While the country re-opens, and re-closes, and re-opens in a confused effort to "go back to normal," airlines continue to rethink how we fly.
Just a few weeks ago, Delta Airlines announced it would stop serving alcohol on flights. On Tuesday, however, the airline announced that it will be serving beer and wine to First Class and Comfort+ passengers starting July 2 — Titanic-style. The original intent behind limited alcohol services on flights was to cutdown on occasions when passengers would have to remove their masks and reduce the overall number of trips to the bathroom, where passengers are likelier to crowd around each other in the aisles.
On the other hand, Alaska Airlines is going further to ensure passengers wear their masks, a rather simple ask that when honored could go as far as to stunt the spread of a pandemic. Yet, some people still need convincing so Alaska Airlines will begin issuing yellow cards and consider suspending passengers who do not cooperate with its in-flight mask policy.
UPDATE: This story was originally published on June 16, 2020.
The time has finally come to start considering travel once again. It's too soon to dive straight into our "post-COVID" travel plans, as the coast is not quite clear yet. But as we move through the phases of reopening, travel is no longer a lingering question. It's an approaching reality.
The way we travel is changing. In April, JetBlue became the first major U.S. airline to require all passengers to wear face masks during check-in and throughout the flights. This followed the American Airlines' announcement that required all in-flight staff to wear face masks. Face masks are now one of the many air travel essentials Americans will pack regularly.
Air travel continues to change. Now, companies like Delta Airlines and American Airlines are going to stop serving alcohol to passengers. According to CNN, airlines are looking into scaling back their drink offerings either in part or in whole as a "widespread revision of the industry's food and drink service to minimize interaction between crew and passengers."
This change in policy is not limited to U.S.-based airlines. Europe's EasyJet will only be serving passengers water from now on. Virgin Atlantic also removed alcohol offerings, for now.
When on flights, passengers are not required to wear masks if they are eating or drinking. So the temporary suspension of alcohol offerings serves to limit the occasions in which people remove their masks in flight to only necessary hydration. Some airlines are even putting flight attendants in charge of the restrooms to ensure that there is no unnecessary queueing in the aisles or similar crowds on board.
Flying might not be as fun and glamorous as it once was, but it seems like it's safer.