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British Airways leads campaign to improve teatime at 35,000 feet

Jan 29, 2013 12:11 pm

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Which airline could be better suited for such a role? We hope the Styrofoam cups are shucked in addition to the better tasting tea.

— Samantha Shankman

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Jeremy Foo  / Flickr.com

Tea on a Boeing 777 flight to Singapore. Jeremy Foo / Flickr.com


There’s nothing quite like a nice cuppa – unless you are flying at 35,000 feet.

British Airways and tea group Twinings have teamed up to promise a “transformation” of tea drinking in the air after research showed that its taste can be reduced by 30pc when travellers are at cruising altitude.

“British Airways has decided to lead a campaign to improve tea in the air,” Kate Thornton, its head of product and service, said. British Airways serves 35m cups of tea each year.

The airline, which merged with Spanish flag carrier Iberia in 2010 to form International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), is investing £5bn in new products, aircraft and technology, as it loses ground to budget carriers. Iberia is also struggling because of the subdued economic backdrop, losing more than £1m a day.

The new tea is a blend of Assam, Kenyan and high grown Ceylon tea, which Twinings describes as “a classic combination giving body, strength, flavour and colour.”

“Water onboard an aircraft boils at around 89 degrees centigrade, not the ideal 100 degrees for making black tea,” Mike Wright, Twinings senior buyer, said. “The reduced air pressure and humidity affect the functioning of the tastebuds, making things taste different.” 

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