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The central government has permitted airlines to resume serving on-board pre-packed snacks, meals, and beverages on domestic and hot meals on international flights, along with in-flight entertainment. The in-flight meal service was banned on domestic flights and only pre-packed cold meals and snacks were being served on international flights since their resumption in May.
This is good news for those who have a thing for in-flight meals. Yes, there are many who do miss being served airlines food. So much so that when meals had been banned in flights across the world, some airline food companies were offering in-flight meals to the general public to enjoy at home.
In an order issued this week, the Civil Aviation Ministry said, "Airlines may serve pre-packed snacks/meals/pre-packed beverages on domestic flights depending on the duration of the flight.” Airlines and charter flight operators can "serve hot meals and limited beverages" on international flights "as per the standard practices," it added.
The ministry has asked airline companies to use single-use disposable plates and cutlery. Tea, coffee, and other beverages will also be served. According to the directive, the crew will have to wear a fresh pair of gloves for every meal and beverage service. There shall also be no pouring service and beverages will be served in disposable units.
Read: Board a Plane to Nowhere
Along with food, the government has also asked airlines to ensure that disposable earphones are used, or that clean and disinfected earphones are provided to passengers in need. The directive mentions that airlines must clean and sanitise all touchpoints after every flight.
Meanwhile, a senior official of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that any passenger refusing to wear a face mask can be put on a no-fly list by the airline. As per the DGCA rules, an airline after internal deliberations can opt to put an unruly passenger on its no-fly list, and other airlines may replicate the action.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic flights were suspended from March 25 and scheduled international flights remain suspended since March 23. However, the government had approved resumption of domestic flights, and special international flights under the Vande Bharat Mission and bilateral air bubble arrangements. However, due to considerations about safety and hygiene, the government had prohibited serving of food and beverages.
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