Which Airlines Serve The Best Champagne?

Which Airlines Serve The Best Champagne?

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For many people, champagne and premium cabin travel go hand in hand. If you’re embarking on a special holiday in style, there’s something special about hearing the cork of a bottle of champagne pop, and enjoying that first glass after boarding (or after takeoff, depending on a carrier’s policy).

In this post I wanted to provide an updated list of the airlines serving the world’s best champagne. I’ll cover the airlines serving the best champagne in first and business class in the air, and the airlines serving the best champagne in first class on the ground (there’s just too much variability when it comes to business class lounge champagne to make a useful list).

How I’m defining the “best” champagne

Like virtually anything you might eat or drink, “best” is highly subjective. So I’m taking a very simple approach here, and am ranking airlines’ champagne offerings based on the retail cost of the champagne they serve. Specifically, I’ll use the pricing from wine-searcher.com.

Let me emphasize that I’m not intending to suggest that something is better simply because it’s more expensive. It’s not.

However, there is generally a correlation between the quality of an airline product and the price of the champagne they’re serving, since it represents a significant investment (even at the discounted prices that airlines are paying). Case in point, Japan Airlines has expensive champagne in first class, while American Airlines doesn’t. 😉

Furthermore, any metric other than price is simply too subjective. Virtually all of these champagne options are highly rated, and reasonable people can disagree about which is slightly better.

I wanted to note a couple of major recent developments when it comes to the champagne served by airlines:

  • Emirates has an exclusive agreement among airlines to serve Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, and Dom Perignon onboard; this has caused other airlines to cut these options
  • Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle used to be a popular first class champagne, but Laurent Perrier seems to have had a change of strategy, and has presumably changed the pricing of its champagne, as many airlines have cut it
There’s something about a good glass of champagne in first class!

Airlines with most expensive first class champagne (inflight)

Which of the world’s top first class airlines serve the best champagne onboard flights? Here’s the list I’ve put together, though please let me know if I’m missing anything:

  1. Japan Airlines serves Salon 2013 (~$1,100/bottle) for flights from Japan and Billecart Salmon Cuvee Louis Salmon 2009 (~$220/bottle) for flights to Japan in first class
  2. Qatar Airways serves Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades Gold Brut (~$320/bottle) in first class
  3. Air France serves Piper Heidsieck 2013 Rare Champagne (~$260/bottle); Air France regularly rotates its champagne selection
  4. Singapore Airlines serves Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2012 (~$220/bottle), Krug Grand Cuvee Brut (~$200/bottle), and Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires 2007 (~$200/bottle)
  5. Emirates serves Dom Perignon 2013 (~$230/bottle) in first class
  6. All Nippon Airways serves Krug Grand Cuvee Brut (~$200/bottle) in first class
  7. Cathay Pacific serves Krug Grand Cuvee Brut (~$200/bottle) in first class
  8. Lufthansa serves Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle Brut (~$110/bottle) in first class; Lufthansa regularly rotates its champagne selection
  9. SWISS serves Pommery Cuvee Louise Millesime 2006 (~$180/bottle) in first class; SWISS regularly rotates its champagne selection
  10. British Airways serves Lanson Noble Brut 2005 (~$100/bottle) in first class on most routes, and Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2015 (~$240/bottle) in first class between London and New York
Japan Airlines serves phenomenal champagne in first class

As you can see, there are lots of great options here. Japan Airlines is in a league of its own in terms of serving a champagne that retails for over $1,000 per bottle. The catch is that Japan Airlines typically loads a single bottle of this champagne per flight, and then there’s a backup champagne.

So for some it will be a real gimmick, and you won’t even get a full glass. However, on some flights you’ll find that no one else drinks champagne, and you get the whole bottle to yourself (as I experienced on a recent flight).

I also think Singapore Airlines is worth calling out, as it’s the only airline that serves three great champagne options on every flight in first class. Talk about a nice choice to have!

