U.S. Airlines Are Upping Their Wine Game

wine glass

In an effort to catch up to their international counterparts, airlines across the U.S. have been upgrading their first class cabin wine selections reports Bloomberg.

With Singapore Airlines and Emirates both serving Dom Perignon Champagne in first class, which retails at $150-160 a bottle, American passengers who spend thousands of dollars on a first class seat have begun to expect more than wines that retail for $8.99-19.99. American Airlines’ first class cabin still sips on Bogle Vineyards sauvignon blanc, for example, which retails for less than $10 a bottle nationwide.

But finally, some airlines are strategically stocking luxurious wines that can also handle the harsh environment of pressurized cabins while eliminating lowbrow wines that don’t “show” well in-flight according to wine experts. Delta has eliminated generic pinot grigio from premium cabins, for example. “If a wine has problems they will be magnified at altitude,” said Jet Blue’s wine consultant Jon Bonné at an event to unveil the airline’s spring menu.

But why have airlines taken so long to catch up? It’s partially because U.S. airlines are still rebounding financially from 9/11, needing time and money to compete with their their European and Asian counterparts. In addition, the disparity has become more apparent with international competitors pouring wine directly from the bottle to mirror fine dining rituals, ultimately revealing what they are pouring. Chris Rossi, a senior executive at Virgin Atlantic Airways says, “you don’t want to serve a bottle of Yellow Tail.” [Bloomberg] [Photo: Flickr.com/somemixedstuff]