By Kelly Yamanouchi, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Troy Warren for CNT #Travel
Aims to reduce single-use plastic items
Delta Air Lines is switching to bamboo cutlery for fresh packaged meals in first class as part of a broader effort to reduce single-use plastics on flights.
Delta said that and other changes planned for onboard service will reduce its plastic use by about 4.9 million pounds annually.
Atlanta-based Delta said bamboo cutlery will also be used on some international flights, and starting later this year, main cabin passengers traveling internationally will be served food on dishes made of biodegradable materials.
Some plastic will still be used in the main cabin on domestic flights. Delta uses china to serve fresh non-packaged meals in first class and international business class.
The changes come after Delta in 2018 removed single-use plastic stir sticks and straws from its flights. Many companies began reducing single-use plastics several years ago, but the pandemic drove the use of disposable items and plastic for hygienic purposes. Delta, for example, temporarily switched to handing out plastic bags with snacks, a wet wipe and a plastic water bottle.
Airlines reduced in-flight service when the pandemic hit, but as travel returns they are gradually bringing back more extensive in-flight service.
In international business class, Delta said it is also switching to “eco-conscious bedding” with fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. The items come in reusable packaging, which it said will reduce single-use plastic usage by as much as 260,000 pounds a year.
Its new amenity kits for international business class will have fewer single-use plastic items than past ones and will include a bamboo toothbrush. Delta previously offered TUMI amenity kits and Westin Heavenly bedding.
And the airline said it will begin serving canned wine from Imagery Estate Winery, a Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, starting later this year on domestic flights. That will replace single-use plastic wine bottles — but the wine may still be served with a plastic cup.