British Airways halts onboard meal service on flights in coronavirus safety precaution

British Airways has notified passengers expecting to travel in the coming weeks of changes to its onboard services, including the usual food service. The measures come in a bid to up the protection for both staff and passengers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

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Many airlines are grounding flights, with BA’s owner IAG saying the airline would slash operations by 75 percent amid the crisis, although some routes will continue to run.

The Heathrow-based airline announced it would be seriously reducing its onboard food offering, encouraging travellers to bring their own food as supplies on board would be limited.

The usual hot meal service will be removed from all cabins, and passengers will be served “pre-packaged snack bags or boxes” which include sandwiches, crisps, and a snack.

Water will also be served in a plastic bottle, though “hydration rounds” will continue mid-flight as standard. The exact type of food on offer will depend on the route the passenger is travelling on.

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British Airways: The airline is reducing its inflight meal service to bolster on board safety (Image: Getty Images)British Airways: The airline will be halting its usual hot meal service for now (Image: Getty Images)

A spokesperson for British Airways told “We have made temporary changes to our onboard catering, customers will be offered pre-prepared refreshments and drinks.”

Alcoholic beverages will no longer be available, the distribution of menus will be stopped and glassware and crockery will be replaced with disposable crockery.

The airline will also be halting its in-flight duty-free service, removing magazines and newspapers, and is unable to cater to special meals at this time.

Other drinks, such as juice and hot beverages will continue to be served.

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On short-haul flights, British Airways has decided to stop its buy onboard service and will instead offer hot beverages and a pre-packaged snack to all passengers.

This will no longer include its mid-flight ice cream service.

The news came following the announcement by the British government that a stringent lockdown would be in place across the country, severely limiting the movement of British residents.

Speaking in Downing Street, the PM said the only valid reasons for venturing outside were to buy food, carry out essential work or for medical reasons.

British Airways: The airline is running a reduced service (Image: Getty Images)

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One outdoor trip for exercise each day is also allowed but there should be no more than two people together in public, except for members of the same household.

In a statement to the public Prime Minister Boris Johnson explained why these draconian measures are so vital.

“From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home,” he said.

“Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.

“That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes – shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible, one form of exercise a day – for example, a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household, any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.”

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Elsewhere in the world, other international air carriers have taken measures to increase passenger safety.

Air Canada has announced it will no longer provide any meal service for Economy Class passengers and bottled water will be the only drink option available.

Meanwhile, Business Class passengers and all passengers on long-haul flights will receive pre-packaged foods.

Water, again, will be the only beverage option.