In an effort to stem the tide of the coronavirus, Thailand has banned food, drink and any printed materials other than safety information cards on board domestic flights. The airlines will have to follow the regulations or could face possible penalty from their regulator, Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.
This is the second time that such a move has been taken. Thailand previously banned in-flight food and drink service on April 26, 2020, but than ban was lifted on August 31.
Chula Sukmanop, Director General to Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), confirmed the measure to CNN.
“Cleaning time after each stop of domestic flight is extremely short, since operators tend to do the quickest turnaround as possible and I think it is unlikely operators would be able to thoroughly clean all of these items. Therefore, having non-essential reading materials on-board would create more risk of virus exposure,” he said.
That doesn’t mean that passengers will have to find a way to kill time during the flight with no reading material. They are allowed to bring their own magazines or newspapers on board, but they will likely be asked to take those items with them when they deplane. The CAA ban applies to anything that would be handed out on board, like menus, duty-free catalogs (not an issue for domestic travel) or in-flight magazines.
The consumption of food or drink is also prohibited on domestic flights, even if passengers bring it on board, as masks must be worn at all times.
According to a release from the CAAT, cabin crew will be allowed to give out water if passengers ask for it, which can happen in situations where, for example, someone needs water to take medicine.
Domestic air travel in Thailand is currently at about 40% of the usual capacity.
The ruling went into effect on December 31.