KLM now serves Heineken draught beer on board planes

Heineken has long claimed to "refresh the parts other beers cannot reach" – and now it has taken that mantra one step further by becoming the first brewery to offer draught beer at 35,000 feet.

The Dutch company has partnered with KLM to offer the so-called "mile high pub", which is set to be trialled on intercontinental services in August.

Heineken and KLM claim to have spent years developing a beer keg and dispenser that works at high altitude.

"Because the air pressure is so much lower in an airplane than at sea level, a traditional beer tap will not work as it will only dispense a huge amount of foam," said Heineken's Edwin Griffioen.

"We do have dispensers that work on air pressure, but these were too big to fit in a plane. It was one big jigsaw puzzle."

That jigsaw puzzle isn't exactly complete: the cooling system that makes most pints icy cold had to be left behind because it was too big to fit inside the trolleys.

"In the end we had to leave out one of those pieces to make it all fit," said Griffioen. "So with pain in our hearts we had to leave the cooling behind."

As well as sipping a cold(ish) beer at 35,000 feet, the modern air passenger can enjoy various creature comforts at high altitude, though they don't come cheap. Here are some of them.


In 2008, Emirates became the first airline to offer passengers a mid-flight shower when it installed bathrooms on its Airbus A380s. Of course, the amenity is only available to first-class passengers, who are only permitted a five-minute soak.  


See: Airline review: Emirates' extraordinary first-class suites


The A380's on-board lounge offers first and business class passengers the opportunity to schmooze with fellow flyers over champagne, cocktails and canapés.  

Private suites

Misanthropic passengers rejoiced when private suites were installed on the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777, which meant the well-heeled hermits no longer had to look at their fellow passengers. Bliss.

See also: Why no one's flying first class any more


A number of airlines are now offering in-flight massages for knotty travellers, including Virgin Atlantic, which boasts a range of therapies including manicures, exfoliation and face masks.

Flying nannies

Gone are the days when parents had to entertain their kids at 35,000 feet, thanks to Etihad, which offers "a helping hand in the sky" in the form of a "flying nanny". The service promises parents a little "me time", though the airline is keen to point out that it "cannot take the kids completely off your hands". 

See also: Best of the best: The perfect airline experience named

See also: How to feel like you're in first class when you're actually in economy

The Telegraph, London