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Here's What Inflight Service You Can Expect From Major Airlines Right Now

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If you’re getting back in the travel groove for the first time since the pandemic started, you might be a little sad to learn that some of the pre-pandemic airline snacks you know and love may be gone for good. You might even be more sad to learn that while some airlines are returning their inflight snack and beverage services to normal (hi Delta), others are cutting it even more (we’re looking at you, American). If you’re booking a business trip any time soon, here’s what you can expect when it comes to the inflight service and your food and bev options.

ALASKA 

On flights longer than 350 miles, drink service is back!

Complimentary

  • Soft drinks, juices, Starbucks coffee and Teavana tea in all cabins
  • Beer, wine, spirits and mixers in Premium and First Class

For Purchase

  • Alcohol is available for purchase in the Main Cabin for $7.50 a drink
  • On all flights over 783 miles, snacks like Mediterranean tapas, popcorn, chips, and almonds are available for purchase on board
  • For trips over 1,500 miles, passengers can choose from food options including a wrap, breakfast sandwich, salad, fruit and cheese platter, and protein platters (but keep in mind that these options must be pre-purchased from 2 weeks until 20 hours prior to departure)

AMERICAN

American has been slower to bring back in-flight services. In fact, just this week they announced that they would be scaling back on their offerings. Typically for flights greater than 1,500 miles, the cabin crew comes around twice for beverage service. Well, not anymore. Until at least April, there will be just one round of in-flight service, regardless of the length of the flight. 

Typically, both the flight length and the cabin you’ve purchased a ticket in determine how generous the service can be. Cutting to the chase, unless you’re flying on a long-haul international flight in the main cabin, you’re not going to be able to get much.

On flights under 900 miles

Complimentary

  • Full beverage service - including alcohol - available in first class
  • Snack selection available in first class
  • Canned drinks, juice, and water in Main Cabin
  • No purchases of any kind available in Main Cabin

For flights between 900 and 2,199 miles

Complimentary

  • Pre-packaged meals available in first class
  • Full beverage service - including alcohol - available in first class
  • Canned drinks, juice, and water in Main Cabin
  • Complimentary pretzels or Biscoff cookies in Main Cabin
  • No alcohol is available for purchase in Main Cabin

For flights longer than 2,200 miles (this generally includes transcontinental flights and flight to and from Hawaii)

Complimentary

  • Cold meals available for first class 
  • Hot meals and pre-arrival snacks available to first and business class passengers on premium transcontinental or long-haul flights 
  • Full beverage service - including alcohol - available in first class
  • Canned drinks, juice, and water in Main Cabin
  • Complimentary pretzels or Biscoff cookies available in Main Cabin
  • Fresh snacks are available on premium transcontinental flights for Main Cabin passengers

For Purchase

  • Alcohol available for purchase only on long-haul international flights in Main Cabin

DELTA

Hot, plated meals are back. Starting on March 1st, Delta will begin replacing pre-packaged meals with hot meals for all first class passengers on domestic Delta flights over 900 miles. This update includes flights to and from Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean as well. 

For flights under 900 miles - and for travelers seated in Economy - passengers will get the standard offering: a choice of snacks and complimentary beverage service (which includes beer, wine, and liquor for first class).

On flights 251 to 499 miles

Complimentary

  • Coffee, tea and bottled water in all cabins
  • Snacks - both savory and sweet - offered in all cabins
  • Delta Comfort+ and First Class passengers receive beer and wine service, and are offered soft drinks, juices and mixers

For flights 500 or more miles

Complimentary

  • Snacks - both savory and sweet - offered in all cabins
  • Coffee, tea, soft drinks, juices, and bottled water in all cabins
  • Delta Comfort+ and First Class passengers receive beer, wine and liquor service
  • Fresh meal boxes provided to first class travelers on flights over 900 miles

For Purchase

  • Alcohol is available using tap-to-pay in the Main Cabin

On long-haul international flights, full beverage service including beer, wine and spirits is available in all cabins. Plus, hot, prepared food service is provided in all cabins.

SOUTHWEST

Southwest has been reluctant to reinstitute alcohol service due to passenger disorderliness. But they have extended expiring drink coupons through the end of 2022. They do offer complimentary limited drink service and a selection of snacks that includes water, Coke, Diet Coke, and 7-Up as well as coffee on flights longer than 251 miles.

UNITED

Drinks are available on all flights, but only on request for flights under an hour.

Complimentary 

  • A snack choice of pretzels, stroopwafel, or Biscoff cookies is provided in the Main Cabin on flights over 2 hours and 20 minutes. If you’re seated in first class, you’ll get a cold sandwich and snack box.
  • Hot meals are provided to travelers in first class on any flight over four hours
  • Hot meals are provided in all cabins on international flights 
  • Alcoholic beverages are complimentary in premium cabins on all flights and in Economy Plus on premium transcontinental flights

Wine and beer are complimentary in Economy cabins on:

  • Trans-Atlantic flights
  • Flights between the U.S. and Argentina, Brazil, Chile. Colombia, Ecuador and Peru
  • Trans-Pacific flights between the U.S. and Australia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Tahiti and Taiwan

For Purchase

  • On all other Economy flights, beer is $8, wine is $9, and premium wines are $18/glass. Liquor is currently unavailable.
  • Snacks are available for purchase on flights over four hours in economy class.
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