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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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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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  • 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