Should alcohol be on the ‘no fly’ list during the pandemic, or not?

by Balari Gabadamudalige
1 comment


  • Introduction
  • Safety first! – But how long does it last?
  • How getting high in the sky can become a major health hazard
  • The other side to the story
  • Conclusion

After the Covid-19 pandemic took the world by shock, all industries, especially the travel industry is doing whatever possible to get back on their feet. As the whole world has gradually adjusted to a ‘new normal’, it is a given that even things like travelling should reinvent themselves to stay in business. From packed airports to busy flights, we have now come full circle to face mask clad travellers and half-empty planes. That being said, if you are heading to an airport these days, despite what your destination may be, you are expected to wear a face mask at all times, including onboard.

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The industry’s food and beverage services have also been forced to a ‘new normal’ with some airlines suspending alcoholic drinks, fully or partially. This decision which was made as a part of a larger effort to reduce contact during flights has sparked up much controversy among travellers.

Safety first! – But how long does it last?

Most airlines across the world have now adopted a strict ‘face masks are a must’ rule. This begins from the moment you enter the airport and extends to the gate and onboard as well. This basically means that if you are hoping to travel by air, face masks are mandatory for your entire journey. Airlines have become extremely strict with their rules and regulations to ensure the safety of both the crew and the passengers.

Travel safety precautions don’t stop at that; passengers are also subjected to countless temperature checks and have to complete various health forms and questionnaires. Airports have also undertaken major cleaning and sanitizing procedures and limited seats on the aircraft by blocking middle seats. In a nutshell, airports and airlines have imposed major changes to safeguard travellers during these uncertain times.

However, all these safety precautions seem to go down the drain the minute an airplane bar cart comes rolling down the aisle.

How getting high in the sky can become a major health hazard

Although some flights have suspended their alcohol services completely, some still continue to provide the complimentary alcohol drink at least in first class. This means passengers can freely take off their masks and nurse their drinks for an extended period of time (you can be the judge of how long that would be!). It’s definitely hard to refuse a free drink in the sky. Especially, during times like these when there’s so much going on and so much uncertainty. A free drink is sure to take you off the edge and put your mind at ease, so, how can you say no to that?

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Back in the day, the sight of the airplane bar cart would be the moment you kick back and toast to the start of an amazing journey. However, now, with the prevailing pandemic, this means a risk for everyone else on the plane! Passengers in first class who do accept drinks would remove their masks and leisurely sip on their drinks, sometimes for as long as the entirety of their flight. This means the strict ‘face masks are a must’ rule that was in place at the start will abruptly hit pause as masks will be replaced with glasses of gin and tonic or whatnot. Then, what happens after two or three drinks won’t come as a surprise. The ‘face masks are a must’ rule will be completely forgotten as passengers will be too high to worry or remember anything.

Although kicking back and drinking your troubles away does sound appealing, it is hard to overlook this. What is the point of inflicting a mandatory face mask rule, if it will actually be removed for half the flight? Shouldn’t rules apply to all, despite which class they can afford?

The other side to the story

Nursing a drink is a great excuse for not wearing a mask on board, however, there’s also the argument that someone looking for an excuse wouldn’t need alcohol to do so. Anyone can easily nurse a packet of chips, a cup of coffee or even a glass of water. So doesn’t that mean meals and beverages, in general, should be in the ‘no fly’ list during the global pandemic? Thus, emerges the controversy that surrounds this topic. This problem should be properly analyzed and carefully weighed by the relevant authorities, in order to arrive at a plausible solution.

To sum up, there has been much controversy surrounding the topic of whether alcohol should be in the ‘no fly’ list during the pandemic. Although most airlines have suspended their alcohol services, some still provide it for their first class passengers. By doing so, it not only puts them at risk but also the other passengers and the flight crew at risk as well. The problem here is breaking the ‘face masks are a must’ rule that has been strictly put in place. However, by saying that, one can also argue that consuming any form of food or drink can then put others on board at risk as masks will have to be removed then as well. Thus, gives rise to the need for a proper analysis of the problem, and implementing a feasible solution.

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1 comment

Jarrett Moroni February 7, 2022 - 3:45 am

I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and interesting, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy I came across this in my hunt for something regarding this.


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