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Flights Stop Serving Limes In Drought Twist

Passengers who like to make the flight go smoother with a vodka tonic or a Diet Coke may have to forgo their customary lime.

Box of limes
A lime shortage and price spike means some airline passengers may have to forgo them with their customary in-flight cocktail, or resign themselves to lemons. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Some airlines have reacted to skyrocketing lime prices by withdrawing the citrus fruit from their beverage service.

At an average advertised supermarket price of 56 cents, up from 31 cents a year ago, limes are at a three-year high.

In Mexico, blame the drug cartels and heavy flooding for disrupting supply chains. In California, kick the dry dirt and bemoan the drought.

As of two weeks ago, Alaska Airlines totally cut their limes.

But not all airlines are changing their drink service the same way.

Delta Air Lines and American Airlines haven't made any changes so far. JetBlue has never provided them with drinks.

One of United Airline's largest caterers told the airline it only has 15-20 percent of its usual lime inventory. United said it expects lime levels to return by late May.

In the meantime, the airline has switched to lemons on some flights.

For frequent fliers like Ben Schlappig, author of travel blog One Mile at a Time, that won't cut it. "There are lots of cocktails where lemon simply isn't a substitute for lime," he says.

"Ultimately it's just a minor annoyance," Schlappig says. "But as someone that's addicted to Diet Coke with lime, it does make my beverage selection a little tougher."

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.