There is no doubt that air travel will be altered forever when airlines resume their regular commercial services, but few expected this holiday ritual to be missing from the skies: toasting the journey with a glass of wine.

Europe's short-haul carriers have said they will be banning drinks sales from their flights, in a package of new coronavirus and social distancing measures.

EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic are among the carriers who have recognised the drinks trolley as a potential vector for passing disease between passengers and crew.

As Europe reopens its resorts and airways to citizens from designated "safe" countries Easyjet has told passengers jetting off on holiday that in-flight drinks will be limited to water.


The food service has also been suspended and says passengers will only be provided with water on request.

Virgin Atlantic which is set to begin flights on 20 July, has also streamlined its food offerings and there will be no sale of beer, wine or spirits to passengers.

Part of this decision means that there will be no "business class bubbles" for premium class passengers. The complementary champagne on boarding has been scrapped for Virgin Atlantic "upper class" fares.

British Airways has also said it will be removing alcohol from some flights. Drink will only be offered on long-haul and to passengers on business class fares reported the Daily Mail, though this will be subject to what BA is calling "enhanced temporary catering proposition" which sees meals served in disposable boxes across all cabin classes.

Although these airlines say the measures are only temporary - it marks a huge departure from the pre-pandemic airline catering. Previously low-cost carriers like Easyjet made a lucrative revenue stream from alcohol sales on flights - marketing drinks with multi-buy deals and upselling to "premium" spirits.

However there are some professional aviation bodies which will welcome this decision for dry flights, after years of campaigning against drink fuelled anti-social behaviour.

In 2019 the International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed that air travel was suffering an epidemic of "unruly passenger behaviour", with alcohol playing a factor in 27 percent of all incidents.

It will have to wait and seeif dry skies result in better passenger behaviour, and whether this new call for temperance should only be temporary.