Thai airlines are to be banned from serving food and drink on domestic flights in response to rising levels of COVID-19 infections around the world. The new rules, which also prohibit passengers from consuming any food or drink brought onboard with them, will come into effect from December 31 until the Coronavirus pandemic is over or until airlines are notified of a change in rules.
The ban on consuming food and drink also includes water and cabin crew have been instructed only to allow passengers to sip water in the event of a medical emergency. Any passenger requiring water must first be moved to a part of the aircraft with no other passengers around them before they can take a sip.
The new rules appear to be an attempt to remove any possible reason for a passenger to remove their face mask in-flight. Like many countries, Thailand mandates the wearing of surgical face masks or a cloth face covering on all flights with non-compliance threatened with arrest.
“It is forbidden to eat and drink during flight operations,” a new notice from Thailand’s Civil Aviation Authority reads. “In the event of an emergency or necessary Crew may consider providing drinking water to passengers, which is to be done in an area as far away from the other passengers as possible.”
Officials previously banned the consumption of food and drink on domestic flights but relaxed the rules in September. The Civil Aviation Authority said it was now reacting to rapidly increasing levels of infections around the world.
Newspapers and magazines must also be removed – a decision that many airlines have already taken for fear that an infected person might spread germs on a magazine that is thumbed by multiple passengers in a single day.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.