Southwest to Bring Back Food and Snacks on Select Flights — but Alcohol Still Grounded (Video)
With airlines across the world grappling with how to return to a semblance of normalcy, Southwest Airlines is bringing back one familiar touch: the beverage and snack service.
Starting Friday, the airline will reintroduce in-flight drinks and snacks on flights of more than 250 miles, according to Southwest’s website. Initially, cans of water with straws and a pouch of snack mix will be available while cups of ice will be available on request. Alcohol will not be served.
"Southwest Customers enjoy being offered a beverage and snack while flying, so we look forward to introducing this modified service while also supporting the well-being of Customers and Crews by limiting touchpoints within the cabin during this unprecedented time," a spokesman said in an email to Travel + Leisure.
The snack mix will include favorites like ranch bagel chips, pretzels, and cheddar cheese squares, they confirmed.
The decision to bring back the service follows Southwest’s suspension of in-flight drink and food service in March where the airline was only offering cans of water on request to limit contact between flight attendants and passengers.
In a further return to some form of normal travel, Southwest has said it plans to resume international flights next month to locations in Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica, and the Bahamas.
To assure customers, the carrier has focused on cleanliness, including increasing the use of hospital-grade disinfectant in places like the cabin and the bathrooms, and spraying disinfectant before every flight on high-touch surfaces like tray tables, armrests, seat belts, and overhead bin handles. Additionally, the airline is supplying hand sanitizer at airports along with wipes onboard.
Southwest isn’t alone in bringing back a version of food and beverages onboard. Earlier this week, United Airlines said it will introduce an “‘all in one’ economy snack bag,” which will include a bottle of water, a Stroopwafel, pretzels, and a sanitizer wipe on domestic flights that are 2 hours and 20 minutes or longer.
A representative for Southwest did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Travel + Leisure on the in-flight service changes.