American Airlines, like other major carriers, cut first class meal service early in the pandemic and largely eliminated drink service from coach. American brought back coach buy on board as first class food, and has always offered at least drinks on request up front. However on most domestic flights there’s still not a formal drink service.
That appears to be about to change, according to American Airlines seer JonNYC who notes that the date for the return of drinks isn’t first
"AA beverage service to resume on November 4… May not happen until the 11th. Apparently having trouble securing enough product from Coca Cola and also unrest with the FA union about serving drinks"
— JonNYC (@xJonNYC) October 15, 2020
It’s interesting to see Jon mentioning that the timing here is influenced by a willingness of American’s flight attendants union to serve drinks in economy. That’s always been a part of their job, Covid-19 spreads largely via aerosols (serving a drink isn’t going to be high risk), and planes haven’t been significant vectors of virus spread.
There’s nothing wrong with serving alcohol on planes but I don’t think the coach drink service will include alcoholic beverages (or a return of buy on board).
Flight attendant pushback reminds me that whether school districts opened for in-person instruction or Zoom School had little to do with virus risk in a given community (there doesn’t appear to be any evidence “to suggest that measures of COVID-19 risk are correlated with school reopening decisions”) and instead was more easily explained by strength of the local teacher’s union.
Update: An American Airlines spokesperson offers,
Hi Gary! Sending you a quick note in regards to the beverage service article. We are evaluating how and when to bring back beverage service in the main cabin, but no decisions have been made. Beverage service will not be resuming in the main cabin on Nov. 4 or Nov. 11. When beverage service does return, it will be introduced incrementally to make sure our flight attendants and customers feel safe and comfortable. We look forward to being able to reintroduce this service for our customers, but there are no immediate plans to do so at this time.