Alcohol sales may have boomed during the lockdown, but our return to air travel will be an altogether more sobering experience.
Airlines including Easyjet and KLM in Europe, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines in the United States, and Asias Virgin Australia, are suspending all or part of their alcoholic drinks service in response to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
Its part of a widespread revision of the industrys food and drink service to minimize interaction between crew and passengers and to ensure a safer journey for all.
With face masks already mandatory on pretty much all flights around the world, and new legislation introduced in January 2020 to curb anti-social behavior on flights, its another in a line of barriers—literal and legal—to getting high in the sky.
Many airlines are limiting drink options to water only. As face masks must be kept on other than when passengers are eating and drinking, its a way of ensuring passengers are lingering over their refreshments for no longer than necessary.
British low-cost airline Easyjet resumed domestic routes across the UK and France on June 15, alongside a handful of international routes.
While customers can bring food and non-alcoholic drinks onboard, at the beginning the only refreshments on offer will be water, which has to be requested from the crew. Foodservice will resume gradually in the coming months.
The crew will manage use of toilet facilities—so its for the best that passengers arent knocking back the Guinness and G&Ts.
Virgin Atlantic will be issuing passengers with “Health Packs,” complete with face masks, surface wipes, and hand gel. It too is temporarily removing alcohol on board.
KLM, flag-carrier of the Netherlands, has suspended sales of hot and alcoholic drinks, but you can still ask the crew for more water and soft drinks. Thats in addition to the pre-packed refreshments that will be waiting for you on your seat when you board.
Hot meals will only be served on flights longer than nine hours.
The UKs flag carrier, British Airways, is suspending its alcohol service in short-haul economy only (its “Euro Traveller” class), where customers will instead be offered complimentary refreshments along with a bottle of water. Special meals, including childrens meals, are temporarily unavailable.
Irish budget airline Ryanair has also resumed a limited flights schedule. Its changed its service so that all food is pre-packaged and must be pre-ordered before flying. Alcohol isnt off the menu, though—its chosen to ax its hot drinks service instead, throughout July.
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