India has revised the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for domestic and international travel, allowing airlines to serve pre-packed meals and beverages on board domestic flights. On international flights, carriers can now serve hot meals and alcohol.
The crew, however, will have to wear a fresh set of gloves after serving each meal and beverage to the passengers, a note from Usha Padhee, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, said.
Airlines on domestic routes were not allowed to provide any refreshments, ever since the pandemic started. For international services, carriers were only permitted ‘minimum catering,’ with pre-packaged food placed on seats before boarding.
Government has asked airlines to keep disposable tray set-up, plates, cutlery with no re-use. All beverages including tea, coffee, and other beverages will be in disposable cans, containers, bottles, and glasses. There will be no pouring service and beverages will be served in single-use disposable units.
The government has also allowed in-flight entertainment on domestic and international flights as per the existing regulations. Earlier, the government, along with the food, asked airlines not to operate in-flight entertainment in flights. Now airlines are allowed to operate in-flight entertainment while ensuring that disposable earphones are used or they are cleaned and disinfected prior to boarding of passengers.