Developed by a European company called SkyMax, the organization has upgraded the traditional trolley that’s used by flight attendants to deliver food and beverages to passengers on a plane. Called the SkyTender, the advanced trolley allows the flight attendant to deliver a drink immediately after the customer orders the drink. Traditionally, flight attendants take a large amount of orders before moving to the front or rear of the plane to prepare all the drinks. The Skymax system also eliminates the necessity of using canned or bottled drinks for customer orders. This helps the airline save money on beverage costs as well as cut down waste from each flight.
When looking at the design from the outside, it’s difficult to tell the difference between a traditional trolley and the SkyTender. However, after the flight attendant activates the SkyTender, the column with the touchscreen panel is automatically raised from the top of the trolley. After the internal computer boots up, the touchscreen panel flashes indicating that the SkyTender is ready to deliver drinks to passengers.
Similar to a new refrigerator, a sensor within the raised column detects when a cup is placed underneath the main spout and turns on a light to illuminate the beverage. Identical to a traditional soda machine in a restaurant, the SkyTender contains syrup bags that are mixed with water to create the drinks. The SkyTender can mix up to fifteen different drinks and SkyMax offers more than 100 options for hot or cold beverages which includes alcohol.
In an interview with Mashable, SkyMax general manager Oliver Kloth stated that airlines could save about “$1,500 per month per trolley,” for each plane in the fleet that utilizes the SkyTender system. That comes to approximately $18,000 per year. If American Airlines upgraded their entire fleet of approximately 600 planes to the SkyTender system, the company could potentially save nearly $11 million per year in total beverage costs.