Beer: the preferred respite from in-flight purgatory

Ah, the holidays: that season where you suddenly realize that half the people you love are a flight away and before you get to see them, you are obligated to spend quality time with strangers in the comfort of the dreaded middle seat.

There is one thing that could make such purgatory – including those smug people in the window and aisle seats – tolerable: craft beer. Luckily, the airlines have apprehended the cultural trend and now take full commercial advantage of it by offering lost souls something more comforting than a mere Budweiser.

On Delta you can ease your temporary suffering with brews from Boston Beer Company on all flights. But that’s not all! If you’re on the LA to SF shuttle, try some Lagunitas or Stone. Doing the NY-BOS-DC-ORD thing? Blue Point and Newburyport are your new best friends. A southerner at heart? Delta’s catering to you with a little SweetWater. Purgatory may not be so horrible after all.

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If your ride is on Southwest, their bid to become Denver’s favorite carrier will provide much-needed respite from Mr. Window. When a New Belgium Fat Tire Amber stands between you and loved ones, maybe another hour isn’t so bad.

But watch out Southwest! Frontier, also vying for Colorado’s affection, left its catering choices to Facebook fans. Thankfully, Frontier patrons have good taste and voted in Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale.


Headed to your sweetheart on United Airlines? Some (Anheuser-Busch-owned) Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale will make the time fly (yes, fly), even as Ms. Aisle continues her boring lecture on herself.

If you find yourself on JetBlue, it puts you above all with Boston Beer Company’s Sam Adams Lager and Brooklyn Brewery’s Brooklyn Lager.  Even as you battle for that right armrest, your soul will feel the humanity returning to air travel.

Virgin America Airlines once had the good fortune to have as a passenger 21st Amendment’s co-founder Shaun O’Sullivan. Apparently his soul was so desperately craving craft that he tweeted an in-flight offer to carry his beer. You can join his soul on Virgin flights by indulging in some Brew Free! Or Die IPA.


For those masochists who contemplate much longer flights, score a Hawaiian Airlines flight if headed west for a Maui Brewing Bikini Blonde, or if headed east, hook up with the Scandinavians for Mikkeller’s SAS Wheat. Purgatory who?

While some airlines have been offering captive souls craft beer for a few years, this is the first holiday season that so many of the airline giants are capitalizing on passengers’ respite of choice. Taking advantage of these new offerings just might make your loved ones seem closer, or perhaps even make Aisle closer to a loved one.