A lot has changed with the airline industry. From cancellation and refund policies to insanely cheap prices, flying the friendly skies looks way different than it did just a few months ago.
Now, as airlines and airports are trying to navigate a world with a highly contagious coronavirus, they’re making some big changes to the in-flight experience. Here are just a few:
You could be on a ‘no-fly’ list if you don’t wear a mask.
Airlines are getting serious about requiring masks onboard flights, and passengers who don’t comply could find themselves on an airline’s travel restriction list, according to an announcement from Airlines for America, a trade organization representing the U.S.’s major airlines.
Unless you’re eating or drinking, a small child, or are medically/physically unable to wear a mask aboard a flight, the following airlines expect you to keep your mask on or face being placed on a “no-fly” list:
- Alaska Airlines: Uncooperative passengers will be given a “yellow card” warning, but if they still don’t comply, they’ll have travel privileges suspended by the airline.
- American Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- United Airlines
Southwest Airlines requires masks, but they’re providing them for passengers.
Southwest doesn’t have a policy in place that would ban passengers who won’t wear masks from flying, but masks are required on the airline. Southwest is providing masks to passengers who didn’t come with one.
If you otherwise need a mask, you’ll soon be able to get one from airports.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) vending machines have popped up at airports across the U.S. and the world, offering easy access to face masks, hand sanitizer, gloves and disinfectant wipes.
You’ll still want to bring your own, though; we’ve seen the vending machines charge as much as $6 per mask.
Delta and American have stopped serving alcohol (and soda!) on flights.
In order to minimize the amount of time people spend without their masks on, and to reduce contact between airline crew and passengers, many airlines have stopped selling alcohol, and have stopped serving any food or beverages other than water.
Carries implementing the change include Delta Air Lines and American Airlines.
You can, however, bring your own soda purchased from the terminal.
United has replaced refreshment service with a snack bag.
At the end of May, United Airlines replaced refreshment service on domestic flights over 2 hours and 20 minutes with a prepackaged “all-in-one” snack bag that includes:
- Wrapped sanitizer wipe
- 8.5 oz bottled water
Other beverages are still available, but anything other than water must be requested. On flights up to 1 hour long, beverages will only be available by request.