Delta signs Starbucks as their new Coffee provider - Image: Starbucks

Delta has partnered with Starbucks as their new coffee provider – Photo: Starbucks

I will be the first to admit (and I have) that I am a coffee addict.  So to surprise no one, I am talking about something close to my heart, and my stomach.  Coffee on-board a flight (or while waiting for one) is a big thing, not only to me, but to so many other travelers.

The Spirit of Seattle seen from the air. Image: Bernie Leighton

The Delta 737 called “The Spirit of Seattle” seen from the air – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Airlines are not known to have the world’s best coffee. Heck, some might even call it plain awful.  An airline’s choice of coffee can be an important one, not only to keep the passengers happy but also for their budgets. More and more airlines are taking their choice of coffee quite seriously and I decided to hold the cream and sugar and dive on in.

Delta Air Lines Starbucks

A nice little graphic showing some of the statistics associated with serving Starbucks onboard Delta – Image: Delta

Starting this February, Delta Air Lines is serving Starbucks’ iconic Pike Place Roast (which is their standard roast served throughout the US) on all of its flights.

If you drink decaf, fret not; Delta will also be serving their Via (code for instant) Italian Roast Decaf onboard.  Previously Delta had only served Starbucks on the west coast shuttle flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco (which began in 2013) and will now make its appearance network-wide.

The new coffee service will be replacing a contract that had only begun about three years prior, with Seattle’s Best Coffee.  You might be wondering why they would do that? Well for one, Starbucks owns Seattle’s Best and many Seattle’s Best outlets seem to be closing or turning into Starbucks anyway.  So really they aren’t getting rid of Seattle’s Best – I think Starbucks was phasing out the branding anyway.

Flying onboard Alaska? yeah you can have Starbucks too.

Flying on-board Alaska? Yeah you can have Starbucks too.

Delta isn’t the only airline serving Starbucks; Alaska Airlines does as well.  Again this might seem that Delta and Alaska are going at it for the Seattle Market, but I don’t believe that is the case in this situation.

Alaska promotes that they proudly serve Starbucks Coffee. But then Alaska is the airline that also serves local craft beers and liquor from the Pacific Northwest.  Delta, on the other hand, has tried to pick up local beers and other items in some areas, but is really looking at this from the international perspective.

When a passenger flies Delta internationally, many might want a “bit of home” on their flight.  Just like when I get on a Qantas or Virgin Australia flight, I want to be able to get a little piece of my Aussie roots.

Some vegemite and some bundy (Bundaberg Rum) are always a welcomed site — they instantly bring me back to my time in Australia.

Southwest's original blend, Lift!  Available only aboard your next Southwest flight.  Photo: JL Johnson | AirlineReporter.com

Southwest’s original blend, Lift – available only aboard your next Southwest flight – Photo: JL Johnson | AirlineReporter

Delta is not the only airline to try and make sure that they have a specialist coffee provider.  Southwest Airlines has their own brand of onboard java: Lift.

It is a custom dark roast from South & Central American Arabica beans. These special beans can only be found onboard a Southwest flight – no where else!

Southwest has even offered flavored creamers during the year (Hazelnut has been a seasonal offering). What is one thing that Southwest does that the others don’t?  Donate to a charity for every cup of coffee consumed.  Make it three (okay fine – six, maybe seven – don’t judge) cups for me! I am doing it for charity, right?

Jetblue serves Dunkin Donuts coffee onboard.. sadly, no donuts :( - Image: Jetblue

JetBlue serves Dunkin Donuts coffee onboard.. sadly, no donuts – Image: JetBlue

The final big-name coffee brand in the air today is with an airline based on the east coast.  JetBlue serves an iconic brand; Dunkin Donuts.

I am sure that most in the US know the brand, but there is very little presence on the west coast. I know that I do enjoy a good cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee and being able to have some in the air makes me think of New York, which is where JetBlue is based.

Delta use the world's smallest coffee cup onboard their flights in Economy.  Just look at the size comparison with a Biscoff Cookie - Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com

Delta uses the world’s smallest coffee cup onboard their flights in Economy. Just look at the size comparison with a Biscoff Cookie. Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter

I tend to drink a lot of coffee, on the ground and in the air.  I have been known to order three or four cups at a time onboard (because I am saving the flight attendants the hassle of coming back continuously.. right?).

I am extremely happy to hear that Delta is improving their coffee service on all of their flights, but the one thing I hope they do is… change out those tiny tiny cups!  Please Delta, tell me you won’t use them ever again?  Pretty please?

CORRESPONDENT - SEATTLE, WA. Mal is an Australian native who has been a huge fan of airlines and aviation and currently works in airport-related operations. Email: [email protected]

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9 Comments
Temo Madrigal

Great story, Mal. I love Alaska and Delta Air Lines. I am glad to hear that they are serving Starbucks on both.

Plane-Crazy Joe

Mal, did you actually eat that banana?!

Hi Joe. I did, that is exactly how I like them 😀

The swedish chartercompany TUIfly Nordic sales Starbucks coffee onboard, and been doing so for a year or so.

Not being a coffee drinker I haven’t paid much attention to what brand is being served when I fly on Delta. However, my partner is a big Starbucks fan and he is “over the moon” about this newest offering.

Changing the topic – will we get to meet the new Mrs. Muir at Geekfest 2015?

Unfortunately not. She is working and neither of us will be at the social due to a previous engagement. Maybe another time!

Lee Bachar

As I recall,many years ago,United also at one time served Starbucks coffee on board.

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