FDA Warned Airline Not to Serve Drinks With Ice

The FDA issued a warning last month to Alaska Airlines Chairman and CEO Brad Tilden that flight attendants on Horizon Air Q400 aircraft should not be serving drinks with ice.

Since the lavatories in Horizon Air’s 52 Q400 turboprops don’t have sinks flight attendants aren’t able to wash their hands inflight. Thus they aren’t permitted to serve any food or beverages which aren’t prepackaged.

The FDA informed the airline,

Directing your employees to wash their hands in the airport between flights or to use hand sanitizer does not meet the requirements for suitable lavatory facilities for food-handling employees. We recommend that you discontinue the use of ice and serve only food and beverages that are in closed containers.

Alaska Airlines says it will be “roll[ing] out more robust procedures on all Horizon flights next week.”

Alaska’s plan is to require flight attendants “to sanitize their hands with…hospital-grade disinfectant and then immediately put on food-service gloves before pouring drinks.”

(HT: @harishv79)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. What we’re all concerned about here in Seattle is: will QX still be allowed to serve coffee, and the free beer and wine, on the Q400 flights?

    No one seems to have a clear answer to that, but if the choice is give up the coffee and microbrews, the FDA can forget it. We already have legal marijuana here…

  2. The FDA often overreaches to the detriment of the consumer. At least this time it won’t result in a 100x increase in the price of a 1000-year old drug 🙂

    (and yes, I do harbor a grudge)

  3. After observing a few times flight attendants using bare hand to pick up a lemon slice to put into my water, I’ve stopped asking for lemon for my water!

  4. If they dropped my lime on the floor when serving me a Jin and tonic I would pick it up, squeeze it in my drink and carry on. We need to lighten up a bit our bodies can take it and the FDA knows it based on warnings to ease up on antibiotics.

  5. Instead of issuing orders to the crew, just don’t load ice onboard! Guess they didn’t think of that.

  6. Graydon, I’d feel much better about getting something off the floor than from staph-infected hands. Staph is nasty.

  7. I stopped thinking the FDA was a force for good when they banned the best asthma sprays for the good of the ozone layer. People die from asthma all the time. I doubt it will have a big impact on the ozone layer.

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