Wine flies free on Alaska Airlines

By John Walton, August 28 2012
Wine flies free on Alaska Airlines

Many business travellers appreciate a decent drop of wine, and one of the perks of travel is bringing home the odd bottle or two you've discovered on your most recent trip.

So here's a canny innovation from Alaska Airlines -- they've teamed up with local wine and tourism authorities to offer a "wine travels free" deal.

One case of wine can be checked into the plane's hold, completely free of charge and separate from your regular checked baggage allowance, on Alaska Airlines' flights from Washington state's wine region airports Walla Walla, Yakima and Tri Cities from 1 September.

Walla Walla has been testing out the system so far, and the expansion to other regions shows that it's a success.

Perks run in the other direction too: free tastings at local wineries for passengers who show an inbound Alaska Airlines boarding pass.

"The 'Taste and Tote' program has been a big success in Walla Walla, and we feel our expansion to the Pasco/Tri-Cities and Yakima airports shows our dedication to being Washington Wine Country's airline of choice," says Alaska Airlines' Clint Ostler.

Australia's wine regions, often located in areas that are more convenient to reach by plane than by car, should be looking on with envy.

If Qantas or Virgin Australia was to put in place a similar "wine flies free" programme, we reckon it'd be keenly welcomed by many frequent flyers.

It's not just for the wine-drinking public, of course -- both Australia's major airlines take real pride in serving local drops on board.

We can't help but think that there'd be a decent advantage in a bit of working together there... all of which would, naturally, benefit the discerning traveller.

What do you reckon? Which Australian wine regions should be lobbying the airlines for a "wine flies free" arrangement? Where would you like to see included in the deal? Share your thoughts in a comment below!

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John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.


04 Nov 2010

Total posts 670

This sounds like a great initiative, especially for 'wine tourism', the only problem is that there aren't flights to the actual wine regions, so maybe Qantas or Virgin would want to do a deal with a care hire company so you could hire a car for a wine region visit, as part of their promo, maybe get a reduced rate on it or something.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 784

Just back from Pokolbin and the Hunter Valley last week. You can ship a case of wine from the Hunter Valley (e.g. De Bertoli's) to Melbourne for $10~14. Way easier than carting it back to the airport, checking it in, etc. 

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