When Alaska Airlines started flying in and out of the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport in 2007, part of the deal with the local government and tourism officials was to promote purchase of wine by waiving the fee to check a case of wine on departure.
There are a few catches but still a great benefit for wine lovers: it only applies if your flight destination is within the USA, you must be a member of the airline’s frequent flyer program, and the wine has to be packed for travel – not in the boxes without cushioning.
And, the TSA may open up wine bottles. If they do, they will re-seal them, according to the airline. The program includes Alaska Airlines flights operated by Alaska, Horizon and Skywest Airlines. Virgin America flights will be added to the program in May.
Now, the airline is expanding the “Wine Flies Free” program to 29 West Coast airports serving wine regions. This is a great opportunity to stock up on wines that you might not find at your local stores.
It turns out that quite a few new California airports have been added to the list, including San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, LAX, Burbank, Fresno, Monterey, Ontario, Orange County, Palm Springs, Sacramento, San Diego and Santa Barbara.
When you add a valid Mileage Plan number to your reservation, you’ll receive a $25 fee waiver to check one case of wine on Alaska Airlines flights departing from participating West Coast cities. Idaho has over 50 wineries, 3 American Vinicultural Areas, and more than 1,300 acres of vineyards so will be great for Idaho visitors.
Former USA Today reporter Doug Levy lives in New York City and spends a lot of his free time searching for great food and wine. As a PR pro, he specializes in healthcare and life sciences. Doug enjoys sharing his culinary observations which you can also read on his personal blog at Food and Wine World.