Singapore Airlines offers three champagne options

Airlines with most expensive first class champagne (lounges)

I thought it would also be interesting to cover some of the best champagne that you’ll find in the world’s top first class airline lounges. I think it’s noteworthy that a lot of the world’s best first class airlines serve phenomenal champagne in the air, but only mediocre champagne on the ground.

To me that seems pretty backwards. Ultimately great wine (including champagne) can best be enjoyed on the ground, where your taste buds are most able to appreciate taste. Furthermore, many people may prefer to enjoy a nice glass of champagne on the ground and maximize rest in the air.

Take Emirates, for example — in Emirates first class you can enjoy Dom Perignon, while in the Emirates first class lounge you can enjoy Moët, which retails for “just” ~$50/bottle.

What explains this disconnect? I imagine it’s partly a matter of controlling costs. I suppose it also comes down to some airlines letting select elite members into lounges, rather than just first class passengers, so it’s potentially a lot more passengers.

Therefore I think it’s worth highlighting the airlines that invest in good champagne on the ground, because it’s largely a different list than you’ll find in the air. Furthermore, we’ve seen several airlines cut their first class lounge champagne offerings recently. Here’s the list I’ve put together, though please let me know if I’m missing anything remarkable:

  1. Singapore Airlines serves Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2008 (~$240/bottle) in The Private Room Singapore
  2. British Airways serves Pommery Cuvee Louise 2006 (~$180/bottle) in the Concorde Room London Heathrow
  3. Air France serves Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2006 (~$150/bottle) in the La Premiere Lounge Paris
  4. American Airlines & British Airways serve an impressive rotating selection of champagne in the Chelsea Lounge New York
The Singapore Airlines Private Room Singapore has great champagne

I think two lounge deserve a special shoutout here:

  • British Airways has long invested in great lounge champagne, in a way that very few airlines do, which is impressive
  • Perhaps the most luxurious part of the American Airlines experience is some of the champagne in the Chelsea Lounge, so it’s a highlight of the experience
The Chelsea Lounge New York has fantastic champagne

Airlines with most expensive business class champagne (inflight)

While you’ll definitely find the best champagne in first class, you’ll also find some pretty good champagne on the world’s top business class airlines. Before I share my list, let me note a couple of things:

  • I’m keeping this list to airlines offering champagne that costs more than $50 per bottle in business class (which isn’t to say that champagne over $50 is good, and champagne under $50 is bad, but I have to draw the line somewhere); that excludes what you’ll see offered on many airlines, like Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve, Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut, Laurent-Perrier Brut, etc.
  • I’d appreciate reader feedback here, as there are hundreds of airlines with business class and product offerings are constantly changing, so please let me know if I’m missing anything that meets the above criteria, or that you find to be particularly exceptional

So what airlines serve the best champagne onboard flights in business class?

  1. Starlux serves Bollinger Brut Special Cuvee (~$85/bottle) in business class
  2. EVA Air serves Duval-Leroy Clos Des Bouveries 2006 (~$70/bottle) in business class
  3. Emirates serves Veuve Clicquot Brut (~$65/bottle) in business class
  4. Qatar Airways serves Duval-Leroy Rose Prestige (~$90/bottle) and Laurent-Perrier Brut (~$50/bottle)
I love that Qatar Airways serves white & rose champagne

As you can tell, Qatar Airways is consistently excellent for offering both a white and rose champagne, with the rose being pricer than the white champagne. Meanwhile two of Taiwan’s carriers deserve credit for having an excellent champagne option as well. It’s possible I’m missing some great champagne options in business class, so if I am, please let me know!

Starlux has impressive champagne in business class

Bottom line

For many premium cabin airline enthusiasts, a great drink selection is part of the overall experience. The above are the airlines serving the most expensive champagne in first class and business class.

