Airlines around the globe announced plans to suspend all or part of alcoholic drink service in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as air travel begins to resume worldwide. This comes on the heels of other changes to in-flight food and drink service meant to minimize interactions between crew and passengers. In addition, many airlines limit the drink options to water only to ensure passengers don’t remove face masks to linger over refreshments longer than necessary. These measures are also aimed at minimizing passenger bathroom breaks.
In Europe, Virgin Atlantic is temporarily removing alcohol on board, while KLM Royal Dutch Airlines suspended sales of hot and alcoholic beverages. British Airways, meanwhile, is suspending alcohol only on short-haul flights and only in economy class.
In the United States, Delta Air Lines will serve beer, wine and spirits on international flights, but no alcohol will be served on domestic routes. American Airlines will only serve alcohol on international flights or in first class. United Airlines will only serve sealed beverages, no longer offering ice, coffee, tea or poured alcohol. In premium cabins, passengers can have beer and individual wines. JetBlue suspended the purchase of beer, wine and liquor, while Alaska Airlines will serve beer for premium passengers on flights longer than 350 miles.
United Airlines is among the airlines recently announcing plans to more strictly enforce mask wearing on flights, as well as laying out repercussions for those who refuse to comply. Beginning June 18, passengers who do not comply will be placed on an internal travel restriction list, losing flight privileges on United for a duration of time determined after a comprehensive incident review. The passenger will be offered a mask if needed. Other airlines making similar announcements, in conjunction with Airlines for America, a trade organization, include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue and Southwest.
As more airlines resume flights, it will be interesting to see if more follow suit.
Do you agree with these decisions? Do you think these measures will be effective at minimizing interaction and making flying safer? When do you plan to travel again? Tell us about it. Email us at [email protected]. Please include your full name and location.
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