Just curious, since you currently have to wear masks the entire flight. Are there no meals because of that or are there still meals on long-distance flights and you can put your mask off then? Or if there's a long-distance flight without meals, how does one deal with it?

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    For comparison, on UK trains (my commute uses a short section of a long route), it's common to hear Masks are compulsory and must cover your nose and mouth for the entire journey unless you're exempt. The refreshment trolley will shortly be passing through the train. It's clearly permitted to remove the mask when actually eating. This is abused by some - I'll call them "individuals" - who sit with a nearly empty cup of cold coffee in front of them for the entire journey as an excuse to not wear a mask. Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 11:38
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    @ChrisH exactly what my son & DIL did when the airlines expected a 3-year-old to wear a mask for a 12 hour flight. Every time a crew member came by, they popped a Cheerio into his hands. Same thing I'd do, too.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 17:52
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    @FreeMan a 12 hour flight with a 3-year-old is hard enough at the best of times. Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 10:52
  • This varies dramatically by region and even different airlines in the same region. Specifying where (and ideally which airline) you're asking about would be helpful. As far as I know, though, most long-haul flights are still offering meal services, though many short-haul and medium-haul routes aren't.
    – reirab
    Commented Mar 28, 2021 at 4:56
  • 1
    Virus doesn't care if you find precautions inconvenient. Clever people are its favorite kind. Every "I spread COVID to my loved ones" tragedy includes a whole bunch of "clever" at the start. Commented Mar 28, 2021 at 17:05

5 Answers 5


Yes. On flights when meals are normally served, they are still served just with different protocols. When doing a transatlantic flight during covid-19, there are two meals, one dinner and one breakfast.

Each meal was served entirely packaged and we were instructed to remove our masks only after the service crew cleared our aisle. Beverage service was the same and only sealed bottles were served, just water and soft drinks on my flights. Upon boarding, we were also given a care package including a water bottle and sanitizer in liquid and wipe form to clean our area to ensure we don't accidentally pickup the virus when we have our mask off later.

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    The silver lining is that now you can actually get the whole can of soda... and not just a half or third ? ;-)
    – Jeffrey
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 17:29
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    @Jeffrey You always could
    – Kevin
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 18:00
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    @Jeffrey Obligatory The Oatmeal.
    – gidds
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 23:41
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    @Jeffrey Where did yo get less than a full can? I usually got those mini cans or rarely a cup filled from a bottle
    – Rsf
    Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 7:41
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    To add; I had to fly briefly in September to Spain from the UK (3hr) and on the flight there was the full menu as normal (as far as I remember). Masks where permitted to be removed while drinking or eating and put back on immediately when you're not drinking or eating. (I had a coffee and was asked to put my mask back on essentially between sips). We also were lucky to have maybe 3 rows to a person so I wasn't too concerned about the flight itself but it was nice/refreshing to see the airline staff enforcing the new rules and being able to serve from the menu. Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 10:00

As suggested in other answers, it depends. In Europe, EASA Health and Safety protocol published June 30th, 2020, recommends reduced service:

Aircraft operators should reduce in-flight services to the minimum necessary to ensure passenger comfort and well-being and limit contact between cabin crew members and passengers, giving proper consideration to the duration of the flight. Among these measures, the following should be considered:

  • No duty free or other non-essential product sales on board.
  • Reduced food and beverage service. Alcoholic drinks should be avoided.
  • Preference for pre-packed and sealed food and drink products, such as canned drinks.
  • Wherever possible, payment involving touch or contact, such as cash payments, should be avoided to mitigate the potential transmission risk between cabin crew members and passengers

As far as I'm aware, similar advice is given in other parts of the world. Indeed, ICAO recommends to

Limit or suspend food and beverage service. Food and beverage service should be limited or suspended on short-haul flights or should be considered to be dispensed in sealed, pre-packaged containers.


I flew recently on a US domestic flight of four hours or so where it was announced that there would be no food service in the aisles, but there would be snacks and beverages available on request. We were also instructed to remove our masks only for each bite or sip, replacing them in between.

Since the flight was completely full, this was the most time I'd spent in close proximity to a stranger in nearly a year, so keeping people from being maskless for minutes at a time seemed prudent, and everyone complied as far as I could see.


Are there still meals in airliners?

That depends on the flight. Some countries do/did impose meal restrictions for domestic flights, e.g. at some point Thailand banned inflight catering on domestic flights (mirror) (December 31, 2020). But I'm not aware of such bans for long-haul flights: all long-haul flights I've seen did allow meals.


Yes. You take off your mask. I know this from a short haul flight, so logic says longer ones are more likely to have food.

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    Logic says a lot of things that are ignored by a great many people, especially when it comes to masks.
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 12:10
  • Wait how did I get a downvotr? Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 6:08
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    I'm not the downvoter, but perhaps it's because this answer is based upon an assumption rather than verified information, sources, and/or direct experience which most of the other answers include. Stack Exchange generally holds answers to a higher standard than what might be found on an average forum. Anyone can post an answer along the lines of "logically it seems to me that..." - the best answers backup that up with facts and elaboration.
    – JBentley
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 11:07

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