The other day we wrote about a friend of ours and his experience with K-Cups through airport security. Well, that little episode reminded us of a recent trip we had on an international flight and the coffee that was served on board.
We were fortunate enough to have been treated to one of those rare upgrades in a flight from the far-East. As part of the service on board the crew served coffee made from an on-board Nespresso machine; you know the one with their small capsules and the George Clone ads on TV. It was a nice change from the normal state of coffee served on flights and on thinking about it, why isn’t this something firms like Keurig haven’t been into earlier. In chatting with the crew on the flight the machine they were using had only be on the fleet for the past year or so.
In the competitive world of international long haul, airlines go to great lengths to differentiate themselves from their competitors with little things making a difference in the more expensive classes. Often prices are very similar, and certainly the aircraft are, so those small extras can help sway the traveling public.
So as Keurig attempts to re-establish itself in the just as competitive market of single serve coffee machines, and in particular those employing the pod and capsule technology, perhaps the world of passenger travel could provide the company with another avenue to reach the market.
Airlines know that when it comes to flying thousands of miles, their paying guests don’t have much to do other than enjoy the inflight entertainment, eat, drink and sleep: it’s a relatively captive market for those many hours. And so people have time to be less distracted by the normal things in life and concentrate on what is in front of them; one of these things being the coffee they are drinking.
Although we have not tested this we wonder whether the Keurig type pods would be a great delivery mechanism for good tasting coffee for airlines as the coffee, and teas, hot chocolates, etc would be less affected at altitude as they are coming from a sealed unit. For example, a flight at 33,000 ft maintains a cabin altitude of around 5,000 ft. This must have an impact on the flavor kept by the coffee and in particular the brewing process. We know from experience, having lived at altitude in different parts of the world, that the density of air makes a big difference in the brewing time and quality.
True, having a great coffee on board isn’t probably going to change someone’s opinion about an airline and whether to travel with them again next time. But when all those little extras add up, perhaps they can. And for Keurig, accessing another part of a growing traveling market may provide a means of making people feel a bit more at home with something familiar or introduce a new customer to its K-Cup Range.