Cheers: Delta resumes limited alcohol service with beer and wine
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
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.
For more travel tips and news, sign up for our daily newsletter.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.