Will low-alcohol flying become a trend?
Does Virgin Atlantic's new "NoLo" menu mean less booze with your Boeing?
Virgin Atlantic has launched a new in-flight drink menu featuring a range of low-alcohol and no-alcohol drinks, horrendously branded as a "NoLo" option. Linguistic repulsiveness aside, you can choose the reduced-hangover options in all classes. The initial menu includes four options:
- Red Sky at Night (no alcohol): Seedlip Spice, Fever Tree Indian tonic, lemon slice
- Shepherd's delight (no alcohol): Seedlip Spice, Fever Tree ginger ale, lemon slice
- The Bold Mule (low alcohol): Regal Rogue Bold Red vermouth, Fever Tree ginger ale, lemon
- The Bold Spritz (low alcohol): Regal Rogue Bold Red vermouth, soda, lemon
Seedlip is a range of "distilled non-alcoholic spirits", in case you were wondering. Those all sound eminently quaffable, but is this the start of a movement?
Virgin Atlantic seems to think so. "There's a big focus across the airline industry on reducing the amount of alcohol consumed in flight, and we're delighted to be leading the way by offering our customers across all cabins a selection of zero and low alcohol alternatives," the airline's food and beverage manager Mark Murphy said.
Two thoughts on that. Firstly, it obviously isn't news that avoiding alcohol makes for a more comfortable flight. Dehydration is a big contributor to jetlag (along with heavy food, which is also being targeted by some airline menus), and excess alcohol consumption dehydrates you. So it's not uncommon to see passengers turning down a free glass of wine in favour of water on long-haul flights.
That said, access to a better quality tipple is one of the main attractions of business and first class flying, and it's also one of the key measures for working out whether it's worth paying for lounge access. In most cases, if you don't have an alcoholic drink or two, it will be cheaper to buy food at an airport restaurant than to pay to get into a lounge. Other factors (such as showers) might tip the balance, but what you can drink is definitely a major contributor.
On some airlines (especially those based in the Middle East), booze won't ever be an option in-flight. Royal Brunei, for instance, never serves alcohol, though it does allow customers to bring their own on board. You'll still be limited to 100ml because of liquid restrictions, so better to go for spirits than wine in that case, I'd suggest.
My own approach when flying long-haul is to enjoy a wine with my dinner when it's offered. I won't have more than one per meal, in large part because when I'm flying in economy I'm trying to avoid using the toilet. In business class, I'd definitely have a couple more. What's your approach?
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on finder.com.au.