For many passengers, tomato juice is simply part of a good flight when cruising above the clouds. Austrian Airlines wanted to know for sure and asked its passengers for their opinion within the context of an online survey. The outcome was very close. 51 percent of Austrian Airlines passengers clearly voted in favor of enjoying tomato juice at lofty heights.
One third of the people interviewed even said that tomato juice with salt and pepper was simply part of a proper flight. By the way, this vegetable drink is particularly popular with passengers over the age of 60.
7,500 passengers were surveyed. For the record, 180,000 liters of tomato juice are drunk on board flights operated by the Austrian carrier each year.
So why is this healthy drink option so popular on board airplanes?
The Fraunhofer Society has carried out some research about this question. Their scientists found out we enjoy it so much during a flight because our taste and smell receptors are less sensitive at altitude. According to this theory, people enjoy the freshness of the juice without the earthy, mulchy taste.
Apparently, psychological factors are playing in as well. Choosing a drink on a flight is an unusual situation: you have to decide when the trolley comes to you whether you’re thirsty or not. If the beverage is for free (on some airlines it still is…) you might want to extract as much value as possible. Tomato juice hits an odd sweet spot: it’s the only drink on the trolly that feels healthy, extravagant and unusual – plus you’ve seen so many other people order it. It becomes a tradition, the same way you eat popcorn at the cinema or hotdogs in Swedish furniture stores.
After all, if you’re just a little hungry but want to avoid the expensive food option available on board – Tomato juice has lots of fibre and high water content. It will make you feel full even when you’re not.
Should we just call it a cold soup then? In that sense, you could even call it a free meal!
Photo Credit: Austrian Airlines