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Thailand becomes first country to ban eating and drinking on domestic flights due to COVID-19

Dec. 30, 2020
2 min read
Thailand becomes first country to ban eating and drinking on domestic flights due to COVID-19
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The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (EKAT) has announced a ban on eating and drinking on domestic flights. The new policy will go into effect on New Year’s Eve. With the longest domestic flights clocking in at two hours, this won’t spell a huge inconvenience for passengers. But authorities hope it will curtail the spread of coronavirus. In addition to banning food and drinks, airlines in Thailand will also stop handing out newspapers and magazines.

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While the ban will apply to all flights within Thailand, exceptions will be made during emergencies. In these scenarios, flight crew are instructed to serve water in the galley or “as far away from the other passengers as possible.”

This new policy is in line with the ones enacted by major U.S. airlines at the beginning of the pandemic. Several carriers, including Delta, American and JetBlue, banned the serving of alcohol on domestic and short-haul flights to encourage mask-wearing and social distancing. Most U.S. carriers have since reinstated meal service, so it’s interesting to see Thailand implementing these policies now, especially considering the pandemic is fairly contained there compared to the rest of the world.

Related: Why airlines shouldn’t be serving alcohol on flights right now

Thailand was the first nation outside of China to report a coronavirus case and has since reported 6,690 cases and 61 deaths, which is significantly lower than its neighboring countries and most developed nations. This has been largely credited to Thailand's quick response, including screening travelers and quarantining those with symptoms. Contract tracing and testing have also been part of Thailand's successful strategy to contain the virus. This latest policy banning inflight meals and drinks is a continuation of that effort.

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Ultimately, this policy won't be a major inconvenience for travelers in Thailand, since most flights won't be longer than two hours. It may, however, help the country's successful attempts to contain the pandemic and ensure that domestic travel continues to be safe for all. Time will tell if more countries follow suit.

Featured image by (Photo by Javier Rodriguez / The Points Guy)

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  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
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  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more