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COVID-19 Travel: In-Flight Food and Drink Service Post COVID

Written by: AllClear Team
Last updated: 28 June 2023 | Created: 14 October 2020

Last updated on June 28th, 2023 at 02:30 pm

COVID-19 Travel Regulations for those that Want In-Flight Food and Drink Service

If you’re planning to travel this year, you can expect a few changes when it comes to your flight experience. We’re here to help answer the question on everyone’s lips – is food and drink still being served on board? This guide details some of the in-flight food and drinks service changes made on popular airlines. It will also provide you with resources to help answer any COVID-19 travel-related questions you may have.

For those who are lucky enough to be jetting off, it’s important to keep up-to-date with the latest travel advice from The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). Travel regulations continue to adapt to the constantly evolving COVID-19 pandemic. So, here are some useful guides to help you travel with confidence:

Post-Covid Travel Changes to On Fight Food and Drinks

Food is a big part of any holiday, and the first meal is usually consumed at the airport or on onboard the flight. It’s therefore, no surprise that many of us foodies were left wondering how COVID-19 would affect our dining experience. 

International travel is planned to pick up again in May, while we can’t wait to take to the skies,  in-flight food and service may be a little different than what we’re used to. 

What Factors Will Affect Your Inflight- Service Experience.

While many airlines are still serving food and drink onboard – there are a few factors which will affect your inflight service. Such factors include; 

  • Flight time 
  • Airline 
  • Cabin class
  • Dietary Requirements  

Food Service Currently Offered By Different Airlines

From airline to airline, service varies. So, it’s good to know what to expect before take off. To help you, we’ve put together the latest inflight service details from United Air, BA, Ryanair and Lufthansa.

In-flight service Changes To Ryanair

Ryanair is a popular airline for many Brits, especially for short-haul flights. There is no doubt that many of you looking to get away will soon be experiencing their post-COVID inflight service. 

Here is what you can expect: 

  • Reduced Menu
  • Pre-packaged snacks and drinks
  • Cashless sales 
  • The crew will be wearing and serving you in facemasks 

For more information regarding Ryanair’s inflight service, click here

In-flight service Changes To United Airlines

United Airline is a major American airline offering domestic and international flights. Established in the late 1920s the airline has run for over a century. Although affected by COVID, the airline continues to run and offers an inflight service which varies depending on cabin class and flight duration. 

Here is what you can expect: 

Economy class (Flights under 2 hours 20 minutes):

  • Drinks served on request 
  • No snacks 

Economy class (Flights Over 2 hours 20 minutes):

  • Snack provided in a snack bag 
  • Bottle of water provided 
  • Sanitiser wipe provided

First-class (Flights Under 1 hour):

  • Drinks must be requested 

First-class (Flights over 1 hour):

  • Snack bag provided 
  • Bottle of water provided 
  • Sanitiser wipe provided

Long-haul flight economy passengers:

  • served an entrée
  • snack 
  • wrapped dessert
  • a packaged mid-flight meal
  • pre-arrival snacks

Polaris and Premium Plus passengers: 

  •  Meal served on one covered tray instead of in separate courses. 

For more information regarding United Airlines’ inflight service, click here.

In-flight service Changes To British Airways (BA)

British Airways is the second largest UK based carrier and has been running since 1974. With over 100 years in the skies, it’s no surprise that it’s an airline that many of you have travelled on. It has been affected by COVID-19 and has made the following statement regarding their inflight service. 

We have updated our food and drink service to ensure you remain safe and healthy as you travel with us. Our new service requires less interaction with our cabin crew, greatly reducing physical contact.” – British Airways.

Here is what you can expect:  

Short-haul flights: 

  • Complimentary refreshments, including vegetarian options
  • Bottle of water
  • ‘Buy on board’, pre-pay and pre-order services are temporarily suspended.

Long-haul economy and premium economy:

  • Selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available 
  • Meal service includes breakfast or all-day option with a vegetarian choice
  • Pre-pay and pre-order services are temporarily suspended.
  • Menus will not be handed out – cabin crew will be explaining the options and will also have allergen information available.

Special Meals: 

For those with special dietary requirements, please be aware that: 

  • Special meals are not available
  • You will have to bring your own food and snacks (Normal rules for food and drink apply. Find out more)
  • Cabin crew will provide you with allergen advice relating to food served on board.

For more information regarding British Airways’ inflight service, click here.

In-flight service Changes To Lufthansa

Lufthansa is the largest operating German airline. Offering flights that prioritise both safety and comfort. As of August 31, 2020, Lufthansa has announced a simplified on-board service. Economy class service varies by flight time:

Flights under 50 minutes: 

  • no beverage service

Flights over 50 minutes:

  • Bottle of water provided 

Flights longer over 2 hours and 30 minutes: 

  • Snack provided 
  • usual beverage service

Flights longer than 3 hours: 

  • Snack provided 
  • Usual beverage service
  • Additional vegetarian sandwich 
  • Preorder of special meals is still possible

In business class, passengers can expect the usual food and beverage service. The preordering of special meals is also still possible.

For more information regarding Lufthansa’s inflight service, click here.

COVID-19 Essentials

Now you know what inflight service you can expect – it’s time to think about other COVID-19 related essentials. Like with food and drink there are a few changes regarding what you’ll need to take with you to the airport. To help protect yourself and others, it is recommended that you take with you the following essential items; 

A Face Covering:

Wearing a facemask has now become second nature while out in a public space within the UK. Although having to wear one on holiday is a slightly different experience then what we are used to – they are mandatory in many countries. For more information on face masks, click here.

Antibacterial Gel:

Washing your hands helps keep your hand hygiene in check by killing germs and bacteria. As it reduced the spread of COVID-19 the NHS has promoted that we wash our hands frequently. For further advice on handwashing, click here

However, it’s not always easy to access handwashing facilities when travelling. That’s where antibacterial substances become an essential on-the-go solution. You’ll need an antibacterial gel that’s at least 60% alcohol concentration.

While on a Flight Can you Take your Facemask Off To Eat?

Like with public spaces and public transport, masks are mandatory during flights. Masks are to fully cover your nose and mouth. Airlines that require you to wear a mask throughout the flight include; Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, United Airline, air Portugal and many more. 

Although masks are mandatory, they make the consumption of food and drink impossible. Therefore, airlines will allow you to temporarily remove your mask to eat or drink. Once finished, they must be put back on. 

How To Travel with Confidence During the Pandemic

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