A former British Airways wine buyer had an interesting piece in the Financial Times over the weekend (beyond the paywall) that she made available on her own website too.
British Airways is apparently trying to greatly reduce the price of its first class wines and has two inexperienced buyers trying to find drinkable ones costing less than 6 euros per bottle (yes – for first class) at the cellar door.
Here’s the excerpt from Jancis Robinson’s post (access the entire post here):
BA’s wine buying is currently in the hands of two young Frenchmen working for the parent company IAG who have no wine-buying experience. The dire state of their budget can be judged from a recent discussion on Flyertalk.com. The Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc then on offer in BA First Class was spotted in Morrisons at £5 a bottle, two for £9. Even more recently an Argentine Malbec that retails for $10 was served in First Class. All submissions in a recent First Class tender for wines over €6 a bottle from the cellar door were rejected. (The budget for forward buying of claret used to be €25.)
The glass of champagne that welcomes anyone who has paid thousands for their seat at the front of a plane is seen as the most important wine served on any plane. Even BA realise this, and have not (yet) pared Laurent Perrier’s Grand Siècle from First Class – although one can only imagine the negotiations that keep it there.
FIRST CLASS has left British Airways first class long time ago. It can still be reasonable option for those that have miles, jokers and upgrade vouchers to burn and who wish to fly direct from London.
My preferred way of flying BA’s business and first class is to eat something on the ground and then let the crew know not to disturb me at any point during the flight. I can sleep well in business class, although I hate the 2-4-2 layout.