Sunday, March 20, 2011

Coffee Shops in the Sky

Starbucks on United (image credit: Mark'n Markus)
No more are airlines peddling mystery coffee or using grounds found on the average supermarket shelf. Sorry Maxwell House. Airlines are touting the specialty coffee shop brands for their in-flight service. The benefit to passengers is a finer cup of coffee. For the airlines, they are likely reaping some sort of benefit to display the coffee brand's name and logo in lieu of or in addition to their own.

American Airlines
Java City became the supplier for the airline's official in-flight coffee in November 2010. Served in a larger 10 ounce cup, the coffee is an eco-friendly, hand-roasted blend of 100 percent Arabica Beans and grown on sustainably managed farms. Founded in 1985, Java City is a specialty coffee roaster with eight retail cafes in California and  in partnership operates an additional 500 branded cafes and 30 franchise locations in Korea.

Delta Airlines
Effective March 1, 2010 Delta began featuring Seattle's Best Coffee in flight. The airline began with their customers participating in an in-flight coffee taste test to choose which of the brands blends would be served. The choice is Level 4 based on roast intensity ranked from 1 to 5. Seattle's Best is part of the Starbucks Corporation.

The Hopeful Traveler dares an airline to
offer 100% Kona Coffee in flight.
(image credit: ABCstores)
United Airlines
In 2007, United continued America's habit of enjoying Starbucks Coffee on the ground and extended it to the friendly skies.

Alaska Airlines
Ditto Seattle's Best Coffee.

Continental Airlines
For a legacy carrier they still serve something called Fresh Brew Coffee from a Houston based company. The airline reports it's a blend of the highest-quality Arabica beans specially created for the carrier. With the merger with United in the works, it's unlikely coffee to match its competitors is on the mind of Continental executives.

For the record other brands of coffee have an in-flight audience. Dunkin' Donuts coffee is served on JetBlue and the illy brand of coffee is offered on Virgin America. Now if Hawaiian Airlines would only serve 100% Kona coffee instead of the blend stuff (10% Kona coffee). That would be the best deal among in-flight complimentary coffeedom. Imagine passengers bringing their own cups on board and asking flight attendants to fill it up.
Seattle's Best Coffee on Alaska Airlines (image credit: -Ken-'s)


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