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Sacré Bleu: American Airlines Has Axed Champagne in International Flagship Business Class

Sacré Bleu: American Airlines Has Axed Champagne in International Flagship Business Class

a plane with a bottle of champagne

A glass of chilled bubbles in the form of Champagne has long been considered an almost mandatory part of the travel experience in premium airline cabins, but American Airlines has swapped out the French sparkling wine with an Italian imposter.

The apparent cost-cutting measure was introduced in AA’s international Flagship Business in July when Champagne was quietly replaced with Ferrari Brut Trento DOC, One Mile at a Time reports.

American Airlines describes its Champagne replacement as “lively and perfectly balanced” with “complex aromas of white flowers, subtle flavors of ripe apple and delicate brioche notes”.

You may already recognize Ferrari wines as the sparkling wine brand that motor racers spray on the podium of Formula 1 races. The sport switched to Ferrari Brut back in 2021 because, you guessed it, it was cheaper than Champagne.

A three-litre bottle of Ferrari bubbles can cost around $331 which is significantly less than the comparable cost of some super-sized Champagne bottles.

Despite the fact that Ferrari sparkling wine isn’t actually Champagne – because, of course, a sparkling wine has to be produced in the Champagne region of France to be considered real Champagne – the Ferrari version is still a Brut produced solely out of Chardonnay grapes.

So while Ferrari sparkling wine can’t be considered Champagne, many passengers might not even be able to tell the difference.

Earlier this year, Finnair decided to eliminate Champagne from its Business Class cabin on short-haul flights within Europe in a deliberate cost-cutting effort. The Helsinki-based carrier still offers a sparkling wine, it just isn’t Champagne.

The perception created by that difference is sometimes more important that the taste.

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