Airlines reducing food and drink services

If you decide to fly with a US airline in the next few weeks, your experience in the cabin will likely be different from what you are accustomed to. That’s because several airlines are now reducing food and drink service in order to minimize contact with passengers due to the threat of spreading disease.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is completely doing away with in-flight food and drinks.

On Southwest, all you can do now is request a can of water but the usual cart of beverages and basket of snacks will not be brought out and delivered to you during the flight. The change was originally intended for shorter flights but they decided to apply it to even their longer flights. 

Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines has decided to only provide bottles of water without any plastic cups or ice.

For flights that are shorter than 900 miles, they will only offer two snacks while longer flights will get “pre-packaged, non-perishable Flight Fuel boxes” instead of usual meal services. In addition, Delta Airlines is still removing coffee mugs, champagne glasses, and hot towel services. 

American Airlines

American Airlines is going to offer limited food and beverage options and it’s even thinking about offering the water and snacks at the gate door in order to minimize contact between flight attendants and customers.

No meals or snacks will be served for flights less than 4 1/2 hours. On those flights, passengers can still request things like canned drinks and juice and first class passengers will continue to be able to request alcohol.

Longer flights will still do away with snacks but will serve drinks as usual and also provide regular meals to passengers. First class passengers will be given their meals on a single tray instead of multiple courses and alcohol will still be served to first class in Main Cabin flyers on long haul international flights.

American Airlines will not be serving beverages to first class passengers as they board.

It looks like these new changes will be in place at least until the end of April for some airlines but they could be extended through May if things continue to decline.

Airlines are still seeing record level cuts in capacity. We saw Southwest recently announce a 40% reduction in flight traffic and other US airlines have announced reductions even higher. As a result, the airlines and airports will be receiving a stimulus package close to $60 billion.