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Brussels Airlines Is Making Flying More Bearable with Belgian Beer

March 01, 2019

By Diana Hubbell, March 01, 2019

From the passive-aggressive battles for tiny armrest domination to the trays of food that look like leftovers salvaged from the Fyre Festival, long-haul flights tend to be grim. You can pound Valium, you can binge-watch shitty rom-coms, but not much can save you from the sheer tedium of cruising along at 30,000 feet.

Thank god there’s beer. These days, the selection often goes above and beyond cheap cans of watery, mass-produced lagers. Yesterday, Brussels Airlines became the latest airline to up its game with an announcement that its newly refurbished A330s will feature a Belgian beer bar.

On selected flights launching in April, Business Class passengers will be able to stretch their legs and mingle over eight different Belgian beers, after dining on a four-course meal designed by Belgian chef Thierry Theys of the Michelin-starred restaurant Nuance. Although the airline has not announced which beers will be in the fridge, a closer inspection of the 3-D renderings suggests Hoegaarden’s Forbidden Fruit, 888 Tripel Eight, and the classic Leffe. Even the plebes back in Economy will enjoy complimentary beers throughout the flight, albeit minus a little ambiance.

“We want to be the most personal airline, give a personal service to every guest and offer everyone the warm hospitality Belgium is known for,” said Christina Foerster, CEO of Brussels Airlines, in a public statement.

Brussels Airlines isn’t the only airline to realize that better beer equals happier passengers. Fliers on Virgin America can order from a selection from 21st Amendment Brewery. Delta, meanwhile, offers beers from Sweetwater on select routes and JetBlue serves options from Harpoon and Brooklyn Brewery.

What’s the point of spending $10 million per plane on an upgrade if you can’t get a decent beer?”

A few companies have taken matters further still with attention-grabbing PR stunts. BrewDog designed a potently flavored beer designed to compensate for the loss of taste and smell that naturally occurs at high altitudes, then served unlimited quantities of it last month on a Boeing 767 branded BrewDog Airlines. Meanwhile, in honor of Oktoberfest last year, Lufthansa crews on select flights from Munich ditched their uniforms for traditional Bavarian lederhosen and dirndls. The crews even hauled special pressurized kegs onboard to keep the draft beer flowing at cruising altitude.

We can only hope that more carriers follow suit. Designer flight attendant uniforms by Christian Lacroix and cabins by Mercedes-Benz are all well and good, but it’s time to give the people what they really want. After all, what’s the point of spending $10 million per plane on an upgrade if you can’t get a decent beer?

ZX Ventures, a division within AB InBev, is an investor in October
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