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Something's a-brewin' onboard...

Frequent Flyer A

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?


Explorer C
This is great news for those of us who believe firmly that caffeine is one of the four major food groups. And the larger cups are a blessing, no more asking for two cups at a time. Is LIFT (cool name, BTW) a dark roast? A light roast? I can't wait!
Explorer C
There is nothing like an early morning flight with a great view of the sunrise over this great country and a good cup of coffee. LIFT up the cup and "CHEERS" to that.
Explorer C
I have so much love for Southwest and this only adds to it. Keep doing what you're doing, air travelers need you on their side!
Explorer C
Definitely appreciated, especially for those of us who need a big caffeine blast to start the day. The existing brew was not my cup of tea, as it were, but any port in a storm. Looking forward to LIFT!
Explorer C
Thank you, thank you, thank you... when all other airlines are taking cost containing measures to the most trifling extremes, SW expands it's customer service, thus ensuring customer loyalty. How smart is that.
Explorer C
It's a dark Arabic roast...yum!
Explorer C
I didn't think the coffee was THAT bad, and I LOVE my coffee. But this news is wonderful. I fly SW at any chance I get. This airline is GREAT at what they do. Maybe they're pulling the wool over my eyes, but I think they actually care about how I feel!
Explorer C
We (Seattle) would love any coffee improvement... Thanks SWA 🙂
Explorer C
Could you test it on a MCO-DTW flight on April 16? It is a 6:30 a.m. flight at the end of a fun family vacation in Orlando and could use the "Lift."
Explorer C
Now that you've addressed the cream issue, how about some attention to the mediocre beer lineup? For $4 I would think WN could stock some decent beers. In case you haven't noticed, most of the upscale business customers you are trying to attract despise the current lineup. How is it that Alaska (a smaller carrier) can stock the wonderful Alaskan Amber but WN cannot stock a single decent beer?
Explorer C
Yay, Sonia! Congratulations!!!
Explorer C
WTBB--I believe it is a dark roast! I can't wait to try it! YUM!
Explorer C
Great news! Your old coffee was not the worst I've sipped, but improvement is certainly appreciated. Now maybe I won't have to do my own improvements with a shot of Bailey's. Yeahhh, I probably still will. My seatback and tray are in the upright position, and I'm ready to go!
Explorer C
What is the source of the new coffee (that is, what part of the planet are the beans from)? Is it fair-trade certified or shade-grown?
Explorer B
I stopped requesting coffee when flying because it tasted so bad. I'll certainly try a cup and let you know what I think. Thank you SWA for thinking of your customers. Much appreciated. Erica from Dallas

Explorer A
I look forward to giving it thorough market testing in conjunction with Bailey's on trips on/after 5/4! Now, about that beer.....
Explorer C
Better coffee and liquid creamer - what a blessing. Although I prefer french press, I'll be thrilled with something better that what we've had for the 12+ years I've been a Companion Pass member. How did you ever get Herb to change his stance from "I'd rather spend the money on better scotch"? Thanks for always working to make things better.
Adventurer C
Are the gates getting a caffiene upgrade also?
Explorer C
Liquid creamer? Does this mean it will be non-dairy? Real milk or cream would really please coffee geeks like me. And I fly every week on SWA on an early flight. Help!!!!