NEW YORK -- Airlines have found a way to take the edge off the stress of flying and make a few extra bucks along the way: fancy new cocktails, craft beers and elegant wines.
The drinks advertised in the back of in-flight magazines -- or on sleek seatback touchscreens -- are starting to resemble those at the hottest nightclubs.
Other airlines create drinks to get travelers into the mindset of their destination. United sells a "Trader Vic's Mai Tai" for $9 on flights to and from Hawaii.
"It's simply a matter of finding a way to get people to spend money," says Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst with Hudson Crossing. "They see people spending $12, $14, $15 or more for fancy martinis, cosmopolitans or other beverages on the ground."
Flying isn't what it used to be. Long lines, ever-changing security rules and limited overhead bin space have all made traveling much more stressful. It's no wonder many passengers look for a little escape.
Airlines -- which themselves created much of this anxiety -- are happy to oblige.
"We wanted to do stuff to surprise people, be a little more different and have fun," says Megan Mosier Ireland, who helps design Delta's drink offerings.