Airlines save a penny a passenger by squeezing out limes

LimesOn Wednesday I fly on American Airlines from Boston to San Francisco. I’m going to order my usual: club soda, no ice, with a lime wedge. It's my thing. A little pleasure while in the air.

I hope I get the lime. But I may not. [UPDATE – American Airlines did serve me a lime today. Two wedges in fact.]

It seems some airlines including Alaska Airlines and United Airlines are choosing not to include a lime with drinks because of a price increase.

How much you ask?

I calculate the lime wedge in my drink went from two cents to three cents. That added single penny means some airline bean counters are saying no to tartness.

This is a silly response to a price increase. Businesses need to think of customers first and saving pennies second.

Mexico’s limes

After heavy rains, tree disease, and cartel violence sent prices of Mexico’s limes from $14 a case to $100, some businesses including restaurants, bars, and airlines have chosen to forgo the fruit.

This morning I read an Associated Press report: A spike in lime prices has led some airlines to eliminate the fruit from their drink service. The AP story quoted Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Halley Knigge who said the airline normally goes through about 900 limes a day.

The average advertised price of a lime in U.S. supermarkets was 56 cents last week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture via AP. That's up from 37 cents the week ending March 28 and 31 cents a year ago.

Fifty-six cents a lime in a supermarket means what, thirty cents wholesale? How many drink wedges are in one lime? Maybe ten? We’re talking an increase of a penny per drink!

Who do you work for?

Are you running your business on a penny saved per person?

Or are you running your business by keeping your customers happy?

Photo: Limes in a grocery store, Austin, Texas USA December 16, 2006 by Steve Hopson via Wikimedia Commons.

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