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How Every State Takes Their Plane Refreshments [2024 Survey]

Alex Miller's image
Alex Miller
Alex Miller's image

Alex Miller

Founder & CEO

295 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 34U.S. States Visited: 29

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

35 Published Articles 3236 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 47U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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We’ve all been there. You’re nestled in your seat on a flight, the plane has just reached cruising altitude, and the stewards are making their way through the aisle with the refreshments cart. Do you have your order ready? Is it your usual, or do you like to change it up sometimes?

Come aboard with us as we embark on a journey to uncover the preferences of Americans across the country when it comes to their in-flight indulgences. From the beverages that quench their thirst to the snacks that satisfy their cravings, we’ll explore the trends and insights that shape the inflight refreshment cart experience. Now, make sure your seat belts are properly fastened and your tray tables are stowed because we’ll be taking off momentarily …

What Would You Like? Americans’ Drink of Choice From the Refreshment Cart

As the flight reaches its midway point, you notice your throat is dry and hear your stomach grumble. Sure enough, the hospitable flight attendants are making their way through the cabin with the refreshment cart, ready to provide whatever is to your liking.

With regard to refreshing drinks, Americans across the nation have varying requests. Come along as we delve into the preferences of Americans across the country as they navigate their options from the drink menu.

For Those That Want Something A Little Stronger:

  1. Whiskey Cocktail – 11 states
  2. Vodka Cocktail – 11 states
  3. White Wine – 7 states
  4. Mimosa – 7 states
  5. Red Wine – 4 states
  6. Hard Seltzer – 2 states
  7. Bloody Mary – 2 states

When it comes to libations with a kick, vodka and whiskey cocktails are the most popular, each garnering the favor of 11 states. Vodka enthusiasts hail from Arkansas, Colorado, and Virginia, while whiskey aficionados can be found raising their glasses in Alabama, Massachusetts, and Texas, among others. 

Respondents shared a willingness to splurge on an inflight alcoholic beverage. The majority of Gen Zers (52%), millennials (58%), and Gen Xers (52%) believe paying extra for an alcoholic drink is completely worth it. But what about those moments when the desire leans more towards hydration than intoxication? Notably, we found that nearly half of the respondents (47%) opt for water, making it the overall undisputed champion of refreshment cart requests.

For Those Needing A Little Fizz:

  1. Coca-Cola – 42 states
  2. Ginger Ale – 2 states

Coca-Cola emerges as the undisputed champion in the soft drink category. Across 42 states, the familiar fizz of a crisp Coke tops the list of preferences, offering a familiar flavor to thirsty flyers who may need a little caffeine in their travels.

For Those Hoping for A Little Vitamin C:

  1. Apple Juice – 39 states
  2. Orange Juice – 3 states
  3. Cranberry Juice – 2 states

For those seeking a fruity boost, apple juice emerges as the dominant choice in 39 states. Whether it’s a burst of natural sweetness to energize the morning or a refreshing sip to accompany a mid-flight snack, apple juice is a popular pick-me-up for Americans on the move.

Can I Interest You in a Snack? Americans’ Food of Choice From the Refreshment Cart

For the average American flyer, the refreshment cart is a priority. 34% of survey takers would be upset if they slept through the refreshment cart passing by. Another 30% said they would be extremely relieved if a seat neighbor shook them awake at that crucial moment, with only 20% saying that they would be annoyed if someone woke them up because the refreshment cart was coming.

All that to say, let’s not delay these passengers any longer …

When it comes to satisfying those mid-flight munchies, the choices from the refreshment cart extend beyond just beverages. Let’s take a closer look at the snack preferences of Americans across the country as they navigate their options for inflight indulgence:

  1. Chips – 28 states
  2. Pretzels – 5 states
  3. Peanuts – 5 states
  4. Biscoff Cookies – 5 states
  5. Trail Mix – 1 state

Chips emerge as the undisputed champion of inflight snacking, satisfying the taste buds of residents in 28 states. Whether it’s the satisfying crunch of classic potato chips or the bold flavors of Sun Chips, this perennial favorite is the go-to snack choice for travelers nationwide and across airlines.

Standing out among the snack request options is the delectable Biscoff cookie. This timeless treat has made its mark in 5 states, including Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Utah. Considering the cookie snack is most commonly offered on Delta Air Lines (sometimes found on United Airlines, American Airlines, and Alaska Airlines), it impressively stood out for travelers across the nation. 

One thing to consider when ordering is the perfect pairing of drink and snack. Chips and water seem to be the most common combination, with travelers in 22 states opting for this refreshing duo. The bold-tasting combo of chips and Coke is the second-place pairing, the ideal mid-flight treat for passengers in 6 states.

So whether you’re reaching for a bag of chips or indulging in the sweet delight of a Biscoff cookie, the snack options from the refreshment cart ensure that every traveler’s cravings are satisfied on the journey ahead.

Methodology 

In April 2024, we surveyed 2,184 people across the U.S. to gather information on their airplane refreshment preferences. We analyzed the results to identify regional variations and determine which preferences stood out. It’s worth noting that due to their lower populations, we did not receive enough responses from Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming to gain meaningful insights into their inflight refreshment preferences.

Final Thoughts

As we make our descent to our destination, we’re reminded of the importance of the little things that make traveling the unforgettable experience that it is. Something as simple as getting a little snack (or even a whiskey cocktail) can make a long flight all the more enjoyable.

Airlines do their best to be accommodating, and from boarding to landing, the entire flight crew is on the go. Flight attendants work to meet your safety needs and provide exceptional service for a seamless flight — even if that simply means getting you the mimosa you’re craving!

Alex Miller's image

About Alex Miller

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business, The New York Times, and more.

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