Airlines ban alcohol on planes

Airlines including Easyjet, Ryan Air and KLM in Europe, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines in the United States, and Asia’s Virgin Australia, are adjusting, cutting back, or suspending in-flight food, alcoholic drinks, and other beverage services to limit transactions between passengers and crew. This means you’ll see most airlines ban alcohol as part of their regular service in the main cabin in response to Covid-19.

CNN reported this is part of a widespread revision of the industry’s food and drink service to minimize interaction between crew and passengers and to ensure a safer journey for all.

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Airlines ban alcohol on planes

Airline at sunset
Photo by Ken Yam on Unsplash

With face masks already mandatory on pretty much all flights around the world many airlines are also now limiting drink options to water only. While it is certainly difficult (or impossible) to consume beverages with a face mask properly in place, this new policy is a way of ensuring passengers are lingering over their refreshments for no longer than necessary.

Many airlines are also suspending the purchase of goodies from the in-flight snack menu. Some airlines will be replacing snack baskets and beverage cart service with a pre-sealed snack and beverage bag. Below is a breakdown by airline of which will be continuing alcohol services on domestic and international flights. 

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Delta, one of the largest airlines in the world, said that it is temporarily moving to essential food and beverage offerings onboard and is also adjusting its in-flight service policies, both for domestic and international travel.

The new changes include:

  • No alcohol and only bottled water will be served for beverages.
  • Delta Airlines isn’t serving alcohol on domestic flights or within the Americas
  • Beer, wine, and spirits are still available on long-haul international flights.


No alcohol in Main Cabin on flights less than 2,200 miles. Beverages would be limited to water, juice and canned options, except on flights longer than 2,200 miles.

Wine and cocktails are still available by request for those seated in first class and long-haul international flights.

United Airlines

Only sealed beverages would be served and the airline would no longer offer ice, coffee, tea and poured alcohol. Those sitting in premium cabins will still have access to pre-packaged individual wines as well as beers. 

Southwest Airlines

On most Southwest flights, snack and beverage options are suspended in efforts to maintain safety.

Southwest will serve cans of water with straws and a snack mix on longer flights. Cups and ice would be available upon request.

JetBlue Airlines

JetBlue has said, purchase of beer, wine, liquor and other buy-onboard products have been suspended. 

Mint passengers will be served pre-packed meals and single-serve beverages, but all glassware and mugs have been replaced with single-use cups.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines is recommending that passengers pack their own food and refillable water bottle. They have also implemented the following changes: No food or beverage service on flights up to 350 miles. Limited service on flights longer than 350 miles. For those flights, beer is served for passengers in Premium class and First-class, not main cabin.

Hawaiian Airlines

Complimentary bottled water will be provided. No poured alcohol, coffee and tea, and no sale of alcoholic beverages in the main cabin. No sales will be allowed from the snack cart, but passengers can still bring their own food onboard.

Frontier Airlines

Frontier is offering limited beverage options available for purchase upon request on its flights in response to the pandemic. 


Customers can bring food and non-alcoholic drinks onboard. The only refreshments offered on will be water, which has to be requested from the crew. Food service will resume gradually in coming months.

The crew will manage use of toilet facilities — so it’s for the best that passengers aren’t knocking back the Guinness and G&Ts.
Virgin Atlantic will be issuing passengers with “Health Packs,” complete with face masks, surface wipes and hand gel. It too is temporarily removing alcohol on board.

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Netherlands flagship airline KLM will no longer carry alcohol or hot drinks (coffee & tea), but passengers can continue to ask crewmembers for more water and soft drinks.

British Airways

British Airways has suspended its alcohol service on short-haul economy flights (“Euro Traveller” class), where customers will instead be offered complimentary refreshments along with a bottle of water.  


All food is pre-packaged and must be pre-ordered before flying. Alcohol isn’t off the menu, though — it’s chosen to ax its hot drinks service instead, throughout July.

Cathay Pacific

One of the few airlines, Cathay Pacfic will still have drinks available throughout flights, but the pre-meal bar and pre-poured drinks are temporarily suspended.

Virgin Australia

Serving all guests complimentary water and a snack, but additional food and drinks aren’t currently available for on-board purchase.

If you’re traveling this summer, pack plenty of healthy snacks, keep your face mask on when not eating or drinking, wash your hands often, carry hand sanitizer and have fun! 

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  1. I’m honestly not phased by this. Except for the rare occasion I had a ticket that offered it for gratis, I didn’t purchase drinks and I always bring a bottle of water. I think it will be better to minimize the handing out of things for a while.

  2. Mildly surprised that they did not ban everything except the alcohol when you look at the profit markup.

  3. I canceled all my flights when COVID hit hard, so I haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on in the airline industry. I think this is a smart move – hard to social distance when you’re tipsy! But it’s just one more reason why I ‘ll hold off on flying for a bit longer.

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