between the demands for higher profits from its shareholders with the actual satisfaction it can offer to the humans who fly with it.

It's desperate to differentiate itself from the legacy carriers, most of whom can often seem identical.

In their callous pursuit of profit, that is.

Still, perhaps Southwest will find a savior, someone who will help it preserve its populist ethos.

Some are muttering that Warren Buffett wants to buy the airline.

Published on: Mar 3, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.