Hah: American Airlines’ New At-Home Wine Experience

Filed Under: American

With travel having been greatly reduced in the past year, it’s obvious what we all miss most — American Airlines’ wine. šŸ˜‰ Well, the Fort Worth-based airline has listened to that feedback with the launch of Flagship Cellars, an at-home wine experience.

American Airlines Flagship Cellars Wines

We’ve seen airlines undertake all kinds of initiatives to raise cash, given how much travel demand has been reduced. Along those lines, American Airlines has introduced Flagship Cellars Wines, in partnership with online wine retailer Vinesse.

With Flagship Cellars, American Airlines is offering to deliver the same wine to your door that would otherwise be served onboard. Here’s how this works:

  • American will hand-pick wines from its Flagship wine collection, chosen by a master sommelier exclusively for American
  • Anyone 21 years or older can select their wine preferences at vinesse.com/flagshipcellars
  • Customers can select from collections of mixed wines, build their own custom box, or purchase a monthly wine subscription, which includes three wines for $99.99, including delivery
  • Subscriptions may be for a limited time and can be canceled at any time; introductory offer includes an extra complimentary bottle of wine

American Airlines’ Flagship Cellars selection

In a press release, it’s claimed that “American has built a reputation for its thoughtful selection of award-winning wines that represent unique regions and flavors from around the world.” Right, that’s what American has developed a reputation for…

The economics of this aren’t entirely clear to me:

  • Is American Airlines actually trying to sell its inventory of wine, and is working with Vinesse to do that?
  • Or is American essentially just marketing existing Vinesse wine, and getting a commission for doing so?

Earn two AAdvantage miles per dollar spent

As an added bonus for buying airline wine, you can earn two American AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on every order from this wine collection. To take advantage of this, provide your AAdvantage number during check-out. You don’t earn bonus miles on taxes, shipping, and fees.

American Airlines’ Flagship Cellars selection

What kind of wines are available for purchase?

There are several ways you can go about buying wine through this offer:

  • You can buy a Flagship Cellars collection, which includes anywhere from three to 12 bottles, ranging in cost from $49.99 to $399.99; you can either buy all the same type of wine (all red, all white, all champagne, etc.), or a mix
  • You can buy bottles of the specific wines that you want, ranging in price from $12.99 to $39.99 per bottle
  • You can buy a monthly selection of three wines for $99.99 including delivery, should you want a surprise

American Airlines’ Flagship Cellars selection

Is the pricing through American Airlines Flagship Cellars actually good? In each case it’s suggested that the savings are significant, though I’m not sure that’s actually the case. Let me compare pricing for a couple randomly chosen wines to that of K&L (which is otherwise my favorite online wine retailer):

  • The “NV Deutz Champagne, France ‘Classic’ Brut” sells for $34.99 and it’s suggested that the normal price is $45, but K&L is also charging $34.99
  • The 2015 “Domaine Drouhin Dundee Hills, Oregon Pinot Noir” sells for $38.99 and it’s suggested that the normal price is $45, but K&L is charging $39.99

In some cases the pricing here may represent a modest discount, but this really doesn’t seem to otherwise be the kind of pricing you’d expect if a company is trying to liquidate inventory, which makes me think that maybe this isn’t American Airlines’ wine inventory at all.

I should also mention that while American Airlines is currently selling Krug champagne in Admirals Clubs (due to Flagship First Dining being closed), this unfortunately isn’t available for online purchases. The price of Krug is actually good, though the problem is that you have to consume it in the Admirals Club.

Bottom line

American Airlines is now selling wine directly to consumers in partnership with Vinesse. It’s not entirely clear whether this is just a marketing partnership, or if American is actually liquidating its wine inventory this way, given how much flight schedules have been reduced.

There’s something hilarious about people buying airline wine to enjoy at home. It’s one thing if the pricing here were amazing, but based on a couple of comparisons, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Does anyone plan on making a purchase through American Airlines’ Flagship Cellars program? Is there anything I’m missing that does represent a great deal?

