As romanticized as it is, the flying experience has been in constant flux for decades thanks to cost-cutting measures taken by airlines. But it was the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic that really ushered in a new era for the industry as carriers struggled to create a safe environment for passengers while facing a new set of financial hardships. The result is nearly two years of constant changes that have made it difficult to know what to expect when you fly. Now, American Airlines has announced that it will be cutting something else from its flights in the coming months. Read on to see what your next trip could look like.
RELATED: Delta Air Lines is canceling these flights for the next two months.
After negotiations with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), American Airlines has announced it will change its cabin service by canceling its second beverage service on domestic flights over 1,500 miles from Jan. 26, travel news outlet The Points Guy reports. In addition, the airline will also make a minor change to service on international flights by introducing the soup and appetizer prepared for first class passengers during onboard meals on a single tray rather than separately. Both rules are likely to be in effect until at least mid-April.
The latest service changes come after the APFA formally demanded that cabin service on flights be reduced to reduce the amount of time crews would spend directly with passengers, which has become a more pressing issue as the highly portable Omicron variant continues to proliferate. The group also says it will limit the amount of time passengers spend without masks while eating and drinking.
“Together with APFA, we have decided to temporarily adjust some onboard services to limit customer contact,” said an official statement from American Airlines. “As we have done during the pandemic, we will continue to review ways to carefully return the onboard dining services customers request, while keeping safety first. We appreciate the APFA’s collaboration as we continue to navigate through the ever-changing circumstances of the pandemic.”
RELATED: Sign up for our daily newsletter for more up-to-date information.
American Airlines isn’t the only airline to have recently made changes to its service. On January 9, Alaska Airlines announced that it would be cut back on drink service up to one per flight, regardless of duration, travel news outlet Paddle Your Own Kanoo reported. The airline also said it would scrap fresh meals on medium-haul flights and reduce the number of pre-order meals available on transcontinental flights and Hawaiian legs from 63 to 42. The company clarified that both changes would be in effect for at least the rest of the year. January.
Similar to the requirements of the APFA, the changes were selected from a list proposed by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) in December to limit the amount of time flight crews spend directly with passengers. They were also implemented amid what the company has seen as an “unprecedented” number staff calls due to infection or exposure to COVID-19, which has led to staff shortages.
But it’s not just the second beverage service to soon disappear from cabins on American Airlines flights. The carrier also recently announced that it would no longer hand out disinfectant wipes to every passenger during boarding, according to The Points Guy. The airline called a limited stock available due to the ongoing supply chain issues plaguing various industries and companies around the world as the reason behind the change. Passengers who request the wipes will still receive them individually.
RELATED: American to Stop Flights From These 6 Major Cities Beginning in February.