What’s the deal with airplane food? At the beginning of the pandemic, airlines strictly reduced in-flight food and drink options to maintain a healthy social distance between flight attendants and passengers in order to reduce transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
Adopting this stance at first wasn’t a big issue due to the reduced amount of passengers on every flight, but now that air travel slowly fills planes back up, some travelers are growing restless. And thirsty. And hungry. Mmm... delicious airplane food. USA Today reports that United Airlines is bringing food and drink service back to flights, eight months after the pandemic began (and continues). This is all for the customers, because, at least according to spokeswoman Christine Salamone, many of them consider bad food “an important part of their travel experience.” (She didn’t actually say “bad food.”)
Currently, United only offers complimentary soft drinks and a bottle of water and two snacks on flights that last at least 2 hours and 20 minutes. No alcohol is available in regular economy at the moment.
But starting November 17, United will be selling food, beer, and wine in economy class on select flights on eight routes originating from Denver. The destinations include Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. United worked with the Cleveland Clinic to develop a touchless digital payment system for food and drink purchases using stored credit card info on the United website or mobile app to avoid an exchange of physical cards.
Alaska Airlines is using a similar system to sell fruit and cheese platters on select flights; that program began on November 4. Similarly to United, the $8 platters have to be preordered Alaska Airlines’ mobile app or website at least 20 hours before the flight. Maybe fruit and cheese platters are slightly more ideal than other offerings because you can pop grapes and cheddar cubes into your mouth behind your safely secured mask?
Ahh. Nothing like expensive airline snacks to make you feel like all is right in the world again, while you’re at cruising altitude and can’t see anything else below you.