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Cheers: Delta resumes limited alcohol service with beer and wine

June 30, 2020
3 min read
Cheers: Delta resumes limited alcohol service with beer and wine
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Each of the major U.S. carriers is taking a different approach to reassuring customers that flying is safe. While all airlines are requiring masks, some are taking it a step further. These safety measures include capping capacity, modifying boarding procedures and reducing onboard service touchpoints to minimize interactions.

Delta's safety standards are some of the most robust in the industry. As part of the Atlanta-based carrier's coronavirus response, it stopped most inflight food and beverage options in late March. Instead, passengers are given a snack pack with individually bottled waters depending on flight length and class of service.

As travel slowly starts to rebound, Delta is beginning the process of reintroducing some of the suspended service elements. And that starts with alcohol.

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Beginning July 2, domestic first class and Comfort+ customers can enjoy complimentary beer and wine on all flights greater than 500 miles. The selection will include single-serve red and white wine, as well as Heineken, Miller Lite, SweetWater 420 and SweetWater IPA. Though the rollout begins on July 2, it'll take the entire month for the beverages to appear on all eligible domestic flights.

Delta's inflight beer selection (Photo courtesy of Delta)

To minimize touchpoints, these individually-packaged drinks are going to be presented on trays with plastic cups available by request.

While this is great news for those adults who've missed alcohol service, note that the selection will currently be limited to beer and wine only. Delta explains that this is just the "first step" to reintroducing a more "normalized" onboard service, with more improvements likely on their way soon. If you're missing your favorite cocktail, you'll have to wait a little longer since you can't consume your own liquor on board.

As for non-alcoholic refreshments, Delta isn't yet ready to restore complimentary soft drinks, tea or coffee service. Likewise, all domestic and international flights to Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Central America will still feature pre-packaged snack service only. All other international flights feature a full selection of beverage offerings and hot, prepared food service.

Related: We got an inside look at how Delta is cleaning planes between every flight

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Delta's limited onboard service matches the stringent safety measures it's taking to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus. (It also helps save the carrier some cash, too.)

Delta's two top competitors — American Airlines and United — haven't modified their inflight service nearly as much. American still offers regular alcohol service on all flights in first class. United has eliminated poured alcohol across the board and instead serves single-serve cans of beer and wine.

Delta One meal service pre-coronavirus (Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

Of all domestic flights, you'll notice the largest difference in onboard food service on premium transcontinental flights between the New York area and Los Angeles and San Francisco. In the forward cabin, AA and UA still serve hot meals, but they're being served on one tray. Delta and JetBlue have abandoned hot food service in favor of pre-packaged snack packs.

Related: Comparing premium transcon flights in the age of coronavirus

Nonetheless, Delta's latest announcement that it will restart select alcohol service is a welcome improvement for flyers. Hopefully, it won't be too long before the other aspects of the onboard service return in a safe manner.

Featured image by NurPhoto via Getty Images

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
2XEarn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S. and at U.S. supermarkets.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.

    Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles
    50,000 Bonus Miles
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

Build your loyalty to Delta by applying for the carrier's mid-tier card option, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card. The annual fee is quickly recouped by the card's travel perks, such as an application credit to Global Entry or TSA Precheck, annual companion certificate and so much more. Plus you can fast-track to elite status simply through card spend.

Pros

  • Earn bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and an Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) waiver when you hit specific spending thresholds with your card within a calendar year
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year
  • Statement credit for TSA PreCheck/Global Entry fee (up to $100)
  • First checked bag free

Cons

  • Doesn't make sense if you don't fly Delta
  • SkyMiles aren't the most valuable airline currency
  • Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights. Plus enjoy Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding and settle into your seat sooner.
  • New: Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • Enjoy a per-visit rate of $50 per person for Card Members and up to two guests to enter the Delta Sky Club when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees