Delta Air Lines searches for its 2012 in-flight wine selections

Delta Air Lines searches for its 2012 in-flight wine selections

Luxury travelers learn to enjoy several perks while soaring high above the clouds. From spacious cabins to comfortable seats that convert into fully flat beds, premium passengers who hold first or business class tickets get their money's worth.

In addition to the carefully prepared in-flight meals that they are served, premium travelers are often offered a complimentary glass of wine. Although these passengers probably do not give much thought to airlines' wine selection processes, they are actually quite involved.

For instance, Delta Air Lines' official website states that Andrea Robinson, a master sommelier, personally tested every wine that is available aboard flights to make sure that BusinessElite passengers enjoy the wine pairings that go along with their meals.

According to BusinessWeek, having the right wines aboard their flights is important to Delta. The airline does not make a profit from offering the beverage, as premium passengers are served free of charge. However, the carrier does believe that having the best selection aboard international and transcontinental routes will not only encourage customers to continue flying Delta, but also tell their friends and co-workers, who may be just as likely to purchase business class airfares.

The news source recently had a chance to witness Robinson's selection process, which requires her to sample wines from countries around the world. It is the sommelier's responsibility to open each bottle, taste the beverage and then spit out each sip so that she can distinguish between the various options. By the time Robinson had finished this multi-day process, she had gone through approximately 2,000 bottles.

This process is necessary for Robinson to select 30 labels of wine and champagne that will then be available to passengers who purchase business class fares for Delta flights in 2012, the news outlet reports. The carrier plans to order around 1.6 million bottles.

"If it costs $20, it has to taste like $40," Robinson tells the news source. "That's what I'm aiming for."

Robinson adds that for a still wine, she looks for an option that is between $25 and $30 a bottle, while she prefers dessert wines to be somewhere in the range of $30 to $35.

According to the news source, at the end of the day, Robinson is searching for a wine that will retain its distinct taste as it is sipped by premium passengers who are traveling 30,000 feet above.

By Arnold Meyer

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