A few weeks ago I was out for lunch with friends at one of Beijing's finer eateries. As usual, when the waitress asked me what I wanted to drink, I said asked for a Coke. One of my friends asked for a Ginger Ale, which immediately prompted me to declare to the waitress, "Wait! Cancel my Coke. I'll have a Ginger Ale too."
At this point the friend who'd first ordered the Ginger Ale commented that normally she only orders Ginger Ale on a flight, at which point the rest of us chimed in with pretty much the same sentiment, and then launched into a discussion of this mysterious phenomenon.
When I got home that afternoon, I logged onto my Google Reader to catch up on some news and blog reading, and amazingly enough one of the travel blogs to which I subscribe had a post on this very phenomenon titled "The Mysterious Popularity of Ginger Ale on Airlines," which pretty much confirmed the gist of our conversation. Apparently Ginger Ale accounts for 10% of drinks sold on flights, while only 3% in overall sales. No one seems to know why, but theories abound.
I'm writing this post from the Tokyo/Narita airport as I wait to board a flight to Minneapolis/St. Paul. I'm pretty sure I'll be ordering a glass of Ginger Ale once we reach cruising altitude.