American Airlines Introducing Shelf Stable Milk Onboard Starting December 13

Shelf stable milk is far more common in Europe than the U.S. Instead of pasteurizing at 170 degrees it’s heated to 270 degrees killing more bacteria that would cause milk to spoil. As a result it doesn’t need refrigeration.

Nonetheless, American Airlines plans to serve it cold.

    Milk as a beverage: What else would it be?

If we can’t get American to bring back baked on board cookies, even though they’re adding a second oven to legacy US Airways A321s, perhaps we could get them to serve Tuscan Whole Milk instead?

(HT: The Forward Cabin)

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  1. I live at an AA outstation that only caters cold options for breakfast — as a result, the shelf stable milk has been part of the offerings here for years.

    It sounds worse than it really is, to be honest.

  2. This is the most common type of milk sold in Europe. It is called UHT for Ultra High Temperature Pasteurization. It’s important to note that it is flashed at that high temperature so that the proteins are not destroyed.
    If you are used to plain, non-UHT, milk, chances are you will find this milk disgusting. Doesn’t matter if it’s just a splash in your coffee but a glass of it is, for me at least, undrinkable.

  3. The point of this post is what exactly?

    Shelf stable milk is standard and common in many places around the planet (as you mention) – it’s really not remarkable in any way, shape, or form.

  4. Not sure about the milk but hate UHT Cream. You mix it in your coffee and it won’t melt and become uniform. It looks like it’s curdled.


  5. Very helpful for parents traveling with kids. We always bring shelf stable milk but security is always a challenge when tsa people start harassing you and saying kids don’t need milk etc.

  6. I’m American and I actually like the taste of UHT milk. I’d describe it as tasting roasted. A lot of closed minded people find it disgusting though.

  7. Always good to know that American Airlines is making the effort to reduce the pathogenic bacteria count in their airline food. Food safety first.

  8. Ugh! This stuff tastes horrible. As the person who always drinks both F and Y out of the limited milk cartons they are catered, I wish they would instead focus on actually reliably catering milk rather than adjusting the type…

  9. @Ray: “A lot of closed minded people find it disgusting though.”

    And frankly, I feel sorry for anyone who believes that someone who doesn’t like the taste of something to be “closed-minded,” because it shows that the person making the statement is actually the one who is closed-minded.

  10. @Daniel, it may be that there are strict regulations about the regular milk. Our local school district was required to dispose all of today’s unused milk minicartons so as to avoid “tainted product” being provided tomorrow in the free or paid lunches. A tremendous waste, in my opinion.

  11. @Daniel, they don’t want the hassle and expense of managing inventory of short life products

  12. I buy a lot of milk in Europe, and the milk expiration dates of most of the kinds of milk I buy at stores in Europe tend to have faster expiration dates on average than milk I buy at US grocery stores. But European practices for milk vary tremendously by country, so perhaps that explains something about ben sensie’s comment.

  13. Indeed this seems to be another cost-cutting exercise by AA.

    This kind of milk doesn’t taste as good for me as even the regular milk that McDonalds sells.

  14. Thumbs down. I don’t add sugar or cream to my tea or coffee. I only add milk so the quality and taste of the milk makes a difference for me. At home I drink organic valley whole milk and currently the milk they serve is nowhere as good (partially because it’s 2%) so this UHF stuff will only be worse. Yes, I have drank it before and didn’t like it.

  15. “A lot of closed minded people find it disgusting though.”

    Ummmm…I had never heard of or knew of it until I went to Europe and had my first taste. I had to spend two month in Europe and was a big milk drinker. Until that. I pretty much stopped using milk at all for the duration of my time there.

    It’s not about closed mindedness. It’s about not liking the dang taste.

  16. @ghina: You have to shake the UHT cream before opening it to keep it from separating because it’s not homogenized.

    I personally like the UHT taste. I think it tastes toasted as well. I also like that I can get it for cheap from the dollar store. I never have to worry about running out of milk.

  17. This is a big win for 1-2 year olds. Children under 1 are not supposed to drink cows milk but after 12mo old it is much healthier than formula or sugary juice. The shelf stability is great, but its not stable once you break the seal, and TSA makes you break the seal on milk containers, so you cannot bring your own easily for long flights. Plus when flying with a toddler you already have too much to carry and its nice to have the airline provide cold milk. US supermarkets commonly carry shelf stable milk in child size single serve form, such as Horizon Organic regular and chocolate milk. I have tried them since we sometimes have them around for the kid and they seem fine.

  18. Most organic milk is UHT… Read the label.

    I actually like the taste, with the hint of caramel.

  19. @Bill, once the carton was opened, I put the cream in my coffee, and stirred and stirred and stirred and stirred. They did get smaller, but it’s just too much work to get it to mix in. Non-homogenized, non-UHT cream melts in the heat of the coffee, and requires only a little bit of stirring

    I switched to UHT milk for the duration, and it was ok. But I definitely would avoid cream.

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