Really Though, What’s the Deal With These In-Seat Mini-Bars?

Mar 15, 2018

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There’s a new(ish) premium-cabin trend, and Emirates is leading the way: in-seat mini-bars. In business class, you’re giving up precious storage space in favor of an at-your-seat beverage compartment, complete with pop-out door.

But unlike the mini-bar you’d find in a hotel room, this one is not refrigerated — the drinks you’re pulling out are room temperature at best. Flight attendants will bring you the chilled beverage of your choice at a moment’s notice, so, really, what’s the point of having warm juices and sodas at every seat?

I’m honestly not quite sure, so I posed the question on Instagram and Twitter:

Several people make a valid point: while Americans generally prefer cold beverages, room temp may be more the norm elsewhere in the world. Still, the opinion overall is that these little drink cubbies are just for show, and I tend to agree — if you have an opinion of your own, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

It’s not just Emirates’ new Boeing 777-200LR that sports the amenity, either — it’s also available on the new 777-300ER, along with biz on the Airbus A380. Emirates’ first-class suites have the mini-bars, too, and they’ve even been expanded on the latest version. It’s less of a concern in that cabin, though — while the biz seats would definitely benefit from more storage, there are several other sizable compartments to choose from in first.

One of two mini-bars in Emirates' new suite. Photo by Zach Honig.
One of two mini-bars in Emirates’ new suite. Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.

While the vast majority of airlines prefer to offer drinks exclusively via the crew — with the exception of a small water bottle — Kuwait Airways decided to follow Emirates’ lead as well, with a mini-bar of its own on the 777-300ER.

TPG managing editor Alberto Riva recently flew Kuwait’s first class, and found still water, Perrier and soda in his pop-out bar, along with a small package of mixed nuts.

Kuwait Airways first-class mini-bar. Photo by Alberto Riva.
Kuwait Airways first-class mini-bar. Photo by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy.

It’s no surprise that the mini-bar never made an appearance in my list of 7 Favorite Things About Emirates’ Incredible New First-Class Suite. I’m inclined to think that less is more — we can do without the mini-bars, thank you very much.

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