Delta’s bringing back inflight service with new food and drink options

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Delta is ready to resume (a much more substantial) inflight service that will begin to reverse some of the cuts it’s made during the pandemic.

Beginning April 14, the Atlanta-based carrier will offer a new snack and beverage service on domestic flights, per an internal memo circulated among flight attendants and later confirmed by the airline.

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This will include coffee, tea and water, as well as new offerings designed with safety and simplicity in mind. Sodas will be served in new 7.5-ounce mini-cans for Main Cabin customers. Selections will include Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite and Seagram’s Ginger Ale.

Cocktails will be provided by Tip Top Proper Cocktails and served in canned, ready-to-drink containers, eliminating the need for flight attendants to mix and pour each order. At launch, the carrier will feature an old fashioned and margarita.

Alcohol sales will resume, and there’ll be a new selection of juices and mixers available in all cabins. Note that liquor prices will increase by $1 across the board.

Ice will also be available on request with new handling guidelines designed to minimize contact. All beverages will be delivered sealed in single-serve sizes.

Delta’s also got a new snack selection that includes Goldfish, Biscoff cookies, almonds and Clif Bars. Customers will automatically receive one savory and one sweet snack. There’ll be a menu card for passengers as well.

In a statement shared with TPG, Delta says that,

We know our customers are ready to begin enjoying our in-flight snacks and beverages again. We’re busy preparing to bring back a redesigned, refreshed onboard experience that our customers will love.

Partnering with Mayo Clinic, we’re also designing improved ways for our flight attendants to deliver these items as we maintain a steadfast focus on safety.

In the meantime, customers can continue to enjoy our select prepackaged snacks – a move we implemented at the onset of the pandemic to reduce touchpoints and interactions.

Related: Inflight service is resuming — here’s what food and drinks you can expect on your next flight

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Flight attendants will use the recently launched contactless payment technology for onboard purchases. (Tap-to-Pay launched on March 16 with the return of earbud sales). Along with the new inflight service offerings, the carrier will also resume a modified onboard recycling program.

The memo doesn’t address what’s happening to buy-on-board food options for economy passengers, nor does it mention anything about hot or cold meals in first class.

It does, however, note that the new onboard service will debut exclusively on domestic flights. In explaining why, the memo says that “with the stronger demand we are seeing on domestic flights and the added complexity of multiple legs in a pairing, this service works from a business and catering operations standpoint, as well as from a safety and efficiency perspective.” Delta “may introduce” some of the new service elements on international jaunts.

Delta’s move comes as the carrier has offered one of the most heavily modified food and beverage selections during the pandemic. Currently, Main Cabin flyers receive an all-in-one snack pack consisting of two individually wrapped snacks, one 8.5-ounce bottle of water and a Purell singlet.

Delta Comfort+ and first-class passengers are entitled to complimentary beer and wine for flights longer than 500 miles. Complimentary spirits for premium cabins resumed in July 2020, after a three-month hiatus due to the pandemic.

Delta’s Big 3 competitors, American Airlines and United, have offered a more robust inflight service during the pandemic. In coach, flyers receive a choice of beverages, and first-class passengers can enjoy a variety of warm sandwiches and cheese plates.

In the coming months, United will also improve its coach offerings. The carrier recently unveiled redesigned snack boxes along with a revamped buy-on-board service, which will begin rolling out to Hawaii routes on April 1.

Delta’s move spells good news for loyal flyers. Many have reached out to express their frustration over the lack of beverage and snack options onboard, especially relative to the other U.S. network carriers.

Regardless of what the airline serves, flyers are always invited to bring their own food and beverages onboard. Just note that all alcohol consumed on the plane must be served by a flight attendant.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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