Airlines have restored in-flight service at different paces, but with the exception of JetBlue, one thing is consistent: drinks are served in disposable plastic or paper. I’ve had enough and started bringing my own cups and glasses from home.
Why I Bring My Own Cups And Glasses When I Fly
Coffee is not meant to be consumed in a paper cup. Wine is not meant to be sipped in a plastic glass. Yet since the pandemic began over a year ago, major airlines in the United States have eliminated glassware and ceramic cups altogether, citing safety concerns.
But we have multiple studies suggesting the virus is not spread via surfaces. Furthermore, whether it be glass or plastic, flight attendants still have to collect it, so I don’t really see what the safety concern is. I do see the cost concern of having to stock and wash reusable glassware and ceramic coffee cups, though.
Since airlines, other than JetBlue which restored its full onboard service last autumn, seem to be in no rush to bring back real cups and glasses, I’ve started bringing my own.
This is my new travel coffee cup:
And my new travel drinking glass:
You should have seen the flight attendant reaction on a recent flight…
FA: “Where did you get that?”
Me: “I brought it from home.”
FA: “Oh, you go girl. Love it.”
He proceeded to summon his colleagues so they could all take a look and then offer a collective apology for the plastic cups, as if it was their choice.
Water is bad enough from a plastic cup, but wine? Are you kidding me? No chance. Those days are over.
So until airlines start restoring glasses, I have no choice but to bring my own.
This is hardly an issue unique to airlines, sadly. Many of my favorite coffee shops continue to insist on throw-away cups instead of using ceramic. Hopefully this will change soon too.
You go girl! I love it too.
The thing is: how can you carry those in your bag and not to break them!
Careful not to set a precedent… I can easily see UA removing all cups and other beverage containers completely and stating “due to customer demand/feedback, we’ve eliminated all beverage containers on all flights and have transitioned to a “BYOG” model – Bring Your Own Glassware.” I think COVID has taught us that the US3 aren’t too low to stoop to this.
YES! I’m not the only one. I use a silicone-wrapped porcelain mug and wine glass from W&P that have done a great job for the past year. I originally got them for the lounges. They now make my life complete.
“You go glen Coco!”
I did this with a champagne flute and wine glass in AA Flagship First, MIA-GRU R/T this week. The F/As had very similar responses to yours, one even taking a photo to share. Embarrassing that glassware isn’t even provided at supposedly the highest service level.
I just flew Qatar business class for the first time (how I will ever fly anything else again is beyond me), and from the Qsuite on the flight to Doha to the regular old A320 that didn’t even have wifi on the DOH-CAI, the only cups they had were glass. That included pre-flight drinks of choice, and even Arabic coffee and dates before the flight to CAI–in real cups, of course. The only sign of a pandemic were the masks, but one of the FAs told me even though they are technically supposed to enforce them during the Biden Admin’s looooooooong mandate, they don’t care that much in Qsuites because, really, the door is closed anyway. I felt like a normal person (vaccinated) and cruising along in a 5-star restaurant or something.
I have status with AA and will be flying First on my last segment home–on a 175 from ORD. I am going to feel like I am in a 15 year old beat up Mini. (And I LIKE AA).
A Stroopwafel! Was that a United flight?
P.S. Where did you get the coffee mug? It looks pretty swank.
In addition to your coffee mug and drinking glass, you should sport a dinner jacket when they serve food. Show ’em how it’s really supposed to be done. 😉
That coffee mug is from Seattle Coffee Gear:
Excellent. I’ll do it on next trip DCA-DSM Which airline should I use? 😉
I’d go through MSP on Delta! Old Fashioned in a can!
Lufthansa was serving drinks in proper glasses in short-haul business class last month. The response to my request for a Diet Coke after sitting on the tarmac at FRA for 20 minutes was so concise and laconic- I was told “later”. Once we were in the air, my seatmate asker for a gin and tonic and got a chuckle and a dounle-take in response (presumably due to being a youngish Chinese female. All in a day’s work for Europe’s five-star airline.
Great idea. I’d do this if I knew I wouldn’t get a weird look
I think by this time you’ll get lots of looks of approval.
Was your FA an gay African American? Sure sounds like it.
LOL, Matthew! I totally get it. I keep my own coffee mug at my favorite cafe because they serve coffee in tea cups. (Horror!) A girl has to have standards, amirite?
Are you a white bigoted redneck? Sure sounds like it.
