Reusable mugs on airplanes

Have you ever been bothered by the amount of waste you create on an airplane? And then thought about what that equates to when you think about the number of people on your flight times the number of flights per day times the number of days per year?

If I’m flying within the country, I usually take some fruit onboard because have you seen the price of fruit at an airport or on the plane!? Not to mention, where and within what conditions was the fruit grown? I also usually take snacks and a homemade meal – if I’m organized – so that I can pack everything in reusable containers (no waste) and I can save myself some money (excellent). However, I’ve always gotten my drinks in those clear plastic cups…and for a 5 hour flight, they’ll do drink service twice and water service an additional one or two times. That’s FOUR plastic cups just for me on one flight! It’s not that I need four different cups but the flight attendants are just so efficient at taking away all of my garbage as soon as I’m done consuming the content! (kudos to that excellent service)

I usually have a reusable mug on my flight because I carry it around with me everywhere I can. I go through security with my stainless steel mug out separately (because it’s insulated and they need to scan it separately from any bags), then find a water fountain (or bathroom) to fill the mug with water. I’ll still opt to have juice on the plane, so I use up some disposable cups, but I save myself from needing cups for water.

This last time I flew, I had an epiphany. I can NOT use plastic cups by altering my routine a bit. I go through security as usual, with an empty stainless steel mug. Then, I find a water fountain but instead of filling it all the way with water, I just filled it 1/4 to 1/2 full, depending on how thirsty I expected to be while waiting to board my plane. By the time we’re up in the air and they announce that drink service will commence, I finish off the water that was in my mug. When the lovely flight attendant comes by to offer me a drink, I politely inquire whether they could fill my mug with my desired cold liquid drink…and I thank them with a smile for obliging me (because nobody else on my flight does this) and enjoy a whole mug full of cold liquid for the rest of the flight (skipping the need for a second drink service).

The last two flights I took, the flight attendants were super kind. One asked whether I wanted my mug filled all the way or just a bit, and another just filled my mug all the way to the top with ginger ale and ice. I was half afraid that they would tell me that there was some regulation preventing them from fulfilling my request and that I had to absolutely drink from their plastic cups…but that wasn’t the case!

So next time you fly, take a reusable mug and say no to the disposable cups.


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