It was a cost-cutting decision that sparked outrage from United Airlines' customers—the removal of tomato juice. While the airline insisted that passengers just weren’t ordering it to make economic sense to keep it on board, it wasn’t long before Internet forums and social media blew up with angry messages. “SMALLER SEATS and NOW NO TOMATOE JUICE,” one user wrote on Facebook. “Careful United, or attack of the killer tomatoe juice fans may be your new reality,” another joked.
We all know that person who skips out on a Coca-Cola and opts for the tomato juice, but little science explains exactly why passengers crave the salt-filled juice at 35,000 feet (here’s one article trying to explain it).
Linda Jojo, United Airline’s executive vice president for technology and chief digital officer told Skift that passengers just weren’t ordering it.
“We did a lot of analysis,” she said. “We have a lot of data. It’s a ridiculously small number of people that actually drink tomato juice on our flights. We count the cans going in, and we count the cans going out. We know the answer. However, apparently those tomato juice drinkers are extremely vocal and very good at social media.”
It only took a few weeks before United learned felt the attack of the killer tomato juice fans, and they reversed their decision.
The juice will be back on all flights beginning in July.
While United fliers may not be actively drinking the juice, Lufthansa once reported that passengers order it at a rate on par with beer.