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Delta Faces Major Merger Hurdle: Coke or Pepsi?

Delta already passed most of the tests it will face as it completes its merger with Northwest. The airline already got shareholders to approve the deal, matched up the two carriers’ fees structure, combined mileage programs, and is currently switching all Northwest planes and booking areas to Delta colors. Seems Delta has it all under control. Ah, but it forgot one thing, a fundamental element of the flying experience, something that just about every passenger cares about:

Coke or Pepsi?

Delta has long been a Coke airline. The two companies are based in Atlanta, so it makes sense. Northwest, on the other hand, served Pepsi. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Delta will continue to serve Coca-Cola drinks on flights while Northwest will still serve Pepsi drinks, ‘until a final determination has been made on a single beverage provider,’ according to a memo last week.” But the AJC also reports “Delta President Ed Bastian said in an interview last year, ‘It’ll be Coke. That’s not a hard one.'”

Problem is, both airlines have contracts in place with their respective soda providers, and obviously both Coca-Cola and Pepsi would love to be the sole soda provider for the world’s largest airline. Doesn’t seem likely that either will give up their contract without a fight. Could Delta serve both, like American? Maybe, but my guess is Coke will win out.

There’s no way a debate like this can come up without asking you which you prefer, so here goes: Should Delta choose Coke, Pepsi, or both? I took an informal poll of the SmarterTravel staff, and Coke (including Diet Coke) won by a whopping nine-to-one margin. And no, I’m not ashamed to say I cast the lone vote for Pepsi.

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