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How US Airlines are Changing In-Flight Food and Alcohol Rules

How US Airlines are Changing In-Flight Food and Alcohol Rules

Passengers can expect far fewer food and drink options onboard airlines.

As COVID-19 severely impacts the air travel industry, airlines are taking steps to reduce costs and limit the spread of the virus. Some precautions include requiring passengers and airline crews to wear face masks and limiting food and beverage options services on flights.

Several major airlines, including Delta, American and Southwest have suspended some or all alcohol service. Here’s what food and beverage options passengers can expect to be served on the different airlines.

Related: Over One Million Frozen Airline Meals Saved to Feed Those in Need in the UK

Alaska Airlines

The airline is recommending passengers bring their own snacks and water bottles on flights. During the pandemic, flights up to 350 miles will have no food or beverage services. Flights longer than 350 miles will have limited service and it varies by each cabin.

Allegiant Air

This airline will still be serving snacks, but the company said all of them will be in pre-packaged and factory-sealed containers when they’re served.

American Airlines

American Airlines updated its coronavirus travel safety guidelines on June 15, 2020, and said it is limiting food and drink service in the main cabin based on flight length and destination. For flights under 900 miles, water, canned drinks and juice will be available by request only. No snacks, alcohol or food will be available in the main cabin, but alcohol available in first-class by request only.

For flights between 900 and 2,199 miles (4.5 hours), complimentary pretzels or Biscoff cookies and bottled water will be available during boarding in the main cabin. However, no snacks, alcohol or food will be available for purchase. Passengers can request water, canned drinks and juice.

For flights over 2,200 miles, no alcohol or meals will be served except on long-haul international flights. In First and Business classes, no drinks will be served before departure, meals will be served on one tray, rather than in courses and alcohol will be available.

Delta Air Lines

One of the largest airlines in the world decided it would temporarily move to offer essential food and beverage during domestic and international flights. Some of the new changes include two snack offerings across Main Cabin and Delta Comfort+, as well as in First Class on flights less than 900 miles.

First Class and Delta One meal service on US domestic and short-haul international flights greater than 900 miles will now be replaced by individually pre-packaged, non-perishable Flight Fuel boxes with two snack offerings. Beverages will be individual bottled water only – no alcohol offerings – across all cabins, with plastic cups and ice also removed during this time.

Preselect and Special Meal service will be temporarily suspended. Delta has stopped alcohol sales on all domestic and international flights to Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Central America.

Frontier Airlines

As of May 12, 2020, Frontier Airlines is only offering limited beverage items available for purchase during its flights. The company said these items will be provided upon request.

Hawaiian Airlines

The airline announced it has temporarily suspended its Pau Hana snack cart sales, however, guests are still welcome to bring their own food onboard.  The crew will not be serving poured beverages, but a bottle of water will be given to each guest at the beginning of the flight.


Jet Blue said it will continue its complimentary food and beverage service, but at a limited capacity. The company replaced its snack basket and beverage cart service with a pre-sealed snack and beverage bag. As a precaution, all glassware and mugs have been replaced with single-use cups.

Southwest Airlines

On June 1, 2020, Southwest Airlines said it will begin serving cans of water with straws and a snack mix on flights over 250 miles, when available. It said cups will be available on request. On all other flights, the airline is temporarily suspending its snack and beverage service to limit customer and flight attendant interactions.

United Airlines

To try and further limit potential exposure to COVID-19, on March 29 United Airlines started serving primarily pre-packaged foods and sealed beverages. It no longer offers preorder meals and food for purchase while in flight.




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