You did it, the hands down post of the year. You can never top this, Matthew, and I am going to bet this starts a trend. How about selling special mugs and wine glasses with the Live and Let Fly logo. Where there is chaos there is opportunity!
Second @Stuart’s idea, was going to suggest something similar.
You can launch a flyer’s group called Klint’s Koffee Klub (a much more benign KKK) or LALF at Ourselves or something like that.
“Coffee is not meant to be consumed in a paper cup. Wine is not meant to be sipped in a plastic glass.” First, that dirty water served by US airlines is not considered coffee. Whatever wine served by US airlines is not something worth drinking. Thus, I don’t need to bring my own glasses.
I don’t know, I find the illy coffee and Syrah wine on United just fine.
That’s a great idea! My Swiss friend gifted me her excess dishware and I have, get this, antique Eastern Airlines glasses. Now THAT would be cool to drink with.
But I’m probably going to bring my Polish tea cup that’s a glass that is encased in a removable metal holder.
I have reservations about this; I’m not convinced by your suggestion that studies show virus is not spread via surfaces…in fact, I’ve seen reports of COVID remaining viable, ie transmissible, for many hours on a whole range of materials, including glass. While I’m sure your glasses and cups are scrupulously clean, I wouldn’t have the same level of confidence in many of the filthy animals in J or F, so I wouldn’t like it to become commonplace ( I’ve long held the same view about customers taking their own cups to coffee shops: it’s a recipe for the transmission of bugs…)
I think we are in agreement that airlines need to return their own cups and glasses and ensure they are properly sanitized! 😉
I hear your pain
Years ago before free breakfast was a thing I knew a road warrior (true on the road driving from motel to motel guy) that brought his own toaster, a loaf of bread, and a cooler with butter in it so he could eat breakfast in the morning in the motel rooms. You could add that and really be set.
is it worth it taking into account that most airlines that serves in plastic cups right now offers mediocre beverage? I mean, you are taking the risk of all of that breaking into your luggage (and adding weight and occupying space).
I don’t mind the risk. I don’t take expensive glasses/cups so if they break, no big deal.
I’m right there with, Matthew, as you know. I first started bringing my stemless glasses on an SFO-FRA and have used them on -JFK and -HNL, all of which have a big reaction from the crew.
As for the the question on breakage, I’m not taking Riedels with me … a stemless Libbey wineglass I picked up is as tough as nails and close to unbreakable as you can get. The only problem is that Libbey makes all of UA’s glassware so it looks pilfered 😉
UA are trying to sell their catering unit. Wonder how much is involved here in that to goose the numbers. As for the the other carriers – it’s a follower model as we know.
Ok Karen, And the point of this article is?
While the wine and spirits sit for months or longer inside plastic single serve bottles before being served onboard I won’t be protesting quite this much.
@Stuart Put me down for a whole set. LALF coffee mug and wine glass. Brilliant idea.
Going to do this on my next flight. Make it all the more special after haven’t flown for a year.
I bring a stemless wine glass for wine/cold beverages and a coffee mug with a lid for coffee or turbulence. A few months ago, EWR-LAX with Polaris seats, the flight attendant noticed my wine glass. I told her I was pretending it was pre-covid and I was on a flight to Australia for vacation. She laughed and then brought me a pair of Polaris Pajamas that were mistakenly boarded on the plane.
@Matthew: Illy coffee is great but not with the water used on a plane. Also, I doubt that the coffee served by US airlines on coach is Illy. It is probably Folgers which is horrible. As for the Syrah, I don’t fly United so can’t comment on what they serve but it is probably something you can buy at any liquor store for less than $20 so nothing worth of a glass wine to drink it.
LOL .. Oh, you go girl.
NO MORE PLASTICS!
Mathew and @Stuart – it’s a great idea!!
you’ll have no shortage of customers lol.
Emirates, I hope you and your ilk who serve caviar with a metal spoon are taking notice. We have standards dammit!
Do you have the FAs pour the wine/coffee directly into your personal cup? Or do you let them hand you the disposable cup filled with wine/coffee, then pour it into your own cup?
Only asking because I’m all for reducing plastic waste, but if you’re just transferring the liquid from one cup to another, it doesn’t actually address the waste problem.
For sanitary reasons, I expected to have to transfer it myself, but they pour the coffee and wine directly in. I’m glad of that. Soft drinks, of course, are served sealed.
Love this article
Its definitely a fwp but flying first is supposed to be a luxurious experience. Drinking even very decent wines (which united has) out of a fluorescent blue plastic cup just does not do it for me