Let me once again emphasize that the most expensive doesn’t necessarily mean the best, as taste is highly subjective. I don’t claim to be a sommelier or wine expert, though I certainly do have my preferences. And I know many are also curious about what they can expect to be served onboard, so hopefully the above is a useful rundown.

Let me also note that airlines sometimes switch around their selections and vintages, so if I missed any options or airlines made changes that I didn’t get right, please let me know.

What’s your favorite champagne served by any airline?

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  1. SullyofDoha Guest

    @Ben, how about champagne in business class lounges?

  2. Scandinavian Traveler Guest

    Flew JAL F and QR F this week and the Salon 2013 was hands down the best champagne I have ever had. The Gold champagne on Qatar on the other hand was a disappointment. The rose was quite delightful though.

  3. Bruno Guest

    QR Singapore Business lounge serves Taittinger Prestige Rose which is over USD 80
    https://www.qatarairways.com/content/dam/hia/pdf/qr-singapore-lounge-en.pdf

    Last year the CX The Pier/Wing First lounge in HKG served Deutz Cuvee William Deutz which retails at USD 160, but they've unfortunately removed that one from the menu. Was amazing value for an Emerald travelling in economy.

  4. Matthias Wagner Guest

    Thai still serves Laurent Perrier Gran Siècle in First Class, récent flight 3 months ago BKK-LHR

  5. iamhere Guest

    Certainly not a reason to choose one airline over another...

  6. misterteeny Guest

    QR had for a while Laurent Perrier Cuvée Alexandra in Business, which LH serves in First. Imo one of the best Champagnes out there, though I in general love Laurent Perrier.

  7. Andrew Guest

    Cathay serves vintage krug, which should be quite a bit more expensive than what you quoted (I assume you looked up the non vintage version?)

  8. Michael Guest

    I was on a Qatar flight in business class less than a year ago where they were pouring the 2006 Laurent Perrier Alexandra. It was on a DOH - YUL route, I was very impressed! Not sure that’s still a thing, but it was recent.

  9. UncleRonnie Gold

    “Ace of Spades Champagne”. Sounds and looks like a cheap bottle of plonk.

    1. Hodor Gold

      It sounds like a Motorhead song, is what it sounds like.

    2. Jason Brandt Lewis Guest

      It's certainly not worth the price tag...

    3. James W Guest

      I had it recently on Qatar. It looks horribly blingy- but tasted ok. Wouldn’t pay $350+ though!

  10. Sam Guest

    Thanks for a great post as always Ben! One note on Air France and their LP lounge...I have not seen any vintage/millesime Champagne in that lounge since 2022. Now...I know that they have some off menu secret Champagne for high rollers and super elites, but there is no Veuve Grande Dame listed on the menu, sadly.

  11. Omar Guest

    Qatar also serving Bollinger Grande Annee Rose in F at the moment (in addition to Ace of Spades).

    EVA has LP Grand Siecle on JFK-TPE and CDG-TPE routes (though I found them to be quite stingy with it on my last flight as if they were aware of the cost or maybe not enough bottles were catered).

    1. Billy Guest

      They now serve Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle also on TPE-SFO and to LAX. They were not stingy at all when I flew them last time! Lots of refills!

  12. Likes-to-fly Member

    In what airline can I get the "cheap" Nicolas Feuilatte? I like this champagne, however I don't remember seeing it in the airlines I usually fly with.

    1. Bubba Guest

      Good question. If KLM still serves champagne in J, that'd be my guess. Nick is also heavily trafficked by the Swiss Coop chain of stores, and they pretty much supply the raw materials that Swiss serves, so I wouldn't be surprised to see that in LX J.

  13. Mantis Gold

    On my last JAL F flight, they only had a 1/2 bottle of Salon. I'm not sure if that's their standard procedure now, or if they load only a 1/2 bottle when F cabin isn't full. I was the only one drinking it, so I can't feel too cheated.

  14. Willem Guest

    Came here to say Qatar Airways “Ace of Spades” ♠️ champagne waa my favourite ever, finished the entire bottle!

