7 Things You'll Never See Flight Attendants Do Again
COVID-19 is changing how flight crews operate. Here's what you won't see them do anymore.
The coronavirus has effectively delayed all of our travel plans for the foreseeable future. Airports are empty, planes are grounded, and departure boards are blank. But it won't be like that forever. As airlines prepare for a post-coronavirus world, there are many changes afoot so that air travel can adapt to the "new normal" that's on the other side of the pandemic. And when it comes to flight crews, don't expect the same service anytime soon. Read on to find out how the coronavirus has changed flight attendants' jobs forever. And for more predictions as to how one major destination will change as a result of COVID-19, check out 7 Things You Won't See at Disney World Ever Again After Coronavirus.
No more in-person safety demonstrations
On every flight you've ever taken, you've been able to count on flight attendants to walk you through the safety procedures, from how to apply an oxygen mask to where the nearest emergency exit is. However, that's all likely to change. To minimize touchpoints, we wouldn't be surprised if in-person safety demonstrations were replaced with a safety video that plays on each seat-back screen, which some airlines have adopted already. And for another screening experience that will be different after COVID-19, here are 5 Things You'll Never See at Movie Theaters Again After Coronavirus.
No more stowing your luggage
To make boarding a breeze, many flight attendants will often offer to help you lift and organize your bags in the overhead compartment. But you probably won't see that much any more. Who knows how many places and people your suitcase has come in contact with—or what germs it may be harboring. And they especially won't want to touch hard-shell luggage, since studies show that coronavirus can live up to 72 hours on plastic.
No more serving you snacks or meals
Forget about those peanuts and pretzels. From here on out, you'll want to pack a lunch or snack for your trip. Flight attendants would at least typically hand out cookies and chips on domestic routes, but in a post-pandemic world, there will be reduced contact between crew and passengers, which affects in-flight service. In fact, many airlines—like Alaska, American, Delta, and Southwest—have suspended food and drink service, while others, like JetBlue, have swapped the self-serve snack baskets for a single prepackaged snack offering.
No more pouring your drinks
Flight attendants used to double as bartenders, pouring you drink after drink onboard. However, by doing so, they would be touching the same plastic cup your mouth has been on, which is a huge no-no for sanitary reasons. Instead, we expect more airlines will have crews hand out cans of soda or bottled water to each traveler.
And there will likely be big changes with alcohol service, too. American Airlines is only offering adult beverages in first class and Delta is cutting spirits altogether—so you may not be getting tipsy at 30,000 feet from now on. And if you're wondering what you shouldn't sip on the plane, check out The One Drink Flight Attendants Never Want You to Order.
No more handing out pillows and blankets
We all know that unwrapped pillows and blankets are a red flag. Even if airlines claim to launder them between each use, some are simply folded and stowed in the overhead bin. But what's even scarier is that bedding in sealed plastic packaging still might not be clean. In 2018, CBC Marketplace, a Canadian investigative program, found yeast, mold, and bacteria on a cellophane-wrapped blanket on a WestJet flight. With this in mind, we wouldn't be surprised if flight attendants stopped handing them out completely.
No more collecting your trash
Before descending to your final destination, flight attendants would loop through the cabin, collecting any trash or items from passengers. But, amid coronavirus, there are concerns that these containers and trays could be contaminated. Alaska, for one, is now requiring passengers to pick up after themselves and dispose of any trash in non-touch garbage bins. The carrier has also suspended recycling "to reduce touching passenger-handled materials." We predict similar practices will catch on among other airlines, too.
No more reinforcing assigned seating
One of the primary flight attendant tasks used to be checking your ticket and helping you to your seat. But social distancing measures have changed all that. American released a statement saying, "Once on board—provided there aren't any aircraft weight or balance restrictions—customers can move to another seat within their ticketed cabin, subject to availability." The only row they can't claim? Those adjacent to the flight attendants' jump seats, to maintain proper distance.