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)
The FA iPhones are locked and loaded, but I’m still under the impression initial snacks for sale will be extremely limited. pic.twitter.com/yHzgm9DGKe
— 🇺🇦 JonNYC 🇺🇦 (@xJonNYC) March 18, 2022
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.