Cool: Alaska Airlines Switches To Boxed Water

Cool: Alaska Airlines Switches To Boxed Water

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Alaska Airlines is making a minor change that will save a lot of plastic…

Alaska Airlines eliminates plastic water bottles

As of Thursday, November 4, 2021, Alaska Airlines will be making changes to its inflight water service. The airline will eliminate plastic water bottles, and will instead offer boxed water. Specifically, Alaska Airlines is partnering up with the “Boxed Water Is Better” brand. This water is in a 92% plant-based, fully recyclable, box-shaped carton, and is sealed with a plant-based cap.

On top of the switch from bottled water to boxed water, Alaska will also replace plastic cups with recyclable paper cups for those drinking water.

In early 2021, Alaska Airlines trialed boxed water in first class and Horizon Air-operated flights. The trial was successful, and in surveys passengers and employees stated that they preferred boxed water at a rate of two-to-one. That’s why this is now being expanded even further.

Alaska Airlines will start serving boxed water

What’s the impact of switching to boxed water?

Alaska Airlines claims that this change to inflight service will save an estimated 1.8 million pounds of single-use plastics per year. That’s the equivalent of the weight of 18 Boeing 737s. It’s stated that inflight water service is the single most significant contributor to onboard plastic waste, and that this change will remove 22 million plastic cups and 32 million plastic bottles per year from Alaska flights.

In early 2021, Alaska Airlines pledged to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040, and to be the most fuel-efficient airline in the United States by 2025.

Here’s how Alaska Airlines’ VP of Public Affairs and Sustainability, Diana Birkett Rakow, describes this change:

“As a West Coast-based airline, we fly to some of the most beautiful places on earth. Protecting these habitats is critical for our collective future, and reducing plastic waste is a key step. We’re proud to partner with Boxed Water on our most impactful plastic-reduction initiative yet, on a continued journey to minimize inflight waste.”

Bottom line

Alaska Airlines will shortly start serving boxed water with paper cups, in the process eliminating plastic water bottles and plastic water cups. This move is expected to remove 32 million plastic bottles and 22 million plastic cups from Alaska flights per year. This seems like an awesome development, so kudos to Alaska for rolling out this change. Here’s to hoping we see similar initiatives from other airlines.

What do you make of Alaska Airlines’ switch to boxed water?

Conversations (36)
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  1. Ira Pollack Guest

    Had this on a recent Alaska flight. My wife and I agreed that the water from the box had a funny taste - kind of cardboardy. Sort of like what you get when you drink through one of those paper straws. Not impressed.

  2. Julian Hayward Guest

    Shame That you need a cup to drink from this container!

    It looks like waxed paper to me which I believe is not recyclable?

  3. iamhere Guest

    This is another useless article. As others mentioned it may or may not have encironemntal benefits, but more importantly it will not be the reason why people may or may not choose Alaska. It doesn't affect anyone's points/miles/travel.

  4. Patrick Taw Guest

    Why don't they just use big cups and a giant steel jug of water? At home, I drink from a cup without problems.

  5. Marshalg New Member

    I hate the new boxed water on Alaska. It tastes like wax. YUCK.
    Marshall

  6. Donna Diamond

    I had a box of water either on my AA flight from Rome last week or perhaps it was in the Admirals Club, but in any event, the water tasted “off,” not sure if it was a waxy taste but I decided to pass on it.

  7. seat21d Guest

    I’ve always found the taste of the boxed water in AA clubs to be a bit off and contaminated by something with the box.

  8. Eskimo Guest

    Liberal thinking?
    Maybe politicians should start a new war against "Critical Green Theory".

    Just like when we burn more fossil fuel to generate electricity to power Tesla cars and mine cryptocurrencies.

  9. Martin Guest

    Boxed water is not better at all.
    It's highly processed purified water aka tap water in a box. It's not sustainable sourced at all. It's Reverse osmosis water what is extremely wasteful. You need up to 20 Gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of RO water.
    Additional the boxed package is very hard to recycle, because its not just made of the box, there are several liners in the box to prevent...

    Boxed water is not better at all.
    It's highly processed purified water aka tap water in a box. It's not sustainable sourced at all. It's Reverse osmosis water what is extremely wasteful. You need up to 20 Gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of RO water.
    Additional the boxed package is very hard to recycle, because its not just made of the box, there are several liners in the box to prevent the water from going through the box.
    Sorry Alaskan Airlines, you went the wrong way.

  10. Ginger Guest

    This is the worst chemical tasting water ever. We have had it on 2 flights and couldn't even choke down the entire carton. The aftertaste is very nasty. Note to readers: take your own reusable water container on board Alaska flights and fill up at a water fountain prior to boarding. You will be glad you did!

