EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic ban alcohol on all flights to limit contact amid coronavirus
- Some major airlines will not sell alcohol on certain flights due to coronavirus
- EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic say no alcohol will be sold on all flights this summer
- British Airways will keep selling it on long-haul flights but not on short-haul ones
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Sipping a gin and tonic on a flight is a ritual enjoyed by many heading off on holiday.
But with concerns over the spread of coronavirus, EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic have decided to ban alcohol during all flights to limit contact between passengers and crew, while British Airways has suspended it from short-haul trips.
EasyJet, which resumes flights today, say their in-flight drinks will be limited to a glass of water, which passengers will have to request from cabin crew. Food service has also been temporarily suspended.
Three airlines – EasyJet, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways – have said they will not serve alcohol on certain flights this summer to limit the amount of contact between passengers on board the aircraft
Virgin Atlantic will also stop selling beers, wines, spirits and cocktails when long-haul flights resume on 20 July and has ‘simplified’ its on-board dining options, with economy passengers served three course meals in pre-prepared boxes.
As a result of the alcohol ban, passengers in Virgin Atlantic’s premium ‘upper class’ cabins will no longer be served complimentary champagne as they board the plane.
British Airways has also banned alcohol from its short-haul economy flights, with refreshments limited to a complimentary bottle of water with biscuits, pretzels or crisps. Alcohol will be offered on long-haul flights and in business class, however.
The nation’s flag carrier has unveiled an ‘enhanced temporary catering proposition’ which will see meals served in boxes from Tuesday, including in first-class cabins.
BA, EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic say all the measures are temporary and will be kept under review.
The alcohol ban marks a significant change from pre-pandemic times, when drink deals were heavily marketed by some airlines through nightclub-style promotions.
It will also be seen as an attempt to address long-standing concerns over incidents of drink-fuelled ‘air rage’ causing flights to be diverted. It is feared such incidents will cause unnecessary interactions between passengers and crew, exacerbating the spread of the virus.
Alcohol has been served on flights since the late forties and became hugely popular in the golden era of flying in the fifties, sixties and seventies, a time which conjures images of glamorous air stewardesses serving cocktails to sharply dresses businessmen shrouded in cigar smoke.
British Airways has banned alcohol from its short-haul economy flights. Alcohol will be offered on long-haul flights and in business class, however
Under UK law, it has long been illegal for passengers to drink their own alcohol on board.
Earlier this week, the Department for Transport published guidance to airlines on how to make flights ‘Covid-secure’ in future.
It advises passengers to wear face-coverings while travelling, and to remain seated as much as possible during flights.
It says airlines should clean aircraft extensively and increase the availability of handwashing and hand sanitiser, while limiting interactions between crew and passengers as much as possible.