This US Airline Is Finally Adding Tasty Cold Brew To Its Drink Lineup

As of July 1, 2024, those flying with United Airlines have the opportunity to order cold brew coffees from illy during their trip. If you hope for a cold, refreshing drink with a caffeine boost and want to avoid carbonated beverages so you don't get an upset stomach during your flight, you're in luck. United passengers can now order these pre-prepared canned coffees on flights over 300 miles (nearly all of United's routes).


Aaron McMillan, Managing Director, Hospitality Programs at United Airlines, provided insight on the new offering in a press release: "As more people than ever take to the skies this summer, we are thrilled to offer fliers a new premium drink, and we're proud to be the only major U.S. airline currently serving cold brew onboard most flights. We know fliers enjoy a pick-me-up during travel, and illy's canned cold brew is the perfect beverage option for coffee lovers looking to stay energized and focused during their trip."

How much will an illy cold brew coffee cost on United flights?

While airplane food jokes persist, airlines consistently up their games and compete to have the best in-flight dining experiences available to attract new customers, including offering premium products for sale during the flight. In a press release, Jack Edwards, the president of illy North America, expressed: "We are excited to build upon our successful partnership with United Airlines to offer our premium RTD Cold Brew to their passengers. This collaboration allows us to share the illy experience with a wider audience and provide a delightful refreshment option for travelers."


However, unlike other common United beverage choices, such as apple juices and little cups of soda, you will likely have to pay extra for these coffees. If you happen to fly in a premium cabin, you'll get these canned delights for free; if you choose a seat in economy, you'll have to pay $6 each. Although their widespread release didn't start until July 2024, a select few overnight flights between California and New Jersey featured illy cold brew at the end of June.

Can you get cold brew on flights with any other airlines?

United Airlines became the only major airline in the United States serving ready-to-drink cold brew on the majority of its flights when the illy cans rolled out, but it's not the first to offer passengers the option of a cold coffee in the air. While some would argue that you should never order ice in your drink on a plane, passengers crave cold coffees, and airlines know it. For example, Southwest Airlines announced in 2023 that it would offer Community Coffee's Espresso + Cream iced coffee for $4 on select flights.


Similarly, if you fly with Delta rather than United, you might be able to get your hands on an Explorer Cold Brew, a fair trade single-origin cold brew concentrate that you mix with ice and water. Passengers in first class and other premium cabins can snag it at no extra charge. However, like United's illy cans, it will cost those seated in economy a few additional dollars. Unlike United, which features cold brew on most flights, Delta only offers Explorer coffee on certain routes. So far, it seems like United Airlines plans to keep its cold brew available for passengers to purchase for the foreseeable future.