  11. Max Guest

    Real Gs only drink sparkling water from glass/copper/stainless steel bottles. Not from unhealthy coated paper, plastic or aluminium bottles.

    #avoidSoyIfication #SayNoToMicroplastics #NoEstrogensInMyWater

  12. Quinten Guest

    And what keeps water from leaking through the box? Yes, plastic. Plastic bottles are easy to recycle. Plastic in paper boxes is not. #greenwashing

  13. Transportguru One Guest

    It tastes funny. Fix it.

  14. Jerry Gold

    Bottled (or boxed) water is a funny concept. Most people in the West have access to good drinking water at all times, it's essentially free, and in some cases very high quality... Yet not just on planes, but at home, at work, anywhere really, people consume water that has been put in a container and shipped long distances. If Alaska were really concerned about the environment they could very easily source drinking water at any...

    Bottled (or boxed) water is a funny concept. Most people in the West have access to good drinking water at all times, it's essentially free, and in some cases very high quality... Yet not just on planes, but at home, at work, anywhere really, people consume water that has been put in a container and shipped long distances. If Alaska were really concerned about the environment they could very easily source drinking water at any of their stations, but I guess putting it in a box makes a better news story.

  15. keitherson Guest

    This water tastes disgusting and I won't drink it. I'm all for boxed water but they badly need to switch providers.

  16. The Water Sommelier Guest

    It's not about the brand, it's about the source of the water! Boxed Water is Better is nothing more than highly processed tap water sold in a Tetra Pak carton. Real water from nature has a story to tell and is loaded with healthy minerals and electrolytes from nature. These brands like Boxed Water, Smart Water, Essentia, etc. are no water brands, they are packaging brands. They sell you a bottle/carton with a fancy marketing...

    It's not about the brand, it's about the source of the water! Boxed Water is Better is nothing more than highly processed tap water sold in a Tetra Pak carton. Real water from nature has a story to tell and is loaded with healthy minerals and electrolytes from nature. These brands like Boxed Water, Smart Water, Essentia, etc. are no water brands, they are packaging brands. They sell you a bottle/carton with a fancy marketing story but not real water from a natural occuring source! I love flying in Europe and drinking naturally mineral water!

  17. Highgamma Guest

    They do need to have some kind of visual cue for when the box is empty. With plastic, they can see that it’s empty. Otherwise, I’m going to be ringing the call button a lot or making trips to the galley. This is based upon experience on red eye transcon flight a few days ago.

    1. Judith Grimes Reynolds Guest

      FANSTATIC! Alaska Airlines cares more about its passengers and our planet by ultimately helping to do more about climate change. Bravo, Alaska Airlines! Many comments complain that it tastes "funny." Does milk taste "funny" from the same packaging?

    2. Stuart Guest

      Well, actually, milk has taste. So probably it tastes ok from a carton. Says my 12 year old self that used to drink directly from it.

  18. pstm91 Platinum

    Where did you get the "as of November 4th" date? I flew them SEA-JFK two weeks ago and they were already utilizing the boxed water.

    1. pstm91 Platinum

      Disregard - I missed the link at the very top. Still, it seems that they have been doing this for a bit?

    2. Rick Guest

      They have been “testing” it for a while. I got my first one in February, 2021 on a flight to Hawaii. Now they are rolling it out to all flights.

  19. Andrew Guest

    I don't really see much of an environmental benefit to switching. As someone else said, boxed water is likely heavier than bottled water. In Canada, I know WestJet serves Dasani bottled water from 1.5L plastic bottles. They also sort their waste into garbage, plastics + cans and then they further sort the cups used in onboard service. I'd have thought recycling the plastic bottles would have minimized landfill waste since Dasani bottles are made partially...

    I don't really see much of an environmental benefit to switching. As someone else said, boxed water is likely heavier than bottled water. In Canada, I know WestJet serves Dasani bottled water from 1.5L plastic bottles. They also sort their waste into garbage, plastics + cans and then they further sort the cups used in onboard service. I'd have thought recycling the plastic bottles would have minimized landfill waste since Dasani bottles are made partially from plant based plastics as well as recycled plastic.
    Furthermore, Boxed Water is Better seems to be packaged in a Tetra Pak style box which incorporates a plastic film (to waterproof it) and aluminum foil (to further protect the contents). Supposedly this makes recycling the product a lot harder since you need to separate the plastic and aluminum from the paper fibers during the recycling process. I'm not sure which US regions support aseptic carton recycling, but I'd guess it's less common than plastic bottles or cans.

