As flights resumed after lockdown some airlines announced a ban on the sale of alcohol during travel.
We are now in the summer months when people are normally taking their holidays or trips abroad. However, the travel industry, just like everybody else, faces an uncertain future. Some wonder when we can fly normally overseas again, and will we enjoy the same comforts as before?
The news is that two major airlines, EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic are banning alcohol on all flights. Other airlines are restricting the sale of booze on some journeys to prevent the spread of the virus.
Worries about social distancing
Some airlines took novel steps to deal with the coronavirus crisis, working towards resuming flights and getting the country moving once more. For instance, EasyJet started flights again, but they will not be serving alcohol. Instead, passengers may sip a glass of water, which they can get from the flight attendant. The airline has also suspended its food service for the time being. When it returns, all purchases will be made cashless.
Virgin Atlantic decided to stop selling alcohol on planes, to reduce interaction between passengers and cabin crew. You cannot have a flight attendant fixing a gin and tonic or pouring out a can of beer, possibly breaking social distancing rules, if booze is not available. There are also concerns about passengers drinking too much and not following those rules.
Virgin Atlantic also announced, when resuming flights at the end of June, it would stop serving beer, wine, spirits, and cocktails during long-haul trips. It also ceased giving passengers in premium upper-class cabins the free champagne that they would normally receive when boarding the aircraft.
British Airways, on the other hand, decided not to ban the sale of alcohol altogether. So you can still have a drink on long haul flights, but not short-haul trips.
The airlines say, at this moment, the measures are only temporary and will be constantly under review. However, many welcome the changes and see them also as a way of dealing with air rage and other bad behaviour. Altercations and arguments on planes, often fuelled by booze, can be even more precarious in the present situation since flight attendants may be required to violate social distancing to break them up. This is another reason why people are calling for restrictions on alcohol sales onboard.
Other health and safety rules to be applied
The Department for Transport recently spelled out how we could fly safely during the COVID crisis. Ranging from wearing face masks to staying in your seat for the duration of the flight, only moving about the cabin when necessary. Planes will also be given periodic deep cleanings. Airlines will encourage regular hand washing and make hand sanitiser readily available. For a long time, it has been against the law for passengers to bring their own drinks on planes.
We may be coming out of lockdown, but, if we are taking to the skies again, the aviation industry will have to make some changes. Including re-assessing its policy regarding the sale of alcohol. So, for now, you may not be able to buy a drink on certain flights, while other airlines are prohibiting alcohol sales altogether.
Many welcome change
Many consider drinking on a plane to be the starting point of their holiday, but it can be tough for people with an alcohol addiction. It can be hard to be on a long flight where temptation and booze are readily available. Therefore, a great many will welcome the new restrictions on alcohol and hope they continue after the pandemic, becoming the new normal when catching a plane. However, this rule may be liable to change.