Oktoberfest in the sky: Top 8 beer-loving airlines around the world

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Fall is around the corner, and it’s a notoriously great time of year for beer. Oktoberfest began as an autumn beer-drinking and merrymaking festival in Germany, but countries around the world have picked up the tradition and adopted it as their own. Turns out Germans aren’t the only ones who like a nice cold one.

The love of a good beer, of course, holds just as true above the clouds as on the ground. So, as travel experts (and beer lovers) we took an in-depth look at the best in-flight beer offerings. Whether you’re traveling to Germany with the six million other Oktoberfest-goers, or you’re going to visit Grandma – you won’t miss a second (or sip) of the best beers out there.  And, let’s be honest, beer makes the ride a little less bumpy…

Southwest Airlines

Valtech Sweden, Färdigjobbat! via Flickr CC BY 2.0
Valtech Sweden, Färdigjobbat! via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Southwest Airlines is dedicated to making sure you have a blast during your flight, and its beer selections fall nothing short of your expectations. Southwest was one of the pioneers in bringing specialty beer on board their crafts, and it sticks to its reputation of being affordable with reasonable pricing of roughly $5 per can.

Inflight Offerings:
New Belgium Fat Tire, known for a perfectly balanced flavor.
Leinenkugel’s Seasonal. If you time it right, maybe they’ll have the “Oktoberfest” seasonal available.
Dos Equis Lager Especial, a classic pale malt designed for drinkability.

United Airlines

Christer Edvartsen, Goose Island Indian Pale Ale  via Flickr CC BY 2.0
Christer Edvartsen, Goose Island Indian Pale Ale via Flickr CC BY 2.0

United Airlines started offering specialty beers on flights back in 2010, and it is still going strong five years later. Make sure you ask your flight attendant if your beer is on the house the next time you take a long-haul flight. Beers are complimentary on some longer flights as of April of this year.

Inflight Offerings:
Goose Island IPA, a hop lover’s heaven.

Hawaiian Airlines

Amber DeGrace, Maui Brewing Company Coconut Porter  via Flickr CC BY 2.0
Amber DeGrace, Maui Brewing Company Coconut Porter via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Everything about Hawaiian Airlines, from the flight attendants outfits to the pineapple snacks, looks and feels authentically Hawaiian. Fittingly, they’ve also brought one of the largest local breweries to the sky. As they say in Hawaii, Hipahipa (Cheers)!

Inflight Offerings:
Maui Brewing Company’s Biking Blonde Lager, a light 100% malt beer that’ll make you feel like you’re on a beach.

Lufthansa Airlines

Roger W, Bitburger via Flickr CC BY 2.0
Roger W, Bitburger via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Lufthansa is one of the oldest operating airlines in the world and the largest in all of Europe. This German-based company brings a taste of traditional Oktoberfest to your flight. You can expect multiple options from one of the largest macro breweries in Germany.

Inflight Offerings:
A lineup of premium beers from Warsteiner Brewery

easyJet

ayustety, Old Speckled Hen  via Flickr CC BY 2.0
ayustety, Old Speckled Hen via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

An English airline serving traditionally English beer is exactly what you’ll get from easyJet. This low-cost airline lets you travel cheaply, but drink like royalty.

Inflight Offerings:
Old Speckled Hen, a traditional English pale ale known for drinkability.

Frontier Airlines

Bernt Rostad, Oskar Blues Dales Pale Ale  via Flickr CC BY 2.0
Bernt Rostad, Oskar Blues Dales Pale Ale via Flickr CC BY 2.0

This Colorado-based airline made it a priority to include a Denver beer on its menu. This move makes sense considering how much great beer comes from the Rocky Mountains in the U.S. Frontier has been flying with craft brew for more than 10 years now with no signs of stopping.

Inflight Offerings:
Oskar Blues Brewery’s Dale’s Pale Ale, another one for hop lovers made with the mountain springs of Colorado.

Air New Zealand

Poster Boy, Punch in the Turn Bowl via Flickr CC BY 2.0
Poster Boy, Punch in the Turn Bowl via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Air New Zealand has an award-winning meal and beverage service, and we think that might have to do with its long list of craft brews on board. Kick back and fly with some of the finest beverages available.

Inflight Offerings:
Macs’s Craft Beers, a macro brewery from New Zealand that brings big flavors. Try the smooth and refreshing Gold All Malt Lager.
Stella Artois, filled with yeast and Saaz hops that make for a crisp finish every time.

Delta

Oktoberfest in the sky: Top beer offerings on airlines around the world 16
Alejandro De La Cruz, Lagunitas via Flickr CC BY 2.0

One of the largest airlines in the world added seven new craft beers to its menu last December. While the new options are only available on some of their flights, if you’re lucky, you’ll have a selection of local beers to choose from. However, the delicious and reliable Samuel Adams can be found on any and all domestic U.S. Delta flights.

Inflight Offerings:
Lagunitas Brewing Company, known for bold flavor and labels.
Ballast Point, home brewers who changed the game with their wild and tasty beverages.
Brooklyn Brewery, mixing traditional brewing methods with not so traditional ingredients makes these guys unique.
Stone Brewing Co., voted “All-Time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” twice by “BeerAdvocate Magazine.”
Samuel Adams, always reliable for good beer every time.
Sweetwater 420, a West Coast style extra pale ale with lots of hops.

Featured image: Thomas Sauzeddee, Oktoberfest_2010-46, via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Oktoberfest in the sky: Top 8 beer-loving airlines around the world was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Brooke Parker
Author: Brooke Parker (8 posts)

Brooke is a Boston-based writer and member of the Cheapflights newsletter content team. She has studied the food and wines of Italy, surfed the waves off Costa Rica and hiked the trails of Yosemite National Park.