Why You Might Not Have Alcohol on Your Next Flight

Airlines around the world have implemented new protocols when it comes to flying in the wake of the coronavirus, and the regulations involving refreshments also include the serving of alcohol.

Several carriers have changed their food and beverage service, with many completely cutting alcohol on some flights completely. In general, reduced service decreases contact between the crew and passengers and also the amount of time that passengers have their face masks off. With the elimination of alcohol on board, it also increases the chances of an orderly flight — especially with new rules in place.

Here's how airlines around the world are dealing with booze at 35,000 feet:

Domestic Airlines

Onboard Delta Air Lines, alcohol will not be served on domestic flights or any flights to Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, and Central America. But all other international flights will have a full beverage list, including beer, spirits, and “a limited selection of wine,” according to the airline's website.

American Airlines notes on its website that it's "limiting food and drink service on board based on flight length and destination," and an update from April lays out specifics when it comes to imbibing on board. For flights over 2,200 miles (or 4 and a half hours), which includes transcontinental and to Hawaii, the airline will be serving alcohol in first class or to Main Cabin Extra passengers on "long-haul international flights." For flights under 2,200 miles alcohol will not be served in the main cabin and will be available for first class passengers upon request.

United Airlines “will no longer offer ice, coffee and tea service, and poured alcohol,” according to their website. Only premium cabins will have beer and individual wines available.

wine glass on a flight

International Airlines

British Airways will only serve water in the main cabin on short-haul flights. In premium classes and onboard long-haul flights, alcohol will be served “either as miniatures or individual quarter bottles,” according to the British Airways website.

Both Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia are temporarily removing alcohol onboard flights. Only water and snacks will be available on board, Virgin Australia’s website says. And Virgin Atlantic’s website states only “orange juice and water services available throughout your flight.”

Dutch airline KLM is serving alcohol to its World Business Class and Europe Business Class passengers. In their Economy Class on both intercontinental flights and flights within Europe, they will serve beer and wine, its website reads.

Travelers onboard all airlines are encouraged to bring their own refreshments and snacks, however, it's important to note that while sealed miniature size bottles of alcohol are allowed on board, the Federal Aviation Association rules that passengers are prohibited "from drinking alcohol on board the aircraft unless it is served by the air carrier."

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