What First Class is Drinking
Celebrity chef collaborations aren’t the only premium perks of note. Airlines are going above and beyond to deliver top-shelf wine and spirits to their customers.
There’s little denying that airlines have upped the ante on their on-board dining experiences for premium customers, putting their money where their highest-paying passengers’ mouths are. Over the past several years we’ve seen Suzanne Goin join Singapore Air, Daniel Boulud sign on with Air France, and Maneet Chauhan partner with American, to name just a few of the most recent high profile collaborations feeding first class cabins. What’s with the trend? “An international first-class passenger can generate more than ten times the profit for an airline compared to economy,” says Henry Harteveldt, travel analyst for the San Francisco-based Atmosphere Research Group. “And, though sleep is the most important amenity for long-haul first-class passengers, food and beverage also matter.”
Despite the fact that wine and spirits tend to get a back seat compared to the buzz around celebrity chef-driven menus, airlines have been pouring millions of dollars into their programs: Emirates has invested over $500 million in wine. British Airways has commissioned its own brand of gin. Lufthansa, ANA, and Air France partner with world champion sommeliers to curate their lists.
While higher quality in-terminal restaurants are increasingly a dime a dozen in airports around the world, and lounges have become so plush delays are practically a blessing, there’s ever-more to look forward to while you’re in the sky. Here, the top-shelf wine and spirits airlines are serving their first class customers now.