The question "May I get you something to drink?" can often spark a panicky fear in some people’s hearts. The decision to choose amongst a bevy of beverages is often too overwhelming. They’ll stammer a quick, "Uhhh…no thank you" before immediately regretting their answer. Once out of the decision spotlight, they’ll calmly reflect on how refreshing an icy cup of ginger ale would taste, and why they just didn’t think of it in time. Perhaps this case of indecisiveness doesn’t affect that many. But for the 0.05% of population that it does (myself included) there is an answer to our tentative prayers.
On Februray 1st, Southwest will unveil the new Inflight Menu. After months of planning, pruning, and practice, the laminated 6×12 menu will be debuting in the 137 seatback pockets of each and every red-bellied warrior (i.e. our Boeing 737 jet.)
Wondering what kinds of complimentary inflight beverages we offer? What spirits might you partake in? What snacks are offered on long-haul flights? Wonder no more, as all your answers may now be found on the menu. (Confession: the menu has always been in the back of our inflight magazine, Spirit, but it was sometimes hard to locate amongst the many witty articles and Sudoku games wedged in between.)
The idea for an inflight menu took many minds, and many months. Any time a new product is added to our aircraft, it must go through vigorous tests for approval. All in all, the marketing team met with Aircraft Appearance, Purchasing, aircraft cleaners, Inflight communication, and even the FAA.
Fun fact: our inflight magazine Spirit always has the same number of pages each month. Why? Planes are subject to strict weight standards, so each and every item on board (even a mere magazine page) must be accounted for. Luckily, the menu was light enough that it wasn’t a problem.
Besides the standard listing of complimentary beverages, a signature special drink will appear quarterly, which will feature a sponsored alcoholic beverage and mixer. For instance, this quarter will offer the ‘Cranapple Blast’ (a mix of Finlandia vodka and Cranapple juice.) The Spirited Selects section mentions the upcoming free drinks to commemorate special events or holidays happening in that specific quarter. Look for special Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s Day drinks on the house (provided you’re 21 and up, of course) when you fly on those holidays. The Southwest Scoop section of the menu will give you a hint of what to expect in the Southwest skies–new cities, new beverages, big events…anything’s possible.
Notice a pattern yet? All sections of the menu start with an "S." It’s no coincidence–six months of planning makes for one very streamlined menu.
The menu will be changing quarterly, so be sure to check it out each time you’re on a Southwest flight. And remember to have those credit cards ready–our Cabin has been Cashless since last Fall.