While most major airlines have long poured Champagne in business class and Air France dabbles with it in economy departing from the United States, sparkling wine has rarely been seen on major US airlines. So it was surprising to see a 187-ml. bottle of Avissi Prosecco, it on its inaugural voyage on 1 June, on a trip to New York.
The fact that steerage-class wine selection has evolved from red and white to include bubbles—at an affordable $9.00 price point—speaks to how the mainstream consumer’s palate has changed and the ways in which airlines are looking to satiate it.
On several Delta flights taken in June the cabin crew were happy about the new addition—and ideally the sense of fun it could bring to the back of the cabin—but weren’t knowledgeable as to how it might different from Champagne. They also noted that few passengers had ordered it, perhaps because its arrival to the beverage menu was not announced during the flight. The product is listed in the “Flight Fuel,” menu as well as Delta’s Sky magazine’s food and drink page.
The Power Behind the Product
According to Beatriz Sims, general manager of international menu and product development, a Prosecco—either Avissi or La Marca—launched on all the airlines’ national flights in June and are slated to be served on international flights this summer. “Sparkling wine appeals across many demographics, [and is] seen as a fun way to elevate the flying experience—which is why we are expanding it to all our cabins,” said Sims.
The Prosecco was added to the economy lineup as Delta executives concluded that passengers care as much about the drink offerings as they do about the food. Prosecco’s appearance within this airline’s progressive food and wine approach was also pre-dated by healthy wraps—distributed in all cabins of service on some flights—as well as higher-end wines for sale both on flights and in Delta’s lounges.
Hopefully these small, beverage-forward steps will continue to be part of other major airlines’ drive to offer greater wine choices to passengers regardless of what class they may be flying in.
Liza B. Zimmerman