Alcohol, Snacks For Sale Return To American Airlines Coach April 18, First Class Gets Multi-Course Meals

Real service elements begin coming back on American Airlines starting April 13, and alcohol and snacks for sale start back with the expected end to the federal mask mandate on April 18. Here are the details of what to expect.

Full specifics of the plan come via aviation watchdog JonNYC.

Several service elements restart April 13: American Airlines will resume doing a second beverage service in coach on flights of 1500 miles or more. To ‘reduce contact’ during Omicron (a.k.a. symbolic sop to the flight attendants’ union) they had been forcing passengers to congregate in the galley with flight attendants to request a second drink or to use call buttons so crew make extra trips down the aisle. Pre-order meals in premium cabins will be restored (selecting your preferred meal online was a little-known virus transmission risk). And first class meals will be served in courses on flights of 2200 miles or more.

Then – the moment the world has been waiting for – on April 18 the federal mask mandate is expected to be lifted. Presumably the government has communicated with American Airlines to expect this most recent one-month extension to be the last. For a year outgoing CEO Doug Parker has been saying that when the mask mandate lifts, alcohol will return to coach. And every time he said it, the airline would walk it back, claiming that alcohol would not return ‘before’ the mask mandate lifts. Well on April 18 coach buy on board resumes with aclohol and (very limited) snacks.

  • Beer wine and spirits for sale on flights of 250 miles or more
  • Pringles, Almonds other other limited items for sale on flights of 1500 miles or longer (you can’t even buy the turkey sandwiches that have passed for a meal in first class until recently)

Executive Platinum, Concierge Key, AirPass and Main Cabin Extra seating customers in coach will again receive complimentary items.

Here are the libations:

  • Liquor $9: Tito’s Vodka; Dewar’s Scotch; Bacardi Rum; Aviation Gin; Woodford Reserve;
    Bailey’s Irish Cream; Amaretto Disaronno; Jack Daniels Whiskey; Glenlivet 15 Year Scotch

  • Wine $9: White, Red, Rose, Sparkling (classy)

  • Beer $8: Bud Light; Heineken; Dos Equis; Fat Tire Belgian White; Goose IPA; Truly Hard Seltzer

When mask rules were introduced (by airlines, not government) they made sense. Even if you didn’t like wearing a mask, it helped that everyone around you was wearing one. In 2020 it was important to delay infections where possible, and the benefit wasn’t just protecting hospital capacity it was delaying to the point where we had vaccines and treatments available.

We are not now overwhelming hospitals, and we have medical advances. And cloth masks that meet the requirement don’t do that much anyway, especially against Omicron. Now.. get your booster, wear an N95 if you want, manage your risk appropriately. A federal transportation mask mandate – imposed because the government could claim the authority, rather than because it represented the greatest risk area – simply doesn’t make sense at this point.

Conflict in the skies should be reduced when the mask rule is allowed to end. Flight attendants will benefit most – not having to wear them or enforce it. And you can finally relax and enjoy a cocktail in American Airlines economy to take the edge off those new reduced-padding seats.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. IF the mask mandate is continued beyond April, will AA also delay the return of its alcohol service?

  2. @Daniel – AA has promised internally no alcohol while the mask mandate is in place. But that was Doug Parker’s promise and Parker will be retired. My guess is an extension pushes off alcohol, but they’re getting ready on the assumption April 18 will commence service.

  3. @Alan False. Dougie’s been sacrificing incremental profit on alcohol sales, albeit small, to kow-tow to his fellow left leaning Union.

  4. Gary, have you ever thought about how insulting some of your writing is to cabin crew who may read your blog? As with any service profession, your mileage with some employees may vary. The majority of the workgroup are hard working, well meaning individuals who genuinely take pride in their work. COVID has been brutal for everyone, but particularly crew. Many have lost work friends who are like family to the virus. Your mocking, petty comments about unions and crew are alienating to cabin crew as a readership. Do better.

  5. “We are not now overwhelming hospitals, and we have medical advances. And cloth masks that meet the requirement don’t do that much anyway, especially against Omicron. Now.. get your booster, wear an N95 if you want, manage your risk appropriately. A federal transportation mask mandate – imposed because the government could claim the authority, rather than because it represented the greatest risk area – simply doesn’t make sense at this point.”

    spot on with the implication that reduced cabin service in the name of covid makes no sense.

    Bars in AA’s major airports will see a fall in sales just as is certainly happening in WN major airports.

  6. What about flagship first – is that still the app / soup / main all on one tray nonsense?

    I don’t see that addressed

  7. @(Redacted)FA – there is absolutely nothing insulting to cabin crew in this post. There is shade thrown at the American Airlines flight attendants union, which is weak and next to useless (a view shared by many American Airlines flight attendants) and thrown at American Airlines management as well – but absolutely not at crew.

  8. But won’t all the flight attendants instant catch coronavirus and immediately drop dead on the spot if forced out from behind the curtain and made to actually interact with people who buy the tickets that sustain their employment?

  9. Gary, is the mask mandate going to be enforced through April 17 or 18? Very important distinction for me as our family has a 6 hour redeye at 10:30 pm on April 18.

  10. Glen Livet 15 year?! Doubt it. 12 year maybe. Unless they’re rebranding all the 12 yr they haven’t served over the last 3ish years as 15 yr 😐

  11. @Brands – THROUGH April 18 (ie, it expires at 12:01 a.m. on April 19 if no moves are made to extend it).

    Individual airlines are free to continue their own mask mandates.

  12. Enough of this charade. The typical masks worn have never “stopped the spread” and are at this point nothing more than political theater bordering on religious fanaticism.

    If after after two years, numerous vaccines, and the latest, media-fueled “variant,” you’re still afraid, then stay home. That includes flight attendants, although the vast majority I’ve encountered in my nearly weekly trips since May 2020 have only begrudgingly enforced the government’s lockdowns.

    Of course if you still want to wear a face diaper that is your choice, but make no mistake, the only “science” you are following is political science…

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