  1. IDK lol. In Chicago I have been able to get great deals from local restaurants on wines. A lot of steakhouses have surpluses of wine they are trying to get rid of. Itā€™s not uncommon for them to sell the wine to go right above their cost (which is much lower than retail) since they are sitting on so much of it and indoor dinning here has been closed for almost 90 days. Donā€™t think I would participate in this. Also itā€™s interesting because airlines pick wines that are allegedly ā€œbetterā€ at altitude. There was a pretty cool video awhile back explaining how they chose them.

  2. This is targeted marketing by that wine company, with the AA brand slapped on top, itā€™s not inventory reduction.

  3. Yes. If Iā€™m going to buy a bottle of champagne in the near future i value AA miles over BevMo / totalwine points. But on the other hand at the $40 price point here in texas weā€™re already talking Perrier Jouet, Piper Hiedsek, Tattinger, etc.

    maybe this will benefit someone buying in bulk and entertaining.

  4. Prices are good, not amazing. However, it seems like shipping cost is around $10/bottle, which makes it decidedly not a good deal.

  5. New customers wanting a bunch of not-bad wine would be better off trying the intro offer for nakedwines.com. Not a wine snob but I drink a fair bit, thought their stuff was pretty good. Full disclosure: no affiliation with nakedwine, not gonna give you a referral code. I did their intro offer, ordered $200 of stuff in a subsequent order, ended up cancelling the subscription when they failed to deliver that second order to me in a timely fashion. The intro offer is a good deal assuming it reaches your doorstep.

  6. These wine clubs are so disappointing. Vinesse, Naked Wines, Wine Insiders, Winc. They are all the same – thin, uninspiring wines that are a decent price but not a decent value. A trip to your local wine store or even Trader Joes will result in better wines and a better value. I lost all respect for American Airlines wine on 2019 business class flight to LHR and the options were a “peenot neer” and a “coats du rones”. I understand that some Greek wines are tough to pronounce but knowing a pinot and a CĆ“tes du RhĆ“ne shouldn’t be too big a stretch for a flight attendant in international business class.

  7. What?? $27 for shipping a bottle of champagne to FL? Forget it..I’m doing curbside pickup at ABC or TotalWine!

  8. Hmmm… I’ve seen similar deals (not identical, roughly similar) from United’s shopping portal, as well. The thing is, I can just drive over to my local Total Wines and More, TRader Joe’s (a very underappreciated wine seller), or to High Times in Costa Mesa, Southern California, and get the same wines for a lot less. I applaud airlines and wineries and distributors trying to be creative and drum up business, but unless the wines are very special or very inexpensively priced, I just don’t see this as being a long-term buy for the average consumer. I say this as a wine club member of two Temecula wineries and a bit of a wino myself. Its a nice idea, a nice try, but just that… Nice.

  9. Random AA Marketing VP: “Step lively, people! Any minute now and these web orders are going to start pouring in!”

    *(inebriated) crickets chirping*

  10. American selling wine .
    Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways selling airline food in little restaurants at airport for those who are missing airline meals
    Eva offering 2 hour trips around Taiwan and the sea and back home
    BA selling upmarket travel luggage containing a piece of their dismantled 747

    Any more I have missed ???

  11. It requires a 21 years old or older to sign for the purchase. My husband and I will be at work. Now, we do not know what they will do with our purchase. We were so used to of having our products left on the porch. We were so excited at first, but it is now a hassle. We should have thought through.

  12. Why someone would pay these exorbitant prices, and high shipping charges on top of that, for an unknown wine is beyond me. I’ve enjoyed some of the Vinesse/Groupon/WSJ Wines on the intro offers for $6-8 per bottle and free shipping, but that’s a reasonable risk for what is occasionally a clunker. But paying these prices for wines that have been stored under unknown conditions for who knows how long? Just silly.

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