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Mile high club - reporting on airline wine

It struck me that there is no thread on wine offered by airlines, so thought to start one where you can share reports (past or present) about wines enjoyed in lounges and in the air.

I know it is advised not to drink on long haul flights, but…

I am Singapore bound and was very pleasantly surprised by the white Burgundy available at the British Airways lounge. Enjoyed both, the Saint Aubin is classic, while the Montagny is more fruity sweet, but in a very agreeable way.



Was that in the BA Club Class lounge (or whatever they call it these days?) Wherever it is, it’s good to see that someone has been seeking out some good growers. I haven’t heard of either.

Yes, Club class, they must have changed wine advisers.

…and the selection on board, I think I’ll enjoy some South African wine tonight…

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There have been many studies into the way wine behaves at altitude or rather how we change and alter our perception of what we are drinking.

In honesty my long haul days are long gone but the drinking of wine was more limited until recently though that doesn’t alter the way we react at altitude.

I have to admit that anything goes to a degree on the plane I find it difficult to pay for good wine on a plane that I could not appreciate or snjoy, a cheap decent wine does the job, you are fighting a natural phenomenom and the label will make little difference, either drink it in the lounge before take off or wait till arrival.

The airlines are spending a lot of money employing MWs and others for selecting wines for their flights, yet this is pure PR if you can’t really appreciate the wine in what is a strange environment why spend on expensive wines, everyone is different but I always found that wine sort of become much the same on a plane, others may well find the experience different.

I am old enough to remember flying on a Boeing Stratocruiser with an upstairs lounge, it certainly helped though the choice of wine then was almost non existent, still the lounge and a G&T was good :wink:


Talking about taste and altitude, that reminds me of the story (probably apocryphal but based on truth) of the cabin attendant saying: “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re about to come through the cabin serving dinner. We have a choice this evening of beef bourgignon or chicken chasseur, and for those who can’t make their mind up we’ve made them both taste the same …”


I don’t know if anyone else has spotted this, but the cheaper they are, the more gravy and coffee concentrates resemble each other.


Does anyone remember when BA served a meal even on 1 hr flights, it would consist of what seemed to be a freeze dried sandwich with a couple of limp"lettuce" leaves and half of a very small tomato, plus a lukewarm coffee or tea you would rather not have.
The amazing thing was because it was part of the ticket price everyone got ready for this Meal and devoured with apparent relish, why no one either had something before the flight or waited an hour for the destination was always a mystery of the human psyche.
There always seemed to be more waste than food, serviettes plastic cutlery disposable containers for all the unused condiments, and the staff short of time on these short haul flights would steam through the cabin with bin bags collecting the waste, a very strange ritual now thankfully no more.


Oh, dear. I think I’m going to disagree with you yet again :slight_smile:

Reason why MWs are used is they and the others in the team pick wines that show well in the air. I reacll that BA team of wine experts are flown up to cruising height before they tase possible wines for on-board service. Seems less subtle and fruity wines with no or little tannins show best.

I really enjoy, on a long flight, working my way through the on board wines, starting - of course - with Champagne, a white with the starter, some reds with the main and sticky with dessert.

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It’s worth circulating the lounge as different serving stations in the same lounge often feature different wines, and if you move to a different lounge that often has different wines.

And wines quickly turn over so when you return at a later date you find different wines.

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I can only speak personally, for me the taste was always muted when drinking wines at altitude so I wouldn’t bother spending money there, but you are right, well for me, Champagne was fine.

Emirates spent £52 million last year on fine wines so it is good business, but we are all different, I have an old friend who travels the world for his business and he rarely drinks wine on a plane but he does at home, he says he always feels disappointed.
The only proven thing that one must try and avoid at altitude because of the non humidified air you breath is dehydration and that does effect how you drink and enjoy wine or anything else.
You may well be right as I have not traveled long haul for some time, I used to love flying detest it now spending half a day getting on a flight at some god awful hour is not my idea of fun, but I digress, and the amount of effort put in by MW to find the right wines may well have paid off, don’t know why MWs get the job I am sure I could taste my way through a few decent bottles at altitude and I would do it for nothing :wink:

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Yep, they (the white Burgundies) were at different stations.

I also like to go through the list over dinner. Was not disappointed yesterday with the two SA wines. The Cabernet actually tasted great. Might I just add that I did not have to pay extra… otherwise I might have approached differently.

I could see only one RSA wine on the list you show further up this thread, the Chardonnay.

Not clear about paying extra. The fare is the same whether you drink alcohol or not.

It’s no bother for me! In business/first class drinks are included in the fare.

In BA long haul economy drinks are included. Some other airlines do charge.

I also drink plenty of water, but I think this dehydration thing is overstated…

Emirates have an excellent range of board wine, and a staggering selection of premium wines and Champagnes at some lounges.

You are right of course, I should learn to read.

Interesting comment from the Jancis ethics page, referenced on the ‘reviewer turned reviewees’ thread.

‘There was a time when I was British Airways’ wine consultant which helped enormously with my travel costs but alas I felt impelled to resign in August 2010 after a change in BA’s wine buying policy. ’

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On the dehydration subject, the more recent airliners (specifically the 787 and the A350) run at higher cabin humidities than older planes. I did notice on my last flight back from Australia in February that I felt far less jetlagged after that leg than I normally do (it was an A350), though of course other factors may have played a part.

But drinking plenty of water is always part of any long flight for me.

Regarding food on Airlines, I used to marvel at the quality of the BA breakfast on the Aberdeen to Heathrow service. It was very good indeed.
Then I was told that to retain the singular provider service on the route , BA were obligated to give an above and beyond service, which for the most part, they did.
It could be great fun on the Sunday morning service and less that a dozen passengers receiving 1st Class service and a 2nd tray if you were up to it.

For the record, I almost never drink on flights. Having flown so many times , experienced incidents that would cause many a cardiac infarction and seeing how other passengers behave regarding alcohol, I resolved that in a proper emergency it would be better to not have my faculties impaired. There again I have the ability to sleep for almost the entirety of a long haul flight, even in the most cramped of seating. lol!

Turn left OR turn right, 30 minutes later…………….ZZZzzzzzzzzz!


:tired_face: I bloody wish …:baby::baby::baby:! If only my kids would let me :rofl:

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I have slept in the middle of a Welsh rugby field, sans tent, the concrete floor of a Blast Furnace changing room, a telephone box during a torrential storm, atop the straining engine of a 38 tonne HGV lorry whilst fully laden with roadstone (my finest hour) negotiating the roads of the Lake District or cwtched up in the smallest seat of a Chinook helicopter for 3+ hours. So planes are really a doddle!! lol!?