I remember as a child, up until being a young adult in the 90s, that you used to get a sweet to suck on take-off to prevent your ears from "popping".

Why don't they do this any longer? Is there now no need due to technological advancements?

  • 5
    :) I would say there is no need due to the price battle. Every penny counts.
    – nsn
    Apr 10, 2014 at 8:03
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    I wonder if there will be some airline industry insider here that knows the actual reason. Some airlines still do that, by the way. Others may have cut back on the sweets to minimize the number of flight attendents' tasks before takeoff in order to avoid delays in a better way. Also note that indeed some newer planes (like the relatively new 787) have a higher cabin pressure, thus reducing the "popping".
    – DCTLib
    Apr 10, 2014 at 11:12
  • You can ask your question there: aviation.stackexchange.com
    – MikkaRin
    Apr 11, 2014 at 7:50
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    Take-off or landing? The latter usually seems to be more painful and in coach, I don't remember ever getting anything before the plane was airborne.
    – Relaxed
    Apr 11, 2014 at 13:03
  • 1
    Money? By removing one olive from drinks served on-board, without changing ticket price, British Airways managed to save ten million pounds yearly (a famous downsizing example often called as British Airways Olives). I imagine the same pattern for candies / sweets.
    – trejder
    Aug 1, 2016 at 20:23

2 Answers 2


Actually some airlines still do that. Air New Zealand hands out sweets/lollies (to adults and children), and I've seen it on some other airlines too in recent years - but can't remember the names off hand.

There are SOME technological advancements - the 787 and A380 are meant to be better for jetlag and certainly the 787 has higher air pressure leading to less ear/sinus problems.

However, as a commenter suggests, many cutbacks are due to costs - the airlines are looking to save money wherever they can, and if some airlines will even consider charging for use of the onboard bathrooms, then cutting sweets and treats is certainly not beneath them. It would also reduce time for cleaning of the aircraft, cutting turnaround times between flights - a major focus in operations for LCCs (low cost carriers) like RyanAir, Easyjet, Jetstar and the like.

  • Even Swiss-air stopped handing out Swiss chocolate - in all classes.
    – uncovery
    Apr 10, 2014 at 14:54
  • 3
    I always thought jet lag was what happened when crossing time zones. Is there another meaning to the term that applies here?
    – Flimzy
    Apr 10, 2014 at 15:20
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    @uncovery That's really not my experience. I just recently flew with Swiss a couple of times and I got chocolate on each leg. Apr 10, 2014 at 16:24
  • @uncovery When was that? I still got chocolates fairly recently (I don't remember exactly when, I did not fly Swiss in the last couple of years).
    – Relaxed
    Apr 11, 2014 at 13:01
  • 2 days ago. Maybe because it was long-haul back to Switzerland
    – uncovery
    Apr 11, 2014 at 13:04

I may be the reason for hard candy no longer being given to passengers during lift-off. In 1969 I was on a flight from England to Holland. I was the only passenger and sat at the middle of the plane. In the rear was 6 flight attendants beating returned home. Buckled in and sucking on the candy, we hit an air-pocket. As I swallowed the candy became lodged in my throat. I could not get out of my seatbelt and my arms were flailing above my head. One of the flight attendants came up to check on me and screamed something in Dutch to the other attendants at the rear of the plane. In seconds they all were up to me, climbing over the seats, unbuckling my seatbelt and dragging me into the isle for the Heimlich menuve. After about 3 good thrusts the candy flew out of me and towards the front of the plane. Soooooooooo! There's the mostikely reason. I often think if I had not been seen struggling and died, what those attendants legacy would be. "Six of you and you couldn't keep one lousy passenger alive!!!!" Yep!!!! That's the true story.

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