Wine Wednesday: Free Airline Lounge Booze

by on May 15, 2013 · 22 comments

in Club Lounges, Wine Wednesday

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Although we normally span the globe for our Wine Wednesday series in search of delicious wine regions, we thought it would be fun to mix things up today and cover the booze that many of us are likely to be drinking in transit: the complimentary beverage selection at airline lounge bars. We’re sticking to the free drinks with this compilation, but many lounges also offer premium or top-shelf options as well for purchase.

See what's on tap at Delta's Sky Club bars.

See what’s on tap at Delta’s Sky Club bars.

Remember, even if you don’t have membership in these individual airline lounges, if you have the personal Amex Platinum, Mercedes-Benz Platinum or Business Platinum cards, you can get into them all except United Clubs.

American Admirals Club

Although the list on this FlyerTalk thread hasn’t been updated for a while and offerings can vary from lounge to lounge, here’s a list of what you’re likely to find at American’s domestic lounges.

  • Spirits: Gordon’s or McCormick Vodka, Gin, Rum, Early Times or Sutton Club Whiskey, Juarez Tequila
  • Wines: Trinity Oaks Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
  • Beers: Budweiser, Coors Light, Miller Lite
Admirals Club lounges offer several complimentary beverage choices - none are that interesting though.

Admirals Club lounges offer several complimentary beverage choices – none are that interesting though.

Delta recently downgraded revised its list of complimentary beverages served in its domestic Sky Clubs per this FlyerTalk thread. Per the Delta representative on FlyerTalk:

“Delta Sky Clubs are changing the selection of both complimentary and for-purchase premium alcoholic beverages beginning tomorrow. Complimentary well-known alcohol brands will still be provided at the Club just as they have been.

Altering our complimentary offerings will enable us to expand our portfolio of premium for-purchase products and maintain complimentary spirits, beer and wine as we continue to invest in the overall Club experience. We review our Club offerings periodically so that we are able to make changes based on customer feedback, financial considerations and other factors including the variety of options we offer our members.

The new offerings are comparable to house/well brands in other airport lounges.

  • Complimentary spirits: Vodka – Gordon’s; Gin – Gordon’s; Rum – Myers’s Platinum; Scotch – Scoresby; Bourbon – Jack Daniel’s; Sweet Vermouth – Martini & Rossi; Extra Dry Vermouth – Martini & Rossi.
  • Complimentary beer: Budweiser and Miller Lite
  • Complimentary wine: no changes to current wine offerings

Other brands will be available through our for-purchase options available through our Luxury Bar. Our goal is to offer members quality products and services at reasonable prices that are competitive with other airport lounges while continuing to provide good value for membership.”

United Club

A definitive list is hard to come by but according to anecdotal reports you can expect to find the following in United Clubs (please share your findings in the comments below and we’ll add them to the list).

  • Spirits: Smirnoff Vodka, Bacardi Rum, Gordon’s Gin, Jose Cuervo Tequila, Canadian Club Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s, Seagram’s 7, Kahlua, Campari, Crown Royal Brandy
  • Wines: House wines
  • Beer: Miller Lite, Bud Light


US Airways Club

Although it’s unclear what will happen to these post-merger, for now, here’s what you can expect at US Airways Clubs. The one big drawback is that US Airways only offers complimentary beer and wine but not spirits (come on!).

  • Wines: Beringer Chardonnay, Beringer Merlot, Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Beers: Bud Light, Budweiser, possibly Becks

While far from impressive, these lists are still better than what they were a few years ago – especially since many airline club lounges stopped serving complimentary alcoholic beverages for a while a few years ago. While I still might choose to go to a bar in a terminal and pay for a drink instead of opting for the complimentary ones here – or worse, paying for “premium” options even at discounted prices, at least there are some offerings in domestic airline clubs these days.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Jon p

    United club also offers a regional beer (sierra Nevada in west, Sam Adams Ne, shiner bock in the south) as well as dewers white label

  • Ivan Randall

    From my experience, United Club usually has Bud Light, Heineken and a local/regional option, like Sierra Nevada in CA, Shiner Bock in TX, Sam Adams in MA and Yuengling in PA & FL. For a domestic lounge, I’d say they have the best complimentary beer options.