    1. Rick Guest

      I didn’t notice any aluminum foil in the boxed water. And Seattle, where Alaska Airlines is headquartered, does accept Tetra Paks and aseptic containers for recycling (https://www.recology.com/faq/seattle-recycle/)

    2. Andrew Guest

      You wouldn't notice the aluminum foil without tearing down the box. It's embedded between the layers of plastic and paper. Boxed Water confirms there's aluminum present: https://boxedwaterisbetter.com/pages/faqs

      I know facilities exist for recycling across the country, but companies normally use a private waste collection service. It's more of a matter of making sure each airport where waste collection occurs can recycle Tetras. (Since you're not normally going to send all the recyclables back to Seattle).

      You wouldn't notice the aluminum foil without tearing down the box. It's embedded between the layers of plastic and paper. Boxed Water confirms there's aluminum present: https://boxedwaterisbetter.com/pages/faqs

      I know facilities exist for recycling across the country, but companies normally use a private waste collection service. It's more of a matter of making sure each airport where waste collection occurs can recycle Tetras. (Since you're not normally going to send all the recyclables back to Seattle).

    3. Dusty Guest

      Less microplastics polluting my food and water sounds pretty environmentally friendly, even if the box does take more effort to produce and recycle.

  20. Endre Guest

    Long overdue, let’s hope other airlines and industries follow this trend. Being eco-friendly doesn’t require many efforts.

    1. Steve Gold

      Except this isnt eco friendly. Its heavier and requires a lot more energy to produce than a plastic cup/bottle. Seems like this is entirely a PR move and not something that actually accomplishes anything but then again 95% of green initiative are are fluff and provide no real benefit.

  21. August Guest

    Won't the boxes made from plant based materials weigh more than the plastic bottles being replaced? Saving x amount of plastic is of course awesome, but will the boxes increase fuel consumption?
    I'd love to read more about the airlines recycling efforts. On a recent intra Europe flight, cabin crew were diligent when collecting trash; plastics in one bag, paper in another, glass and metal in a third, and then everything else. None of...

    Won't the boxes made from plant based materials weigh more than the plastic bottles being replaced? Saving x amount of plastic is of course awesome, but will the boxes increase fuel consumption?
    I'd love to read more about the airlines recycling efforts. On a recent intra Europe flight, cabin crew were diligent when collecting trash; plastics in one bag, paper in another, glass and metal in a third, and then everything else. None of this will end up in landfills. If it can't be recycled, it's incinerated for energy.

    1. Rick Guest

      Alaska does separate trash from recyclables. They suspended it during COVID, but the practice was resumed 2-3 months ago on my several flights.
      During the suspension period, I always brought those recyclable items home and made sure they went into the recycling bin.

  22. Eskimo75 Guest

    As a longtime AS MVPG I'm really proud to see my airline of choice lead the way on sustainability and reducing plastic waste. But having tried the boxed water on a number of flights over the past year, there's definitely some kinks to work out. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the water has a very woody taste out of the box. It's just not nice to drink. Hopefully the manufacturer can improve it before too long with a liner or something to make the taste more neutral.

    1. Biz Traveler Guest

      ‘Proud of your airline of choice’ lol. Get a life.

    1. Ginger Guest

      No, it's not. Just wait til you taste it. It tastes Horrible! And yes, the boxes are lined with plastic and other chemicals to prevent leakage, which not only affect the taste, but leave a nasty aftertaste as well. Our flight attendant was nice enough to bring us water from the Pilots' supply (yes, Dasani water bottles), but only because we were flying 1st Class. Bring your own water on board in a reusable water container. You will be glad you did!

  23. DWT Guest

    I'm all for switching away from single use plastics, but am I the only one who can't stand the taste of boxed water? I had it in F on my last AS flight and couldn't even drink it.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Eskimo Guest

Liberal thinking? Maybe politicians should start a new war against "Critical Green Theory". Just like when we burn more fossil fuel to generate electricity to power Tesla cars and mine cryptocurrencies.

1
Quinten Guest

And what keeps water from leaking through the box? Yes, plastic. Plastic bottles are easy to recycle. Plastic in paper boxes is not. #greenwashing

1
Andrew Guest

I don't really see much of an environmental benefit to switching. As someone else said, boxed water is likely heavier than bottled water. In Canada, I know WestJet serves Dasani bottled water from 1.5L plastic bottles. They also sort their waste into garbage, plastics + cans and then they further sort the cups used in onboard service. I'd have thought recycling the plastic bottles would have minimized landfill waste since Dasani bottles are made partially from plant based plastics as well as recycled plastic. Furthermore, Boxed Water is Better seems to be packaged in a Tetra Pak style box which incorporates a plastic film (to waterproof it) and aluminum foil (to further protect the contents). Supposedly this makes recycling the product a lot harder since you need to separate the plastic and aluminum from the paper fibers during the recycling process. I'm not sure which US regions support aseptic carton recycling, but I'd guess it's less common than plastic bottles or cans.

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