Airlines Make Major Changes Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Some major changes are coming to the way airplanes will get us around the country as airlines work to keep people safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Fliers have seen some major changes to the way they fly over the last twenty years, but now, thanks to the coronavirus, we may see even more substantial changes to the perks and freebies passengers have grown accustomed to while flying.

American Airlines says beginning on March 27, first class passengers on flights shorter than 4.5 hours will no longer receive a meal as part of their flight. Snacks and foods will also no longer be available for purchase in the main cabin. You'll also have to begin bringing your own drinks on board as beverages will only be available upon request. Alcohol will no longer be sold in economy, but first class passengers will be able to order it.

American is also getting rid of the dreaded middle seat for passengers, by reassigning seats to customers so they don't sit next to someone else to help encourage social distancing practices recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Our flight attendants spend the most time with our customers and play a critical role in ensuring the safety and well-being of our customers," said Jill Surdek, Senior Vice President of Flight Service. "As a result of working with our flight attendant team and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, we are taking these necessary steps today and will continue to update our policies in response to guidance from the CDC."

Delta says they will also adjust their meal and beverage services in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Domestic and some shorter international flights will have the number of snack offerings reduced to two, with first class passengers receiving boxed meals. Alcohol will be completely eliminated for all passengers. Bottled water will be available to order for passengers.

Glassware and hot towels will also be removed from first class. The changes will begin immediately, Delta said in a statement.

Delta has also closed a number of its Delta Sky Club operations and scaled back food and beverage options.

Southwest Airlines says they're going to immediately suspend snack and beverage services beginning Wednesday as part of their effort to "limit close public interactions" between customers and crew members on board. Canned water will be made available to passengers upon request.

Photo: Getty Images