As the world eases travel restrictions and airlines begin to resume international flights in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, some carriers have implemented a measure that might reassure some passengers and disappoint others.

Flight attendant serving customers on an airplane
Some airlines are temporarily suspending their trolly service © Compassionate Eye Foundation/Justin Pumfrey/Getty Images

EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic have decided to temporarily ban alcohol on all flights to limit contact between passengers and crew, while British Airways will sell it on long-haul flights but not on short-haul ones. American Airlines has removed alcohol from its main cabin but will serve it on long-haul international flights, and Delta is not offering it to passengers on US domestic flights and short international ones. Aside from limiting contact, ceasing or limiting the alcohol service may also address concerns over drink-fuelled incidents on board flights, which can cause additional interactions between passengers and crew.

Passenger reading the menu while seated in a plane.
Browsing the refreshments menu may not happen on some flights for a while © Surachet Jo/Shutterstock

Virgin Atlantic has also changed the way it serves food to passengers, and economy passengers will receive three-course meals in pre-prepared boxes. Sadly for its guests in premium cabins, the complimentary champagne they previously received as they boarded the plane will no longer be served. easyJet passengers will need to bring their own refreshments, and it has suspended its food service for the moment and is limiting its in-flight drinks service to glasses of water that must be requested from cabin crew.

Couple toasting with champagne glasses
Champagne will not be served in first class on some carriers © Oppenheim Bernhard/Getty Images

British Airways will offer its passengers a complimentary bottle of water served with biscuits, crisps or pretzels, and meals will be served in boxes. While it won't serve alcohol on short-haul flights, it will be offered on long-haul flights and in business class. It remains to be seen if other airlines decide to implement similar policies as they strive to keep passengers and crew safe while flying.

Lockdowns are easing globally as the planet adjusts to a new normal. Find out how COVID-19 is changing travel.

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