  15. Eskimo Guest

    I'll take the bait and repost this.

    The Dunn Perignon NV would absolutely blow you away. The moment you pop it's cock, it will remind you how great airline you're flying but also telling the premium you paid doesn't mean it's a premium product. The experience is so overwhelming up to the point it should be a meme.

    The limited edition Dunn Perignon can only be found on only one single premium airline.

  16. Nate Dyer Guest

    Slow news day hey lolz

  17. flying_foxy Guest

    SWISS absolutely does not regularly rotate their First Class champagne. They’ve changed it once in about ten years, and it was recently.

  18. Cedric Guest

    SWISS has had LP Grand Siecle for a very long time (well over 12 years), they just switched. Previous to LP it was cuvé Louise. Cuvé Louise is actually better if you ask me.

  19. Ella Guest

    I do wonder how many flyers can tell the difference between any of these bottles. I’ve seen JAL’s Salon referred to only by its price online. In fact, it’s a stunning champagne, by taste.

  20. snic Diamond

    What I'd like to know is whether anyone can actually tell the difference between these expensive champagnes and cheaper ones *at 35,000 feet*. I find my perception of wine is completely different in the sky vs on the ground, which is likely because of the thin, dry air up there. What I'd like to see is blind taste test results - first on the ground to demonstrate the taster can tell the difference, then with...

    What I'd like to know is whether anyone can actually tell the difference between these expensive champagnes and cheaper ones *at 35,000 feet*. I find my perception of wine is completely different in the sky vs on the ground, which is likely because of the thin, dry air up there. What I'd like to see is blind taste test results - first on the ground to demonstrate the taster can tell the difference, then with the same champagnes in the air.

    My prediction is that no one can tell the difference in the air. Which would mean that all the hype about which airlines serve the best champagne and wine in F and J is really about how much the airlines is willing to spend to provide you with the illusion of luxury.

    1. Likes-to-fly Member

      Most probably I cannot tell much about the champagne, but I can pretty much tell the difference between good/premium sake and not-so-good sake served on a plane.

    2. Jason Brandt Lewis Guest

      "What I'd like to know is whether anyone can actually tell the difference between these expensive champagnes and cheaper ones *at 35,000 feet*."

      The answer is most definitely YES, but that's the wrong question to ask (IMHO). The real question should be, "Given the difference in taste perceptions at altitude, is it a complete waste to serve great Champagne in the first place?"

      You will always be able to taste A difference between Wine $$$$...

      "What I'd like to know is whether anyone can actually tell the difference between these expensive champagnes and cheaper ones *at 35,000 feet*."

      The answer is most definitely YES, but that's the wrong question to ask (IMHO). The real question should be, "Given the difference in taste perceptions at altitude, is it a complete waste to serve great Champagne in the first place?"

      You will always be able to taste A difference between Wine $$$$ and Wine $$, because they are *both* them and they're affected by the altitude. But will the change in taste perception that occurs due to altitude lessen the appreciation of Wine $$$$? This is why Singapore Airlines deserves praise for conducting their wine tastings in a pressurized room to mimic the conditions "at 35,000 feet." (It doesn't surprise me that they selected a Blanc de Blancs.) Obviously this is a costly expensive, but it is worth it to them and to the image they want to project.

  21. Tsunami Guest

    Nice post! Fun to see it all laid out.

  22. EK-Flyer Guest

    "American Airlines & British Airways serve an impressive rotating selection of champagne in the Soho Lounge New York"
    I believe you mean Chelsea lounge here?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ EK-Flyer -- Indeed. Updated, thanks.

  23. Gary Guest

    Qatar has been serving Armand de Brignac in First class recently, which retails at c$400 USD

  24. D3kingg Guest

    Is it still only $40 for Laurent Perrier ? Me thinks $44 or $49 now with inflation.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ D3kingg -- Hey, that's a great point! I just went ahead and updated that amount to $50, since I think that's more fair in terms of retail cost, and it doesn't change anything on the list.

