In-Flight Meal Tray with Breakfast for trend article about airlines upping their food and beverage service for premium experiences


Business Travel and Personal Travel Blur

In 2019, the word “bleisure” (a portmanteau of the words business and leisure) was coined when individuals added a few days at the end of their work trip. 2022 was the year of “revenge travel” as individuals made up for lost vacations. Business travel and personal travel are becoming increasingly blurred. According to Black Tomato, a luxury travel agency, the latest trend is dubbed “Lisness,” which is the reversal of bleisure where travelers plan leisure trips with time for work. Business travel is coming back, and airlines have taken notice. Airlines are trying to improve the airport experience with luxury lounges and in-flight experiences. Airlines are upping their food and beverage service to offer premium experiences such as cocktails, bubble tea, and ice cream.

Cocktails Anyone?

Airlines are partnering with beverage brands to serve quality ready-to-drink (RTD) canned cocktails for travelers that enjoy cocktails. Delta Air Lines teamed up with Tip Top Proper Cocktails to serve the brand’s RTD Counter Culture Coffee Espresso MartiniThis canned cocktail is the latest launch from Tip Top made in collaboration with Counter Culture Coffee. The beverage highlights Counter Culture’s Big Trouble espresso coffee blend, vanilla, and vodka. Additional canned cocktails such as Tip Top’s Bee’s Knees, Negroni, and Old Fashioned will be available on select domestic and international flights. Delta is also refreshing its menu and offers elevated food from partnerships with three James Beard Award-winning chefs and a better selection of vegetarian meals through Impossible Foods. Alaska Airlines has partnered with Portland-based Straightaway Cocktails to provide passengers with two RTD canned cocktail options. The Margarita is “bright and complex with a hint of heat” while the Oregon Old Fashioned is “oaky with notes of orange and a dry finish.”

Coffee, Tea, or Ice Cream?

In addition to cocktails, airlines are offering tea, coffee, and ice cream perks. China Airlines is rolling out a partnership for the “world’s first” bubble tea service on commercial flights. As part of the kickoff event, they teamed up with Vancouver’s SkyTeam Lounge to offer a free bubble tea service. Southwest Airlines has just added Community Coffee’s Espresso + Cream iced coffee to its inflight buy on board menu. As a customer loyalty program, Starbucks Rewards and Delta SkyMiles joined forces, and now customers can earn Delta miles on their Starbucks purchases. According to the press release, once the loyalty programs are linked, customers will earn one mile with Delta for each $1 spent at Starbucks. United Airlines has brought back its ice cream sundae cart to all long-haul international fights for the Polaris business class cabin. Passengers have the option to select a variety of toppings to create their own ice cream sundaes in the sky. Additional perks for business travelers include seats that lie flat with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding. For all passengers, United Airlines announced three new snacks for the Spring including Undercover Snacks Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Chocolate Crisps, That’s It Apple and Mango Fruit Bars, and Summer Harvest Savory Snack Mix.

Expect more food and beverage partnerships as airlines look to win consumers’ business by offering premium service and experiences.

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