American Airlines is desperately trying to offload extra plane wine

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Bottles of wine lined up on white countertop
Photo: GEORGES GOBET (Getty Images)

The pandemic has taken a lot from us. Time with loved ones, social interaction, economic stability, and... drinking fancy wine on planes? Airlines are doing way less business than usual, CNN reports, and the majority have banned in-flight booze to reduce the amount of time flight attendants have to spend interacting with customers. (I suspect this is also to reduce in-flight debauchery.) That means there’s a lot of designated airplane wine with nowhere to go—which is why American Airlines is trying to sell and ship the excess directly to people’s homes.

The new program, called American Airlines Flagship Cellars, will allow customers to buy wine by the bottle, in custom “curated” cases, or via a $99-a-month subscription plan with a monthly three-bottle shipment. CNN reports that the wine would otherwise be served to customers with American Airlines’ “Flagship” tickets—basically, the fanciest seating option money can buy on international and transcontinental flights.


American Airlines told CNN that it estimates the new program will bring in up to $50,000 in revenue during the first three months of 2021. And that’s totally fine—I can understand why a massive operation would want to protect its bottom line in a time of crisis. It’s just that the rest of American’s messaging is a little fishy. “Though revenue is important, Flagship Cellars is more so a way of engaging with customers, even when they are not traveling with us,” a spokesperson told CNN. “It also gives them a taste of what you can enjoy in Flagship First or Flagship Business.” Sure, I guess. I may not be able to go to work, see my friends, make future plans, or spend time basking in my favorite local businesses, but at least I can get a taste of pricey plane wine. What I’d really like, though, is a shipment of lukewarm ginger ale and some Biscoff wafers. Now that’s luxury.