Airlines Temporarily Suspend Alcohol Service on Planes in the Wake of Coronavirus Pandemic

American Airlines, Delta Airlines and British Airways are among the airline companies who have altered their beverage service policy as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak

inflight drinks
Photo: Getty

Several airlines are changing their policies regarding the sale of alcohol aboard their flights amid the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

American Airlines, Delta Airlines, British Airways and KLM are among the companies who have temporarily halted some or all of its alcohol service on planes as a part of their response to the global health crisis, minimizing face-to-face contact between crew members and passengers and curbing time guests spend with their face masks off, CNN reports.

American Airlines has limited sale of food and alcohol in the main cabin depending on the flight's length and destination, according to its website. Alcohol is only available to passengers in the First Class or those traveling on long-haul international flights.

Meanwhile, Delta Airlines has halted alcohol service across all cabins on domestic flights, offering only individual bottled water to travelers. A selection of beer, wine and spirits will only be made available on international flights.

Delta Air Lines
Delta Airlines. Nicolas Economou/Getty Images

British Airways will not be serving alcohol in its short-haul economy class — also know as the Euro Traveller cabins — at this time, a spokesperson for the airlines tells PEOPLE. Instead, economy travelers will be offered a complimentary snack and a bottle of water.

Business class passengers, Club Europe members, and guests traveling to a long-haul destinations will still have access to a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages along with a pre-prepared meal box, according to the company.

"Like all airlines, we had to make temporary adjustments to our on board catering while we worked on a new solution with our catering suppliers that follows guidance from regulators, minimizing interactions between our customers and crew," a statement from British Airways reads. "As we navigate our way through these unprecedented times, we will continue to take advice from relevant authorities and incorporate this into the development of our on board experience."

As for KLM, the Netherlands flagship airline has suspended the sale of hot and alcoholic drinks, according to CNN. Passengers will be offered water and soft drinks by request in addition to a pre-packed refreshment upon boarding.

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In addition to changing its alcohol service, major airlines are also stepping up its enforcement of face mask rules in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As PEOPLE reported, Airlines for America (A4A) — an industry trade organization that represents several major airlines, like United, Delta, American, Southwest and JetBlue — recently issued a press release saying that their flight companies would be "vigorously enforcing face covering policies."

"U.S. airlines are very serious about requiring face coverings on their flights," said Nicholas E. Calio, president and CEO of A4A. "Carriers are stepping up enforcement of face coverings and implementing substantial consequences for those who do not comply with the rules."

Added Calio: "Face coverings are one of several public health measures recommended by the CDC as an important layer of protection for passengers and customer-facing employees."

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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