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In recent months, a large number of airlines have reduced their food and drinks services to one degree or another as they looked for ways in which they could limit the number of interactions between cabin crew and passengers and the number of items that come into contact with more than one person. Some airlines limited their more drastic cuts to the Economy Class cabin but Delta removed alcoholic drinks from all the cabins it offers. Not any longer.
As of yesterday, 2 July 2020, Delta is once again offering complimentary beer and wine to passengers in domestic First Class and Delta Comfort+ on flights of over 500 miles. This is the first sign of Delta reversing a policy it first introduced on 24 March when it began to only offer “essential” food and beverages onboard, but there’s is as yet no mention of when alcoholic drinks will go back on sale in the Economy Class cabin and cocktails are still not available in any of the cabins offered domestically.
Flight attendants will pass the cans and single-serve bottles – which are complimentary in both First Class and Delta Comfort+ – using serving trays to minimize touch points on-board. Since beer and wine selections have fewer touch points than other adult beverage options and are individually contained, they are the first to be reintroduced on-board as Delta brings back food and beverage options.
Delta’s on-board food and beverages continue to evolve based on customer feedback and guidance from health professionals. Complimentary beer, wine and cocktails remain available to all cabins on long-haul international routes, including top-shelf liquor and sommelier-selected wines for customers seated in Delta One. On-board service adjustments like individual snack bags on domestic flights and other U.S. domestic offerings remain in place.
Note: Delta is happy to provide a variety of drinks and cocktails in all cabins on long-haul flights but will only serve wine and beer in First Class and Comfort+ domestically.
I’m not sure what to make of this. One the one hand I applaud any effort that airlines make to reduce the amount of inter-person contact onboard while, on the other hand, there are a few things that I’m unclear about here:
- If it’s “safe” to offer drinks in every cabin on long-haul flights, why is it not safe on domestic flights?
- If it’s safe to hand someone a glass or a bottle of water in domestic Economy Class, why is it less safe to hand the same person a can of beer?
- If Economy Class passengers were required to pay for drinks using contactless technology, wouldn’t that allow Delta to resume a full beverage service in Economy Class without any increase in touch points whatsoever?
Personally, I really don’t care if an airline serves or doesn’t serve alcoholic beverages because, on the whole, I don’t really drink very much when I fly and I’m perfectly happy drinking water or juice for the duration of my flight (although I confess to enjoying a glass or two in the Business Class cabins of the top-tier long-haul carriers)…but I’d still like to understand the reasoning for the decisions that airlines take. Right now, I’m struggling to follow some of the reasoning.
Delta is once again offering alcoholic beverages to passengers in domestic First Class and in Comfort+ albeit via a limited service. The airline says that these are the first steps towards a “normalized” beverage service so we should soon see moves to roll out more services across Delta’s domestic flight network.