Why do we drink tomato juice on a plane?

Posted on July 17, 2010


Tomato juiceI took my first long distance flight when I was about 8 years old. I remember very well that we must have gone 4 or 5 times to see the stewardess to get one more can of tomato juice.

This is the funniest and most bizarre thing. I don’ think there is any valid and definite answer but it is a fact; we all have (and still!) drank tomato juice during flights.
We NEVER order a tomato juice in a restaurant and only occasionally buy some for home because we know there will always be that girl in the group that doesn’t feel like drinking alcohol. So why does it feel so natural in a plane?

Try Googling the question and you will laugh at the number of blogs and forums raising the question. There are even dedicate sites trying to figure out an answer!
You will find as many theories on the question as there is about Area 51. From the most basic one to the most scientific one. Can you believe that Lufthansa has even commissioned research on the matter? I personally could not figure out an answer. I’m the typical case that does order tomato juice on a plane but never on the ground. Or is it just a Bloody Mary fantasy?

Now – whatever the crazy explanation is – I am surprised that no airline or even V8 have tried to piggybank on that unconscious desire for marketing or branding purposes. Great opportunity for a social media campaign…

All does lead to another interesting question:

Are we unconsciously changing our consumer behaviour when travelling?

Do we have different tone of voice? Are we on a different diet? Higher libido? Are we acting differently when staying in a budget hotel or luxury 5-star hotel?

Please feel free to share your opinion, your in-flight tomato juice experiences or other specific habits you have when travelling. Don’t be embarrassed, we’ve all been there.

Fabrice Burtin – July 2010

Posted in: Branding, Travel