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JetBlue Makes First-Of-Its-Kind Onboard Change

The airline has done something that rivals like Southwest Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines have never done.



The airline has done something that rivals like Southwest Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines have never done.

During the covid pandemic, airlines stopped serving alcohol for a variety of reasons. First, it was a tense time as flight attendants needed to enforce mask mandates that some passengers thought were unnecessary.

It was a period where an already difficult job became harder because some people chose to take out their anger and frustrations on people just trying to do their jobs. Alcohol, of course, might have calmed that down, or, more likely, a drink or two would have emboldened people to be even more abusive.

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In addition, when you are asking people to follow a new set of rules that are unfamiliar and uncomfortable, adding in alcohol would have complicated things. It was hard enough to get people to not take their mask off in order to order a beverage and then have them move it to the side to take a sip. If you add in beer, wine, and liquor to that mix, and well, things might have gone even worse than they did.     

Once mask rules were dropped, however, airlines slowly brought back alcohol. That was something passengers were likely happy about that flight attendants likely had mixed feelings about. Some airlines waited longer than others to make this return and now JetBlue (JBLU) - Get Free Report has made a move that sort of splits things down the middle.

JetBlue is the first airline to add non-alcoholic beer.

Image source: Shutterstock

JetBlue Has a First for a U.S. Airline

Airlines sell alcohol because it makes them money. The profit margins on beer, wine, and liquor is very high -- high enough to deal with the occasional belligerent drunk. If airlines could make up that profit while cutting down on intoxication, they almost certainly would. 

That's why a number of airlines have been experimenting with specialty beverages that they can charge extra for which are not alcoholic. Southwest Airlines (LUV) - Get Free Report, for example, recently began selling cans of cold brew coffee on its flights. That allows the airline to offer something customers like that will also add to its bottom line.

Now, JetBlue has decided to do something similar. The airline has decided to add Athletic Brewing’s non-alcoholic Upside Dawn Golden beer on all domestic flights beginning in May.

“We’re excited to take flight with JetBlue and allow flyers to relax at 35,000 feet with a great-tasting alternative to full-strength brews,” said Athletic Brewing CEO Bill Shufelt. “This is a huge milestone for Athletic and a key partnership for us in the travel industry.”

JetBlue Makes a Trendy Move 

While it's hard to know what's media hype and what is actually happening, alcohol-free drinks are having a bit of a moment. Booze-free cocktails have become a growing trend/fad and at least some Americans have been looking to have an alcohol-like experience without the actual alcohol.

That has led to a 34.2% increase in sales of non-alcoholic beer, according to Athletic Brewing. The company, which is the second-largest non-alcoholic beer brand in the U.S., saw it grow by 94%3 year-to-date.

Bringing non-alcoholic beer to planes is both on-trend and logical.

“In our continued effort to provide customers with an onboard experience customized to their needs and preferences, JetBlue is proud to be the first major U.S. airline to serve non-alcoholic beer,” said JetBlue Director of Product Development Mariya Stoyanova. “We’re thrilled to partner with industry leader Athletic Brewing to offer our customers the refreshing, balanced taste of a classic craft Golden without the alcohol.”

Upside Dawn is a "bright and light-bodied brew that has been crafted to remove gluten. Crisp with floral and earthy notes, it is made with premium Vienna malt and a combination of English and American hops. Upside Dawn contains just 45 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrates," according to the brewer.


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