Why you may not be able to have limes on United Airlines flights

Due to an international lime shortage, you may have trouble finding limes on some United Airlines flights. Photo: Richard North via creative commons.

Due to an international lime shortage, you may have trouble finding limes on some United Airlines flights. Photo: Richard North via creative commons.

I have solved the great international airline lime conundrum of 2014.

Actually Associated Press reporter Scott Mayerowitz beat me to it with an article published online a few hours ago. But last week I inquired with United Airlines about whether the carrier had pulled limes from its flights in response to an international shortage.

The response came this afternoon in an email from United spokeswoman Jennifer Dohm.

“One of our largest caterers told us their lime suppliers have only 15-20 percent of their typical inventory,” Dohnm wrote. “Until late May, when they expect supplies to be back to normal, we’re substituting lemons for limes on some flights.”

What’s going on in the world of limes you ask? The New York Daily News reports on some issues in Mexico:

“Fighting and hijacking of lime trucks by cartel members have slowed exports to a crawl, coupled with farmers refusing to pay extortion fees to Knights Templar enforcers.

Heavy rains and a tree disease afflicting the area has not helped.

“Mexico received some heavy rains that destroyed a large amount of the lime crop, so with limited supplies we are seeing lime prices skyrocket,” said Bryan Black, spokesman for the Texas Department of Agriculture.”

Mayerowitz says not every airline is cutting back. While Alaska Airlines has also curbed lime service, American and Delta have continued having limes on board, Mayerowitz writes.

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