At the Wolfe Research conference yesterday Glen Hauenstein remarked that Delta had 53 Sky Clubs open pre-pandemic and will have 53 open in June. There’s an emphasis on premium product coming out of the recent challenging period. Delta believes that by offering customers more they can get customers to spend more on premium products which are “higher margin.”
But what if they’re achieving that margin by claiming to offer a premium product, but they’re really offering something you can buy at 7-11?
I was genuinely surprised by reports about the complimentary champagne being served this past week at Delta’s Sky Clubs. They used to serve Veuve du Vernay which is inexpensive but at least proper champagne. However this week we saw the appearance in Atlanta of Cooks.
According to Delta spokesperson Drake Castaneda “Veuve du Vernay has and will remain our complimentary sparkling wine selection at Delta Sky Clubs.” It appears, though, that individual clubs are currently offering the cheapest and most available bottles they can find, like when the airline was pouring predeparture Andre in international business class.
Cooks and Andre both are sold at 7-11 (Some would argue that Andre is better than Cooks.)
Perhaps Delta just considers themselves to be the premium carrier because they offer bubbles at no extra charge in their lounges. In contrast, American Airlines continues to offer its Veloce red and white “exclusive label from Bobby Stuckey” but no complimentary champagne. These are the same options as before the pandemic
American Airlines House Red and White
And American Airlines, in fact, no longer engages wine expert Bobby Stuckey. That relationship appears to have been a victim of the pandemic (he was the their latest Ken Chase). American’s wine program is currently outsourced to Intervine. Spokesperson Leah Rubertino tells me “Later this year, we’ll have more to come on what’s next for our wine program. We really enjoyed working with Bobby, he picked some great wines!”
United, for its part, dispenses with the champagne for its ‘no upcharge’ offering and offers Mionetto Prosecco instead, along with Camelot Red and White.