An airline faced the wrath of passengers when it decided to remove tomato juice from the list of beverages available on its flights.

United Airlines, the world’s fourth biggest airline, announced it was “streamlining” its onboard menu for flights of less than four hours.

That included removing tomato juice from the list of drinks available on its trolleys, and replacing hot breakfasts with muffins and full lunches with wraps.

Tomato juice wasn’t the only drink targeted, as the cutback included Sprite Zero, Jim Beam and Courvoisier. But it was only the juice that caused a stir.

Within minutes of the announcement that it was cutting tomato juice from flights, Twitter erupted, as hundreds of passengers tweeted their dismay.

“Plain tomato juice is ALL that I drink on your flights! Please keep it in the cart,” begged one.

The outrage from customers forced the airline to reverse its decision, with United Airlines admitting in a tweet they had got it wrong. 

It tweeted: “You say tomato. We say, we hear you. Tomato juice is here to stay. #letscallthewholethingoff.”

The airline went one further by releasing a statement confirming their backtrack. “We want our customers to know that we value and appreciate them and that we’re listening.

“Our customers told us that they were not happy about the removal of tomato juice so we’re bringing it back onboard as part of our complimentary beverage offering.”

Hundreds of passengers protested when United Airlines removed tomato juice from its flights

Hundreds of passengers protested when United Airlines removed tomato juice from its flights

Tomato juice is one of very few things that tastes better at high altitude

Why is tomato juice so popular in the air?

Due to the law cabin pressure at high altitude, the taste of most food and drinks consumed on a plane is dulled.

However, tomato juice is one of very few things that tastes better at high altitude.

In 2013, The Fraunhofer Institute, a German research organisation, conducted a study to find out why.

Testers sat in an Airbus A310 and the experience of flying was recreated, complete with low cabin pressure and the noises of a flight.

United Airlines announced it had backtracked from its decision in a tweet

United Airlines announced it had backtracked from its decision in a tweet

“At normal pressure, people give tomato juice a much lower rating, typically describing it as musty,” a researcher explained.

But that changed during the flight simulation, with subjects deeming the flavour more fruity and favourable.

The reason is umami, the fifth taste, after salt, sweet, sour and bitter, which tomato juice has in abundance.

The savoury taste proves irresistible for our taste buds, especially at high altitudes when other tastes are diminished.

The Guardian notes that it has also been proven that exposure to loud noises, like that of a jet engine, dulls sweet flavours but intensifies the umami taste in tomato juice. 

Source of Travel News

SIGNUP AND GET ACCESS TO EXCLUSIVE TRAVEL OFFERS!