Here's Why You Should Always Keep Your Starbucks Order Simple At Airports

Sometimes it feels like Starbucks took over the world of coffee seemingly overnight. It was a much slower grind than that, though. The Seattle-based coffee purveyor opened its first storefront in 1971, per the company's website. That original shop was nothing like the famed coffeehouses of today. Instead, the original store sold coffee beans, teas, and spices. In the 1980s, the company took a leap. Inspired by coffeehouses seen in Milan, Italy, Starbucks began serving coffee to its customers in-house. From there, the business grew exponentially, gaining name recognition and becoming a sensation.

While the coffeehouse expanded through the 1980s with multiple locations, its signature baristas didn't start serving air travelers until 1991. Starbucks' first airport location was naturally located inside Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (per the coffee company). Now, Starbucks serves millions of air travelers a year at hundreds of airport locations. 

While it's certainly comforting as an air traveler to grab a Starbucks coffee or tea before your next flight, it's better kept as simple a process as possible.

Keeping your order simple cuts down on wait time

It can be convenient — and almost comforting — to see the familiar Starbucks logo when heading through a busy airport, now more than ever. Food service during flights has changed dramatically over the years. According to Food Network, airlines cut meal service for domestic flights to save costs after September 11, 2001. In 2020, airlines cut back significantly on in-flight services to quell the spread of COVID-19 (via TODAY). While many of those services have returned, many air travelers opt to get a familiar coffee fix before getting on their flights. Still, it's probably best to save your extreme customized latte order for a Starbucks location far from the roaring engines of jets.

To avoid a headache, The Takeout advises air travelers to keep their order basic when in an airport, simply because of the time custom drinks take to make. Lines at Starbucks locations inside airports can be 25 to 30 minutes long, and there is a secondary wait time for handcrafted drinks (per The Takeout). The long lines can be especially troubling for those running to catch a flight. Keeping it simple means you'll get your coffee faster, and you'll help out your fellow coffee drinkers queuing behind you.

What you should order at Starbucks before a flight

If you don't mind waiting in a long line or have an extra 45 minutes before you need to head to your gate, Starbucks is the perfect treat at the airport. So, what should you order, and what drinks should you avoid to keep the process quick?

If you are dealing with a long line, stick to a brewed coffee option. Brewed beverages are poured directly in front of you and handed over for you to customize at the bar. You will significantly reduce your wait time and help the person directly behind you get their coffee faster, too. If you prefer the handcrafted or shaken options, you will still want to keep it simple (via The Takeout). The airport is not the time to customize your drink with a syrup combination that makes a latte taste like a chocolate-covered cherry. Insider makes a good point, in that a good Starbucks drinks isn't made by a frazzled barista.

Regardless of what you order the next time you are at a Starbucks in an airport, be kind. Starbucks baristas tasked with working at airports have a pretty high-stress job. One barista took to Reddit to reveal that airport locations never experience a lull and that the lines never appear to get any shorter, no matter how hard they work.