Skift Take

On-board gourmet coffee options reflect the increasingly competitive market for premium flyers.

In the battle for the best in-flight experience, several major airlines have taken to classing up their amenities, those little extras that help enhance the company’s brand identity and reputation. Virgin Atlantic recently announced snacks-on-demand, Delta Air Lines offers bedding from Westin Hotels and Resorts, and Turkish Airlines’ Crabtree & Evelyn brand amenities bag is designed to double as an iPad case.

In a similar vein, some airlines provide brand-name coffee on board, each choosing the company that best complements their image. American Airlines serves Java City, Alaska Airlines serves Starbucks, and even the budget airline easyJet has started serving Starbucks, too — albeit the instant version. Delta began serving Seattle’s Best Coffee in 2011, Virgin America serves an Illy brand blend, and JetBlue now runs on Dunkin.

But Singapore Airlines upped the game this week with the announcement that it would  become the first airline to serve Illy’s molto classy single-origin Monoarabica beans to its Premium class fliers.

The choice came “after months of intensive research and sourcing of coffee products that will satisfy the increasingly sophisticated and discerning palate of today’s premium travellers,” said Singapore Airlines’ Vice President of Inflight Services, Maggie Li, said in a press release Tuesday.

Airlines have been serving coffee onboard since at least 1938, when a journalist aboard the first DC-3 documented his trip from Newark to California, which included a “dinner of soup, lamb chops, vegetables, salad, ice cream and coffee,” according to Smithsonian magazine. 

Airline food may have gone downhill since those days, the it seems like the coffee is on its way up.


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Tags: airlines, food and drink

Photo credit: A Singapore Airlines flight attendant serves coffee aboard a plane. Facebook

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