Ask anyone who flies their opinion of inflight coffee. Odds are they'll wrinkle their nose in disgust and shake their head quickly. This nonverbal gesture most likely means, "Plane coffee is icky and I prefer only to drink it in extreme emergencies--like before a sudden onset of narcolepsy." Coffee at 36,000 feet has gotten a bad rap throughout the years, but it's time for things to change. After all, there has been an explosion of coffee snobbery in the past ten years, and you could say it all started in a little Northwestern city called Seattle. Thanks to a Starbucks on every corner, every American now knows what an Iced Single Vente/7 pump Peppermint/Light Ice/No whip/Mocha looks like. I’ve even had twelve-year-olds out-order me at coffee shops these days.
Well coffee snobs, it looks like you might have to actually leave the ground for your next cuppa joe. Beginning May 4th, Southwest Airlines will unveil the long-awaited, newest coffee experience onboard: LIFT.
Southwest wanted to enhance our Customers' experience on flights. Yes, we’ve got complimentary honey-roasted peanuts and soft drinks, but what about those 6:15am flights for our business travelers? Mr. & Mrs. T's Bloody Mary Mix is delicious, no doubt, but not necessarily appropriate at the crack of dawn. So what’s new about this LIFT coffee? Well for starters, it’s in a bigger, snazzier cup! And it’s not just any cup—the cup itself is 12% post-consumer product, and the sleeve is 99%. Southwest always makes a conscious effort to reduce their carbon footprint (or is it winglet?)
As with any new beverage onboard, the Marketing and Product Development Departments at Southwest did extensive Customer research before beginning their quest for the new coffee. They discovered that 75% of our Customers drink coffee and 64% of those were less than thrilled with powdered creamer. Fear that powdery dust no more, as we are introducing liquid creamer soon as well!
You might be interested to know the behind-the-scenes coffee planning has been going on for over a year. Changing coffee is no easy task. It required a fifteen-person committee made up of people from Procurement, Purchasing, Marketing, Provisioning, PR, and Inflight. Besides touring our coffee plant and watching beans get roasted, they also conducted a blind taste test of over 25 different roasts and brands.
If you’ll kindly look at the image below, you’ll see that our cup is not only larger, but better-looking too. The credit goes to Ms. Sonia Avila, Manager of (Southwest's) Graphic Design & Creative Services. Sonia was approached back in August to begin brainstorming the image and name for the new roast. Her Team really brought LIFT to life. What was her inspiration for the look ?
“Well, the word LIFT is very airy. I wanted to complement the clean design SWA is known for. Using my background in color theory, I knew I wanted to use a warm color for anything food-related. So I started working with a deep orange from our vintage color palette. Combined with the blue, it's a striking palette with an upbeat personality--just like Southwest."
I myself have not had the coffee yet, but as a french press addict/former Portlandian, I take my java very seriously. In fact, I might just have to book myself a flight on May 4th to try it out—perhaps to Southwest’s Northwest destination cities (Portland and Seattle of course) for a cross-country coffee tour of the skies…
Best of all, the new coffee will still be complimentary! So for all the coffee-addicted Employees and Customers out there...are you excited about LIFT?