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American Asks 'Wine Not?' in Launch of Wine Delivery Service

American Airlines unveils plans to sell off higher-end and more exclusive wines that aren't being poured on flights via a home delivery service.

When life hands you sour grapes, you may as well try to make wine - or at least sell it.

In a statement asking "Wine Not?," American Airlines  (AAL) - Get American Airlines Group Inc. Report unveiled a plan to launch an "at home wine experience" that offers selections of some of its higher-end and more exclusive wines that it’s not pouring on flights or in lounges for home delivery.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier is aiming for $40,000 in sales through the Flagship Cellars program, following an 80% plunge in in-flight wine usage amid the unprecedented travel collapse caused by the pandemic.

“For wine lovers around the world, wine provides a deeper connection to the places they enjoy visiting,” American's Chief Customer Officer Alison Taylor said in the statement. “We created Flagship Cellars to provide more ways for customers to enjoy our flagship wine even if they aren’t flying in one of our premium cabins.”

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Under the program, customers can select from collections of mixed wines, build a custom box or purchase a monthly $99.99 subscription for three wines, including delivery, American said. The offer is open to anyone who’s least 21, and buyers can also earn miles in the airline’s rewards program.

American hasn’t been selling alcohol in its coach cabins during the pandemic as part of an effort to limit contact between passengers and flight attendants. In addition, sales of premium seats across the industry have been hammered by a plunge in business travel.

American Airlines' wine selection process consists of a review of nearly 2,000 different offerings, procured roughly a year in advance. Flagship Cellars' offerings include wine bottles that were previously served on American's flight menu about six to nine months prior to their inclusion in the program. 

Some 542,338 passengers had been screened through Transportation and Safety Authority checkpoints at U.S. airports as of Jan. 20 vs. more than 1.8 million on the same day a year ago.

Shares of American Airlines were down 1.2% at $15.64 in trading on Friday.