Furious Tomato Juice Fans Prompt United Airlines Reversal

The outrage over the proposed beverage cut was a mile high.

Drinks on a flight. Tomato juice and water glass on a table in an airplane.

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Drinks on a flight. Tomato juice and water glass on a table in an airplane.

Photo by: Eivaisla

Eivaisla

For some travelers, the idea of a flight without tomato juice is like ... well, it’s, like, the worst thing that can happen to you in the air.

So learned United Airlines last week when it briefly announced plans to eliminate tomato juice – as well as Sprite Zero, Jim Beam and Courvoisier -- as a beverage-cart offer on domestic flights less than four hours long.

The airline called the cuts part of an effort at "streamlining." People on social media called it horrifying.

They ... freaked ... out.

"No Tomato Juice on a plane??????!!!!! What are you doing United Airlines???? Everyone knows tomato juice is so much better in the air!!!!" tweeted one upset flyer, referencing a 2015 study that found the umami taste of the juice enhanced when enjoyed amidst the roar of the plane.

"Tomato juice is my go-to drink on planes. Which is weird, since I never drink it when *not* on a plane. But I'll say this: you can have my mid-flight tomato juice when you pry it from my COLD DEAD HANDS," howled another.

"Seriously @united, you are ditching tomato juice on your flights??? I’ve always been a united guy and will book based on price, but if your price is equal to your competitor, the airline serving the tomato juice will get my business! #Mottsorbust," wrote a third, hashtag-referencing the brand of the tomato juice United planned to cut.

The airlines, which has had a few self-created public-relations disasters in the not too distant past, was wise enough to head off the outrage before it ascended to an even higher altitude. It promised to reinstate tomato juice to its rightful place on domestic-cart beverage carts.

"You say tomato. We say, we hear you. Tomato juice is here to stay. #letscallthewholethingoff," United cutely tweeted in response to the complaints.

The other to-be-cut drinks apparently did not inspire such a groundswell of outrage.

One Twitter user plaintively piped up, "So are you going to bring back Sprite Zero too?"

One week later, that query had generated only one like, no retweets, no replies and no official response from United. I’d make a joke about how don’t call it Sprite Zero for nothing, but at this point, that feels almost cruel.

Photo: iStock

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