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Is a single beverage service enough for a 6-hour flight? It will be on American and Alaska

Jan. 25, 2022
4 min read
Is a single beverage service enough for a 6-hour flight? It will be on American and Alaska
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You might want to visit Hudson News before your next American or Alaska Airlines flight.

American confirmed to TPG on Monday that it's no longer serving a second drink service on domestic flights longer than 1,500 miles. The airline is modifying its inflight service procedures at the urging of the APFA flight attendant union APFA "to limit customer touchpoints." An internal memo about this change was first leaked by Twitter user xJonNYC.

American is pausing the second beverage service on domestic flights in coach through mid-April, at the earliest.

That means that if you're traveling with American on long domestic routes, say from New York to Los Angeles or from Miami to Phoenix, you'll be responsible for your own hydration after the single service that flight attendants complete after takeoff. (You can continue to visit the galley to request an additional drink after the first service.)

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

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Whether you're carrying a reusable water bottle (we recommend a Hydro Flask) or planning a last-minute visit to an airport concessionaire, you'll definitely want to fill up before boarding begins.

Along with eliminating the second beverage service, American is making a change to the international flight experience as well. While the airline isn't cutting any offerings, it will plate the appetizer salad and soup course on a single tray in Flagship First.

For now, no other changes are being implemented to American's onboard experience.

These service updates come as the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) has been demanding reductions in meal and beverage services to limit the interaction with unmasked passengers during meal services.

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American Airlines first-class meal in October 2021 (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The union wrote in a memo last week, “APFA proposals include serving entreés with salad/soup/appetizers in premium cabins when possible and reducing main cabin beverage services on domestic and IPD flights. We have asked that these reductions in service be implemented immediately.”

The airline confirmed that it's working together with APFA on its updated service procedures.

"As we have throughout the pandemic, we will continue to assess ways to thoughtfully return the onboard dining services customers are asking for while keeping safety front and center. We appreciate the APFA’s collaboration as we continue to navigate the ever-changing circumstances of the pandemic," American said in a statement.

Though American is implementing the requested changes, it comes at the expense of a key element of the inflight experience on longer flights.

American's new Oneworld-alliance partner, Alaska Airlines, is also currently offering just one beverage service in coach, a carrier spokesperson confirmed to TPG. Alaska said its move is temporary and comes out of "care and respect for our employees."

Meanwhile, American's major competitors confirmed to TPG that they are continuing to serve a second beverage service on flights longer than 1,500 miles.

Delta and United both told TPG that they continue to offer two beverage services on flights of similar length.

Delta does two full beverage services on flights 1,500 miles and greater, and the second service is offered one hour prior to arrival. In coach, flight attendants also do "water walks" every half hour between services.

United has a second beverage service on domestic flights with a scheduled block time of three hours or more. JetBlue Airways also told TPG that it continues to serve a second beverage on all domestic transcon flights.

So, if you're looking to stay hydrated aboard an American or Alaska Airlines jet, make sure to fill up before your flight.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
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  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

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  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023