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Delta Air Lines

Delta Apologizes for “Creepy” Inflight Beverage Napkins

Delta Apologizes for “Creepy” Inflight Beverage Napkins
Jeff Edwards

The branded beverage napkins handed out on recent Delta Air Lines flights have left some passengers feeling more than a little uncomfortable. The marketing campaign affiliated with Coca-Cola was intended to encourage passengers to make a connection onboard, but in practice, the suggestions came across as a bit too suggestive.

Delta Air Lines has apologized after an onboard marketing effort upset some passengers on recent flights. The airline distributed Diet Coke-branded beverage napkins on some flights as part of a deal with the Atlanta-based soft drink giant, but flyers say the “edgy” messages on the cocktail napkins, intended to read as flirty instead came across as just plain creepy – especially in the closed confines of a aircraft cabin.

The tongue-in-cheek marketing messages printed on the napkins appear to be reminiscent of other successful marketing campaigns by beer and spirits companies (in those cases, the efforts targeted mostly nightlife locales). Business travelers and families were somewhat less charmed by messages suggesting, “Be a little old school. Write down your number and give it to your plane crush. You never know…” or Because you’re on a plane full of interesting people and hey… you never know.” In some cases, the paper coasters even provided a fill-in-the-blank space for collecting fellow passengers’ names and numbers.

In the Flyertalk forums, frequent flyers have pointed out that the marketing effort, in all likelihood, belongs in the category of simply out-of-touch, rather than offensive. “The way that respectable people meet and approach their love interests has changed,” davie355 offered. “The designers of this napkin neglected or were ignorant to that sociological shift.”

Other posters were less forgiving of both companies’ astonishing lack of foresight. “Who thought this was a good idea?” Flyertalker Mickidon marveled. ”I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in that meeting. Apology tour underway.”

Public apologies from both Delta and Coke have indeed been forthcoming.

“We rotate Coke products regularly as part of our brand partnership, but missed the mark with this one,” a Delta Air lines official told INSIDER magazine.  “We are sorry for that and began removing the napkins from our aircraft in January.”

Coca-Cola later issued a similar mea culpa. “We sincerely apologize to anyone we may have offended,” the company said in a statement. “We worked with our partners at Delta to begin removing the napkins last month and are replacing them with other designs.”

Were Delta’s flirty beverage napkins just a bit of good-natured fun or downright creepy? Join the the conversation here.


[Images: Twitter/@ducksauz]

View Comments (10)


  1. bcj1949

    February 7, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Not appropriate. Someone(s) screwed up.

  2. glob99

    February 7, 2019 at 5:51 pm

    Hey, discussing the “creepy” napkins with other paxs is a great ice breaker! 🙂

  3. WoodyWindy

    February 8, 2019 at 6:23 am

    I wonder if this marketing exec just came off of the account or something.

    I can just see the new slogan:

    “Delta Connection – It’s more personal than ever!”

  4. Beano

    February 8, 2019 at 8:31 am

    Great concept. Most appropriate today .Nice to see marketing coming up with these great fun ideas. Keep these good ideas coming through 🙂

  5. chavala

    February 8, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    Imagine UM young girls getting these napkins. What were they thinking?

  6. seigex

    February 8, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    How does a napkin make you uncomfortable?

  7. jungly

    February 10, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    Really? I see nothing wrong here its a fun marketing scheme. You SJWs and soyboys are wayyyy to over politically correct. No wonder Trump will win in 2020 again. Live a little, this stuff use to be funny in the 20th century.

  8. htb

    February 10, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    Why is everyone immediately offended by everything these days. If you don’t like the messages on the napkin, just place your coke on it and otherwise ignore it.
    I think this even falls into the “I’m offended because someone might feel offended” category.

  9. skidooman

    February 11, 2019 at 9:50 am

    It doesn’t offend me one bit.

    It is just ridiculous, tacky, not convincing me to drink more Coke products for one bit. They should remove them just because it is so cheesy.

    But creepy? Nah…

    People are pretty thin skinned these days.

  10. ChiefHyena

    February 14, 2019 at 7:50 am

    Why is this creepy and Match.cvom, Tinder, isn’t? They are trying to be hip to the ‘younger’ crowd.

    So ignore it.

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