Latest Casualty in Airline Economics: Limes

According to reports, some airlines are dropping limes from the menu – well, as a garnish for drinks, anyway. The culprit is cost, but it’s hardly the first casualty of airline economics.

Loss of Limes

According to the Associated Press, the price of limes is “skyrocketing” prompting some airlines to do without at least for now. See which airline might put a slice of lemon in your next gin and tonic or Diet Coke.

  • Alaska: A spokesperson told the AP that limes have been “temporarily pulled.”
  • American:  No changes.
  • Delta: No changes.
  • Southwest: FareCompare contacted a Southwest spokesman just as he was boarding his flight (and yes, ordering a drink). He reported back to us that, “While we are keeping a close eye on the price of limes, we have no plans to make changes as of now.”
  • United: AP quotes a spokesperson as saying limes are becoming “more difficult to source” and sometimes make do with lemons.

Airline timeline – from fees to food

What Else Has Been Dropped

In recent years, airlines have dropped all kinds of things to save money.

  • Free meals in coach: The last one coach passengers saw on continental U.S. routes was back in 2010 aboard Continental.
  • Free bags: Among major carriers, American instituted the now common fee for checked-bags. Only JetBlue and Southwest still offer freebies.
  • Weighty matters: Excess pounds equal more fuel consumption so in recent years airlines have jettisoned such things as those hefty pilot manuals in favor of iPads and heavy-duty drink carts in favor of more streamlined models. It all adds up.

The Great Olive Caper

A story has floated around for years about Robert Crandall, the legendary head American Airlines during most of the 80′s and 90′s – who supposedly removed a single olive from each dinner salad to save $40,000 a year. Not long ago, FareCompare contacted Crandall to find out about this crazy rumor. “It’s true,” said Crandall proudly.

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Published: April 9, 2014