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?
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.
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.