| Italy

illycaffè lifts US reach with new in-flight United Airlines RTD offer

The premium Italian coffee roaster has expanded its partnership with the US airline to offer ready-to-drink cold brew on most domestic and international flights over 300 miles

United is the only major US airline serving premium cold brew coffee on most flights, according to illycaffè | Photo credit: illycaffè


illycaffè has expanded its in-flight hot coffee partnership with United Airlines with a new ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee launch. 

The Italian coffee roaster’s RTD Cold Brew is now available on most United flights over 300 miles. The canned beverage is complimentary in United Airline’s premium cabins and available for purchase in economy.  

The move makes Illinois-based United the only major US airline currently serving premium cold brew coffee on most flights, illycaffè said in a press release. 

“As more people than ever take to the skies this summer, we are thrilled to offer fliers a new premium drink, and we’re proud to be the only major US airline currently serving cold brew onboard most flights,” said Aaron McMillan, Managing Director, Hospitality Programs, United Airlines.  

United Airlines first announced a global coffee partnership with illycaffè in November 2015 and began serving illy premium dark roast in its United Club lounges the following month. In June 2016, United Airlines introduced illycaffè to its onboard menu and, following the move, said it expected to serve 72 million cups of coffee in-flight every year. 

“We are excited to build upon our successful partnership with United Airlines to offer our premium RTD Cold Brew to their passengers. This collaboration allows us to share the illy experience with a wider audience and provide a delightful refreshment option for travellers,” said Jack Edwards, President, illy North America. 

Trieste-based illycaffè achieved 6% year-on-year sales growth to reach €595.1m ($645.8m) in the 12 months ending 31 December 2023, with revenues in its second largest market, the US, rising 15% to €108.3m ($117.4m). 

United Airlines currently offers flights to 238 US and 118 international airports and served a record 165 million passengers in 2023. 

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