The Top 10 Airlines for Booze — and One US Airline With Fewer Than 300 Elite Members

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I just flew Emirates F to GVA and had a their 2000 Dom Perignon P2 followed by 2004 Chateau Cheval Blanc (not to mention the 2005 Les Forts de Latour at the lounge). I wonder sure what Aeromexico/Southwest/Air Canada/United/Hawaiian or even Air France is serving these days.

  2. Maybe it doesn’t mean Gold Passport, but it’s amusing to me that Hyatt promo links still have a /gp/ in them 🙂

  3. Funny that you note AeroMexico is on the “best booze” list!

    Earlier this month, in reader comments posted on a sister blog, I specifically mentioned that the drinks on a pair of AeroMexico JFK-MEX-JFK flights in biz class were top notch, and that the airline does not play hide the bottle (ration) for its very well made cocktails like so many other airlines now do after the first round (even in premium cabins).

    As to United, I never really gave any thought about them as serving well made drinks, but come to think of it, on the many flights taken on them over the past few years, mostly up and down the US east coast (RDU, MCO, PBI) in all cabins, standard economy, E+, plus an occasional ride in the pointy end, plus three other flights to/from MEX in both economy+ and biz class (an amazing mistake fare of $339 roundtrip that was honored! 🙂 ), United’s drinks were pretty good, too!

    Mind you, NOT as good as AeroMexico’s were – but definitely better than a great many other airlines’ drinks are!

    As to the best inflight cocktails, that would definitely have to be British Airways’ Bloody Marys circa 1999-2000, while I was working on a long-term consulting assignment for the airline – but who knows if they’re still as awesome as they were back then (Worcestershire Sauce – WHAAAATT!!!)!!!

    …but AeroMexico’s Bloody Marys in 2016 were pretty darn close to being as awesome as BA’s were, that much is for sure!

  4. I’ve had all three of Hawaiian’s signature cocktails and agree with the author…they are delicious and with no preservatives. Not sure how On The Rocks (OTR) did it, but they are very good.

    Also, Hawaiian also serves a free rum-based cocktail to all coach passengers on domestic flights to Hawaii made by a local company called Koloa Rum Company. That too is quite good and you can buy a bottle at the company’s store. I’ve heard that Costco stores will also carry the beverage from time to time.

  5. Gary – what will the AA flight attendant picketing accomplish? If they all refuse to work the 737 Max, and the pilots also refuse to fly that plane and people stop buying tickets on Max flights, maybe that will draw the attention of stockholders who will get rid of Parker and someone can be brought in to fix a long list of what is now wrong with AA.

  6. Gary, One of the links is to WSJ asking me to signup for a fee to read it. Are you getting money from people who sign up?

  7. I had a recent Japan trip and flew ANA First out and JAL first back (to/from SFO), and ANA had clearly superior drink offerings (food was slightly better on JAL). E.g. Krug 2005 (ANA) vs Crystal, unknown vintage (JAL); or, more clearly, Hibiki 21 year (ANA; $650/bottle, and a multiple award-winner) vs Hibiki 17 (JAL; $300).

  8. @C – certainly not. Maybe you’ve read too many WSJ articles this month, I signed up for a free 6 month trial subscription five years ago… I keep extending the time it’s on hiatus [vacation/away] and I keep online access throughout. Of course many sign up for the miles.

  9. I think the airline booze list isn’t all that out-of-whack when you consider the author seems to value what you get in Y more vs what’s offered in J and F when determining his list. That was my impression anyways. That said, Singapore’s absence is still puzzling.

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