Alaska Airlines offers to check a case of wine for free (even for general members) on flights departing Sonoma County airport in California, Pasco/Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and Yakima in Washington state, and any airport in Oregon.
Apparently wineries found that checked baggage fees were a stopper for out of state passengers who didn’t want to make wine purchases and then have to add a cost to transport the wine home.
Some wines of course are much more accessible at a winery, others can be obtained at home or by mail, and the checked bag fees can flip the calculation of whether it’s worth schlepping as well and emotionally grate on the customer.
As a result of the program, Alasks has gone from checking 2 cases of wine per week per participating airport to 30 — and that’s without the program having widespread consumer awareness.
Do it for the Points wrote about the program, based on a a CNBC article which claims the program generates $250,000 – $500,000 in incremental sales a month during peak season in Walla Walla, Washington alone.
I think that’s an exaggeration. If we assumed that each of the 3 participating Washington state airports shipped an incremental 28 cases per month, and every one of those cases originated in Walla Walla rather than other wine regions of the state, then Walla Walla wineries would at most be selling an extra 84 cases. While it’s likely not even half of this amount, if the average case was $480 then 84 cases would amount to $40,320 — a far cry from half a million, but still meaningful.
Many wineries now apparently waive tasting fees (in regions where such a fee is customary) for Alaska Airlines passengers who show a boarding pass stub.