Delta Airlines Coke or Pepsi Dilemma Still Unresolved

Last Updated Mar 30, 2009 4:57 PM EDT

Delta Airlines announced today that Northwest employees will switch to Delta uniforms this week -- "one of the first outwardly visible signs that the two airlines are now one." Free snacks will also return to all flights.

But the press release made no mention of how the airline would resolve one of its toughest dilemmas -- Coke or Pepsi?

Northwest is the only major airline to have an exclusive contract with PepsiCo. But Delta and Coca-Cola, both based in Atlanta, have been partners for almost 77 years.

Last year, Delta President Ed Bastian -- who used to work for Pepsi -- said about the preferred soft drink of the merged airlines, "It'll be Coke. That's not a hard one." More recently, however, the company has confirmed that no decision has been reached.

"We're having conversations with both," Delta vice president of marketing Tim Mapes said Monday. "There are contracts in place with each of the two entities that have got to be addressed-- . There definitely will be financial considerations that we will be taking into account."
In the meantime, Northwest planes will continue offering only Pepsi products, while Delta planes will serve Coke.

And it could be awhile before anything changes. According to a Delta spokeswoman, "We will make a decision on the future of our beverage strategy in the next several months."

  • Katherine Glover