What is the etiquette when you accidentally spill someone else's drink. Perhaps the glass got knocked over, or you brush up against someone at the bar. Should you immediately offer to buy a new drink for them? Simply apologize and move on - or is there another solution? At the same time, what is the etiquette for when your own drink is spilled?

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Before going on to this delicate question of drinking etiquette, please allow me to share a real experience, while flying with KLM.

Several years ago, I witnessed a stewardess spill some wine one a lady's dress while on route to England. The first thing she did was apologize and then got the head stewardess involved. The lady got her drink renewed on the spot, plus the airline gave her accommodations (hotel) at the airport to cleanup, have her clothes washed and dry cleaned, and so on, all on KLM's bill.

Here are some commonsense rules to follow when you spill someone's drink over as follows, (if it is simply a question of spill a drink):

1) Avoid letting the situation happen in the first place. You are most likely to spill someone's drink when you are making magnanimous gestures, carrying a few drinks of your own, or if you are feeling buzzed. So remember to be observant at these high risk moments. If you do spill someone's drink, do not ignore it, but act quickly to assess the situation and defuse any hostile vibrations.

2) Apologize. If you have just spilled someone's drink, you should apologize immediately and unreservedly. If they are a decent type, this should stop them from getting too agitated.

3) Considering buying a replacement. Have a look at the damage. If you have just knocked their drink out of their hands all over the floor, then you need to replace it immediately. If you've only knocked an ounce of beer or two from the top of their glass, then it shouldn't be a big deal.

•Most people will be okay about it, and no replacement drink should be required. If they become confrontational, it would be best just to buy them a drink to save you the trouble. - How to React when You Spill Someone's Drink

  • This is what I thought. And as usual you have hit the nail on the head. What's with the flying? Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 17:06

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