Air travellers today are expected to forego many small comforts, some in the name of budget cuts, some in the name of security measures, others simply because you're miles above the ground. Many airlines, however, are at least making sure that passengers can see the glass as half full – of quality vintages. Especially taking care of their premium priced cabins, some carriers have even hired consultants to create the perfect wine pairings with on board menus. Here are five of the top Business Class wine lists in the air:
'The Flying Kangaroo', Australia’s largest air carrier, certainly knows how to put together a wine list. Showcasing wines from some of the best vineyards in its home country, Qantas maintains over 60 selections from Australia alone, ensuring guests will have plenty of options, no matter the route. Customers in the mood for a bit of the bubbly can indulge in a Charles Heidseick Brut Reserve from one of the most famous Champagne houses in the world.
Visit Qantas on the web
Air New Zealand
Not to be outdone by its neighbors, the national air carrier for New Zealand also takes pride in its onboard wine selections and national vineyards. In fact, every Business Class passenger receives a Wine Guide detailing the country’s wine regions and wineries, as well as profiles of the airline's wine consultants. Travellers on some of the lengthy flights will enjoy selections such as Wild Earth 2008 Pinot Noir and Matariki 2007 Syrah. And just before donning the eye shades, passengers can sip on a Coopers Creek Reserve 2009 Late Harvest Riesling to satisfy the sweet tooth.
View the Air New Zealand homepage
While they may not be able to offer any indigenous wine, Malaysia Airlines uses the freedom to search for international gems. The list contains Spanish, French, Australian and German selections, and if passengers have any trouble making a choice, the certified Malaysia Airlines Wine Ambassadors (also known as flight attendants) can put their specialised training to use. The 2007 Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero or the 2010 Dr. L Kabinett Feinhard Riesling are safe bets.
Visit Malaysia Airlines online
Another national carrier without native vineyards to stock the wine list, the national air carrier of Qatar also picks among the world’s vineyards to pair with its onboard cuisine. The wine list includes selections from France, Italy, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Portugal. Perhaps the most striking are a 1999 Laurent Perrier Champagne and a 1974 Kopke Colheita Port, which wine enthusiasts may have trouble finding at their favourite hometown bistros, much less at a mile high.
Go to the Qatar Airways webpage
This airline certainly includes some of the best the states have to offer, but does not exclude international selections. Working with winemaker and viticulturist Ken Chase, the airline has a wide array of options for Business Class passengers, yet that selection changes according to the destination. Whether the passenger is being introduced to native wines they will taste when they land or getting re-familiarised with vintages from home, AA carefully selects its wines to coincide with the journey’s end.
More at the American Airlines website