  • allstar

    Both american and delta generally have more options than those listed above. A local beer is usually available and I’ve seen either red or black label johnny walker at every location.

  • TPup

    i think delta has some type of blue moon beer on tap at their skyclubs.

    is there a list of snacks available at the different clubs?

  • jmw2323

    I see no one serves a decent beer on the house

  • dbftravel

    United usually has Beefeater’s Gin. And ironically, the “local” beer in Denver is Coors Light… Chicago has Goose Island Honker’s Ale. The clubs in Houston–especially the B concourse make great spicy bloody marys.

  • Bob

    Delta recently downgraded ENHANCED revised its list of complimentary beverages served in its domestic Sky Clubs
    This airline is being run like a dictatorship, it just shows you that in any oligopoly arrangement, the customer will always get screwed…Econ 101, the Feds need to take a close look at all these “enhancements”, their behavior is truly unbelievable…

  • Alex

    It always surprises me that the club selection doesn’t more closely match the in-air selection. You would think these spirit brands would want consistent placement for branding reasons. Ironically, Woodford and Avion are cheaper in the air than as a dues paying Skyclub member on the ground.

  • smitty06

    I get Bailey’s at United Clubs

  • Sam

    I can confirm the United lounge at SFO has Sierra Nevada and I think Brew Free IPA on draught as part of their complimentary selection as of about a month and a half ago.

  • Pingback: Wine Wednesday: Free Airline Lounge Booze | The Points Guy | Which Wine Is Sweet()

  • Andrew

    International lounges are the best. Air France lounge in Boston offers Heineken, Budweiser, Smirnoff, Beefeater, Cuervo, Martini and Rossi, Bacardi, red, white, and sparkling wines all self-serve along with a range of mixers and a buffet of hot and cold foods.

  • Chris

    The Emirates Business Class Lounge in Dubai offers Grey Goose Vodka, Johnny Walker Red Label, Veuve Clicquot Champagne, and many high end items. You pay for it in the ticket price though!

  • Chris

    The Emirates Business Class Lounge in Dubai offers Grey Goose Vodka, Johnny Walker Red Label, Veuve Clicquot Champagne, and many high end items. You pay for it in the ticket price though!

  • SK

    I’m pretty sure the Feds do not need to be overly concerned with the brands of free alcohol that is provided in airline lounges.

  • SK

    Edit: are provided

  • DavidYoung2

    Anybody know what the Centurion Club serves in Las Vegas?

  • DCA-Flyer

    I know it’s mainly domestic lounges covered here, but the United Global First Lounge in ORD has a dramatically upgraded selection, some of which retail for $50+USD per bottle. I took a photo of the spread when I was there two weeks ago, and here are a few of them:

    - Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
    - Clos Du Val Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
    - Etude Pinot Noir 2010
    - Terrazas de los Andes Single Vineyard Malbec 2008
    - Stag’s Leap Artemis 2010 Cabernet

    - Groth Sauvignon Blanc 2012
    - Santa Magherita Pinot Grigio 2012
    - Stag’s Leap Karia Chardonnay 2009

    - Veuve Clicquot NV

  • BringBackRealDrinksDelta

    Delta USED to have more options. Now at best they will charge you extra and more likely they just won’t have them.

  • K-Ming Lee

    Wtf. This really makes me angry being a PM and reserve card holder.

  • Wanderingentrepreneur

    I’m always amazed when delta refers to its changes as “enhancements.” Gordon’s vodka is awful, and its a serious downgrade from absolut (which isn’t even great on its own). I’m glad my DM status and my Delta reserve card are getting me so much value…

  • Travelista

    Wow, I didn’t even know they made vodka! I avoid their gin, too!

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