As the world continues to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, travelers are slowly returning to the skies. In response to this, airlines are resuming services that were temporarily cut during the height of the pandemic. In an effort to lower the risk of contamination and save costs, airlines made drastic changes to their services, both on the ground and in the air. This included closing lounges and cutting all or most in-flight service. However, as the situation evolves and airlines introduce new safety measures, they are also reopening most lounges and expanding their onboard food and beverage offerings.
Alaska Airlines: Resumed Food and Drink Service on Longer Flights
Alaska Airlines has resumed limited food and drink service on flights longer than 350 miles. For flights less than 350 miles, all service is still suspended. On flights over 350 miles, passengers can expect a full selection of soft drinks, including mini cans of soda, juices, and freshly brewed Starbucks Coffee and Teavana Tea in all cabins. Complimentary beer, wine, spirits, and mixers are available in Premium Class and First Class. Alcohol is available for purchase in the Main Cabin. Main Cabin and Premium Class passengers are offered a small packaged snack, while First Class passengers are offered an assortment of snacks from a snack basket. On flights departing between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m., First Class passengers are also offered a choice between a cold entree or the signature fruit and cheese platter on flights over 670 miles. For flights over 783 miles, Main Cabin and Premium Class passengers can purchase "Picnic Pack" snack boxes and premium snacks like LesserEvil Himalayan Gold Popcorn, SpudLove Sea Salt Potato Chips, and Skinny Dipped Dark Chocolate Almonds. For flights over 1,100 miles, Main Cabin and Premium Class passengers can purchase a selection of meal boxes, such as a signature fruit and cheese platter, chipotle turkey wrap, and "Beets So Fly Salad" by Evergreens. First Class passengers on flights over 2,140 miles (Hawaii and coast-to-coast) receive a meal with an appetizer and a choice of hot entree or signature fruit and cheese platter. It's important to note that Alaska Airlines is temporarily cutting back beverage service to one per flight, regardless of duration, through at least the end of January 2022.
American Airlines: Offering Service on Nearly All Flights
American Airlines is offering some level of service on nearly all flights. For flights under 900 miles, complimentary beverage service, including canned drinks, juice, and water, is available in the Main Cabin. Full beverage service, including alcohol, is available in First Class. No snacks, alcohol, or food for purchase are available in the Main Cabin, but First Class passengers are offered a selection of snacks such as fig bars, kettle chips, and green pea snack crisps. For flights between 900 and 2,199 miles, the same beverage service is available in the Main Cabin and First Class. Complimentary pretzels or Biscoff cookies are offered in the Main Cabin. First Class passengers are offered cold meals on flights departing between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m., including items such as fresh fruit, yogurt, breakfast sandwiches in the morning, and fruit and cheese plates, sandwiches, salads, and fresh appetizers for lunch and dinner. On flights longer than 2,200 miles, alcohol is not available in the Main Cabin and Main Cabin Extra, except on long-haul international flights. Other Main Cabin beverages and complimentary pretzels or Biscoff cookies are available as usual. No snacks or food for purchase are available, but Main Cabin meals are served on long-haul international flights. Premium transcontinental flights, long-haul Hawaii flights, and long-haul international flights offer additional meal options for premium cabin passengers. American Airlines plans to gradually bring back hot meal service on domestic first-class flights over 900 miles in the coming months.
Delta Air Lines: Slowly Reintroducing Service Elements
Delta Air Lines made significant cuts to its in-flight service during the pandemic but has since begun to slowly reintroduce some service elements on flights over 350 miles. For flights between 251 and 499 miles, all passengers are offered a complimentary snack selection, including both savory and sweet options. Coffee, tea, and individual bottles of water are available in all cabins. Delta Comfort+ and First Class customers receive complimentary beer and wine service, and First Class passengers are also offered soft drinks like mini soda cans, juices, and mixers. For flights of 500 or more miles, all passengers are offered a complimentary snack selection, and Delta Comfort+ and First Class customers receive complimentary beer, wine, and liquor service. Alcohol is available using tap-to-pay in the Main Cabin. Coffee, tea, Coca-Cola mini cans, and juice are available in all cabins. On flights over 900 miles, First Class passengers receive a fresh meal box in addition to snacks. Transcontinental flights and certain international flights offer hot meals in First Class and Delta One. Delta plans to bring back hot meals to domestic and short-haul international flights in March 2023.
Frontier Airlines: Full Menu of Food Items and Beverages for Sale
Frontier Airlines has resumed its usual service, offering a full menu of food items and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for sale.
Hawaiian Airlines: Mostly Back to Business as Usual
Hawaiian Airlines has mostly returned to business as usual, including the resumption of Pau Hana snack cart sales. However, first-class meals are now delivered on one tray instead of multiple courses, and pillows and blankets are currently only available in first class.
JetBlue: Inflight Service Mostly Back to Normal
JetBlue's inflight service is mostly back to business as usual. In economy, a limited selection of snacks, drinks, and items for purchase are served from carts in the aisle. Complimentary snacks include Cheez-It crackers, PopCorners Popcorn Chips, 88Acres Seed Bar Thins, and Goodie Girl Mini Cookies. Full meals are available in Mint, and predeparture beverage service has been suspended.
Southwest Airlines: Limited Selection of Non-Alcoholic Beverages and Snacks
Southwest Airlines initially suspended all onboard beverages and snacks but has since started serving a limited selection of non-alcoholic beverages and snacks on flights over 250 miles. Community Coffee is now served aboard all flights at least 251 miles long. Snack and beverage service is still temporarily suspended on all other flights. Southwest plans to resume alcohol sales once the federal mask mandate is lifted.
Spirit Airlines: Continuing to Sell Food and Beverages
Spirit Airlines is continuing to sell food and beverages as usual.
United Airlines: Restored Most Onboard Service Elements
United Airlines has restored most onboard service elements. Drinks are available on all flights, but only on request on flights under an hour. Complimentary single-serve bottles of wine, beer, and liquor are available in premium cabins on all flights, while complimentary beer and single-serve bottled wine are available in economy on international flights. Economy class passengers on domestic routes are offered a choice of pretzels, stroopwafel, or Biscoff cookies on flights over 2 hours and 20 minutes. On flights over four hours, economy passengers also have the option to buy snacks. First-class passengers receive an "all-in-one" snack bag with water and two snacks on shorter flights and a choice between cold sandwiches and a snack box on longer flights. Premium transcontinental flights, short Hawaii flights, and long-haul international flights offer additional meal options for premium cabin passengers. United plans to bring back hot meal service on domestic flights over 900 miles in the coming months.
As travelers return to the skies, airlines are gradually resuming services and expanding their in-flight offerings. Each airline has its own specific policies and offerings, so it's important for passengers to check with their respective airlines for the most up-to-date information on food and drink options. Whether it's complimentary snacks and drinks or the availability of full meals, airlines are working to provide a safe and enjoyable travel experience for their passengers.