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American Airlines to Resume Domestic Premium Cabin Inflight Service May 1

An American 777 landing in Miami. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

After a long year of operating in a global pandemic, American Airlines is bringing back some semblance of normalcy to its inflight experience. Beginning May 1, the carrier will restart its beverage service in premium cabins on all domestic flights. The decision comes as millions of Americans become vaccinated against COVID-19, with many feeling comfortable flying again.

In just a couple of weeks, premium class passengers traveling on American can once again enjoy beer and spirits on all domestic flights. This includes full complimentary beverage service, complete with alcohol, juice, canned beverages and water.

According to the carrier, it has worked with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, a union that represents more than 26,000 inflight crew members, and a number of health experts to determine the safest way to resume its food and beverage service.

“American’s reintroduction of beverage service is a careful and informed process to ensure everyone on board feels safe and comfortable,” American’s Vice President of Flight Service Brady Byrnes explained. “When customers fly with American, they are trusting us with their safety. We worked closely with the union that represents our flight attendants, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, and medical experts on this process. Through our partnership, we collectively determined that the timing is right to bring back this service, and we can do so while continuing to give customers peace of mind.”

The airline also explained that it would carefully monitor the resumption of the inflight service program “as more food and beverage service is introduced incrementally.” American explained it will strongly consider the feedback from customers and flight attendants when making future decisions.

While beverage service is back, customers will still be required to use face masks when onboard American flights, regardless of whether they are vaccinated. This coincides with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest guidelines, which says fully vaccinated people can safely travel domestically without quarantine or a negative Covid-19 test, but should still continue wearing masks and practice social distancing.

As for main cabin passengers, basic inflight service is available for flights over 2,200 miles (approximately four hours). June 1 will mark the start of complimentary non-alcoholic beverage service and later this summer American will offer its full inflight program to all domestic economy passengers, including alcohol options and buy-on-board food.

Southwest, United Resume Pre-Pandemic Practices

American is not the first airline to revert back to pre-pandemic practices. Both United Airlines and JetBlue Airways have resumed their normal boarding process, replacing back-to-front boarding.

Meanwhile, in March, Southwest Airlines brought back its traditional boarding procedure as well, now boarding travelers in groups of 30 rather than 10. Southwest has also resumed its full inflight food and beverage service previously suspended under its “Southwest Safe” health safety protocols.

Taylor Rains


  • Taylor Rains

    Taylor Rains graduated from Florida Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Aviation Management in 2017. She has worked in the aviation industry for the past five years and has a specialty in safety analytics for part 121 airlines, but she has also worked for a part 135 company in Alaska. Her experience has allowed her to work in many areas of aviation, including airport operations, flight operations, security, inflight, dispatch, and maintenance. Taylor is also an avid traveler and has used her flight benefits to fly on as many airlines and aircraft types as possible. So far, her favorite flight has been aboard KLM’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

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