No Pepsi. Coke. The cola conflict for the favor of the fifth largest U.S. airline is over, and Coke emerged victorious, Tempe-based US Airways said Thursday.
The September merger of America West Airlines and US Airways left lots of weighty issues to sort out, including integration of staff, benefit plans, flight schedules and balance sheets. For many passengers, the most personally significant issue was whether they would have to weather four- or five-hour flights without their favorite thirst quencher. America West served Pepsi. US Airways offered passengers Coke.
While the full integration of the airlines, including the repainting of American Westbranded planes, won’t be completed for another year or so, the cola conversion will be one of the first achievements, said Valerie Wunder, US Airways spokeswoman.
Within 60 days, all US Airways flights will clear out their stock of Pepsi products and restock with Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Dannon water, Minute Maid juices and Seagram’s tonics and mixers. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but Wunder said it wasn’t all about price. “Customer choice is one factor that drove the decision,” she said. “(Passengers) obviously preferred Coke.”
The drink debate
THE ISSUE: America West served Pepsi. US Airways offered passengers Coke. The newly merged US Airways had to make a choice.
THE CHOICE: Coke
THE NUMBERS: US Airways estimates that its customers will consume 39.5 million cans and bottles of Coca-Cola products this year. That’s 3.3 million a month, or about 108,000 a day.