Many a slip twixt the plastic cup and the lip

lufthansa wine1

Friend of the blog and über travel blogger Mark Ashley sent in this photo from his flight from Munich last week: yes, he ordered the infamous Rich prosecco in a can! (We captioned their poster girl Paris Hilton last year.) Oddly enough, I’d just been noticing an increase in wine appearing in airline ads from Qantas to Air France to Lufthansa. Your theories as to why are welcome in the comments; perhaps it is because wine is a relatively cheap feelgood for marketing, certainly cheaper than giving you a seat that could, say, comfortably fit a human being.

In a jab at other airlines, Mark writes, “In Lufthansa’s defense, despite the wine being… middling… at least the wine is free.”

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10 Responses to “Many a slip twixt the plastic cup and the lip”


  1. Maybe the stemware is only available in 1st class?


  2. Lufthansa? Air France? Qantas? Those are foreign airlines, which are happy to give you a drink. American carriers–Delta and others–dare not mention the stuff in ads because that would suggest it’s free–just part of civilized service–when it’s not: They charge you a thieving five bucks or more for 6oz/187ml.


  3. Hey! Wait a minute!

    That’s not a Riedel glass in the ad on the left!


  4. Couldn’t agree with you more, Bill… there’s no bigger scandal in the “cheap wine” world than the miserable plonk that’s sold to the airlines in bulk and passed off to unsuspecting passengers for $5/187ml.

    This very issue became the subject of the Young Winos’ first foray into investigative journalism:

    http://youngwinosofla.com/?p=200

    Mark Ashley doesn’t know how good he’s got it until he hears the story of “Pacific Vista Pinot Grigio.”


  5. I don’t have anything to back up this thought, it’s more of a gut feeling, but it’s possible that the wine found on airlines is just a product of the wine’s marketing efforts. What better way to reach certain kinds of clientele than on the class system of a plane, your target audience is literally segmented for you.


  6. Jesse, if you are looking for the wine industry’s dark side, there are a lot of better places to look than this. From what I understand, airline wine selections (in coach class) are driven mostly by format. In other words, they sell wine in 187s, so only companies willing to put a boatload of vino in tiny bottles are going to get to play.

    These bottles may berun-of-the-mill juice, but it is what the airlines can SELL. And that is what seals the deal. They will never start messing with single servings from 750ml bottles because it is just too much of a hassle for flight attendants to store these, open them, fit them on cart, etc.


  7. You never get a can and a plastic cup in first class, but you always get a fine glass – Mark needs to pay up for a ticket! (I go for the beer or a glass of water in Coach class) As for the wine in the ads, its the bling life they are selling – the limo taking you to the airport, the glass of wine…what are they supposed to show, the lineups, lost luggage, cranky staff?!


  8. Back in ’96 and ’98 I got to fly KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) across the Atlantic a couple of times, first class. Wine was served out of standard 750mL bottles, though I seem to recall either tumblers or very short wine glasses. The quality was actually quite good, with multiple wine options for each course, and it was the first time I ever had Moscato d’Asti.

    Last year I was sitting in coach on Frontier Airlines and ordered a 187mL bottle of the generic chardonnay just for kicks. It was not the same experience.


  9. I would thank you from the bottom of my heart, but for you my heart has no bottom.


  10. I enjoyed every bit of your blog. It is very informative and helpful to me as well as to all the commentators. Thanks for taking the time to discuss on this. I will love to read more from you.


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