  25. AJO Gold

    Here to await a certain frequent commenter with a remark about Delta serving Krug in their lounges... (if you pay/redeem miles)

    1. Super Diamond

      Only one thing is more obnoxious than the "certain frequent commenter" and its comments like this about them.

    2. snic Diamond

      What about comments about people who comment about certain frequent comments?

  26. Andy Diamond

    Unfortunately, LH F moved to Thienot, at least on some routes. This is not only cheaper (about 70USD), but also noticeably worse ...

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Andy -- Interesting, must be route dependent, because I pulled up the Lufthansa first class menu for this month from MIA-FRA when writing this post. I guess Lufthansa has long been pretty inconsistent with champagne.

  27. Kyle Guest

    Qatar hasn't served Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame in the Al Safwa Lounge for at least a year, maybe two. Their current menu shows Lanson Le Black Label Brut and a J.M. Gobillard Rosé. Here's the menu https://www.qatarairways.com/content/dam/hia/pdf/al-safwa-dining-en.pdf

  28. CPH-Flyer Gold

    @Ben

    You should check the menu for the Al Safwa lounge. The days of La Grande Dame are long gone. Now they serve Lanson Black and a vintage rosé I don't remember. But basically same options as Al Mourjan.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ CPH-Flyer -- That's quite disappointing, though I suppose not surprising. I updated the post to reflect that, thank you.

  29. Brian Guest

    Qatar first class has also been serving consistently Ace of Spades brut that retails for $320’making it one of the more expensive offerings.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Brian -- Didn't realize Qatar Airways is serving Ace of Spades, thanks! I updated the post to reflect that.

    2. Hldn Guest

      Better check the latest facts! Qatar currently Serves Laurent Perrier Rose Alexandra Rose 2007 vintage in business class (upwards of $200/bottle)

    3. Ricardo Guest

      I had Alexandra on flights to and from Doha during the World Cup in 2022. Spectacular champagne!

  30. Joe Guest

    While important for the brand. I find drinking champagne in flight to be the worst of all alcohol to consume. One glass pre take off would be lovely. Sadly most airlines don’t open the good stuff until you’re in the air, your taste buds are gone, and the bubbles sit badly. I actually think investing in a prestige red would be a better use of money.

    As an aside - big fan but the...

    While important for the brand. I find drinking champagne in flight to be the worst of all alcohol to consume. One glass pre take off would be lovely. Sadly most airlines don’t open the good stuff until you’re in the air, your taste buds are gone, and the bubbles sit badly. I actually think investing in a prestige red would be a better use of money.

    As an aside - big fan but the sticky ads on mobile make this site pretty unusable. I’ve happily clicked through and given you credit card affiliate revenue. I’d love to be able to use the site without obnoxious ads getting in the way of typing a comment on a phone.

    1. Super Diamond

      "worst of all alcohol to consume." in what way? Curious

      I believe Ben's noted he's working on a solution for the ads :)

    2. Crosscourt Guest

      Would be about time. There have been several complaints over the last couple of years.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

snic Diamond

What I'd like to know is whether anyone can actually tell the difference between these expensive champagnes and cheaper ones *at 35,000 feet*. I find my perception of wine is completely different in the sky vs on the ground, which is likely because of the thin, dry air up there. What I'd like to see is blind taste test results - first on the ground to demonstrate the taster can tell the difference, then with the same champagnes in the air. My prediction is that no one can tell the difference in the air. Which would mean that all the hype about which airlines serve the best champagne and wine in F and J is really about how much the airlines is willing to spend to provide you with the illusion of luxury.

3
Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Brian -- Didn't realize Qatar Airways is serving Ace of Spades, thanks! I updated the post to reflect that.

2
Brian Guest

Qatar first class has also been serving consistently Ace of Spades brut that retails for $320’making it one of the more expensive offerings.

2
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