Finnair says it has been banned from selling alcoholic drinks on domestic flights after 5 pm due to new pandemic rules which have been introduced to curb a winter surge in COVID-19 infections.
Finnish authorities ruled on Friday that the national flag carrier was subject to the same pandemic restrictions that have recently been imposed on restaurants. Under the latest rules, restaurants in most areas of Finland are barred from selling alcoholic drinks past 5 pm.
Finnair initially continued to sell alcohol on its domestic flights but the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland has since confirmed that the rules apply at 35,000 feet as well as on the ground.
The same alcohol ban applies at Finnair’s premium lounges at Helsinki airport but unlike restaurants that are required to shut at 6 pm, Finnair will keep its lounges open until 8 pm.
Last week, the airline warned that flights could be delayed or cancelled because of staff shortages from increased sickness levels.
“The omicron variant, as well as the normal flu season, are causing increased sickness absences in Finnair and in the teams of our partners,” a spokesperson for the airline explained.
“The same situation applies to other airlines and airports globally. Also, the winter conditions and their impact on operations challenge us on certain days,” the statement continued.
Air New Zealand started off 2022 by suspending inflight service on its domestic services until further notice because of Omicron fears. Although the highly-transmissible Omicron variant hasn’t taken hold in Aotearoa, Air New Zealand said it was stopping the service of snacks and drinks because of the threat the variant posed.
By stopping onboard service, Air New Zealand says passengers no longer have any excuse to remove their face masks which will enhance the safety of passengers. Cabin crew will now offer a small snack to passengers as they disembark the plane.
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.