Fans of American Airlines’ first class wines can now drink the same premium bottles at home with the launch of the Flagship Cellars wine club. Olivia Palamountain reports

American Airlines’ Flagship Cellars is a new wine subscription service that gives would-be fliers and wine lovers a taste of the bottles usually be drinking on board.

The “wine passport” offers flexible subscriptions and build-your-own case options from a collection of red and white wines curated by Bobby Stuckey, American’s master sommelier. A monthly wine subscription that includes three prestigious wines costs US$99.99, including delivery. The introductory offer includes a free bottle.

Subscriptions may be for a limited time (while supplies last) and can be cancelled at any time. Programme and availability limitations on orders vary by state (it is only available to people in the US).

Stuckey and his team blind taste and review some 2,000 wines every year wines before presenting the best options to American team members for feedback. Using these notes and historical data on what has been most popular with customers around the world, the team decides which will join the award-winning American Airlines wine program.

Now available for at-home delivery through Flagship Cellars in partnership with retailer Vinesse Wines, this selection offers great value to customers both in terms of exclusive pricing and AAdvantage mileage benefits.

Members of the American Airlines AAdvantage loyalty programme can earn two miles per US$1 spent on every order when they provide their AAdvantage number during checkout (excluding taxes, shipping and fees).

“For wine lovers around the world, wine provides a deeper connection to the places they enjoy visiting,” says Alison Taylor, Chief Customer Officer at American Airlines. “We created Flagship Cellars to provide more ways for customers to enjoy our Flagship wine even if they aren’t flying in one of our premium cabins.”

A global catastrophe and a catalyst for change, the coronavirus pandemic has forced sectors across the board – from travel and aviation to hospitality and insurance – to pivot their business models just to stay afloat.

Creativity flourishes in desperate times and brands are now more reactive than ever before, amplifying and accelerating their offerings to reach consumers in innovative and unorthodox ways.

In a post-Covid-19 world, nothing is as it seems: destinations and airlines provide free medical cover to guests, airports are testing hubs, hotels have become offices, airlines and cruise ship operators offer journeys to nowhere and fine-dining restaurants flog take-aways.

Retaining traveller loyalty when so few people can travel is a huge challenge but initiatives like Flagship Cellars helps. It’s also been interesting to see how destinations such as the Maldives, which recently became the first country in the world to launch its own loyalty scheme, are trying to win customers in advance of them making bookings.

Last year, Qatar Airways was savvy enough to create a loyalty scheme called Student Club specifically targeted at Gen Z.

“Our brand new Student Club is designed specifically with students’ needs in mind,” says Qatar Airways’ group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker. “Travel is an important part of their life, with many choosing to study abroad for the duration of their university career or for a semester.”

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