Living Life at 40,0000 Feet above Sea Level


By Chinedu Eze

Every moment counts in a lifetime and every moment one lived never comes back. This may be the philosophy behind the desire to make flight operations cozy for air travellers.

Depending on what you can afford, the level of comfort you get is determined by the class of seat you have bought.

Airlines literally transform aircraft cabin into a home for first class and business class passengers and in long-haul flights flight crew usher them to new haven during the duration of the flight.

THISDAY learnt from Emirates that stocking wine for passengers at the upper class is not off the cuff decision taken by airlines on the go, but a deliberate plan decided by connoisseurs and airline’s well trained staff that specialise in matching choice wine with the taste of the passengers.

Recently, Emirates feted selected guests and journalists to its wine- tasting event in Lagos, where the airline captures showcased how passengers’ taste buds are satiated with the choicest wine in-flight.

Emirates Airline’s Wine Ambassador, Victor Dituro, said the airline has invested over $1 billion in wines from 2006 till date and has about seven million bottles of wine within its seller in France.

“Some of the wines will be ready for drinking in 2036 to 2037. So imagine that we have wine that we will take for 15 years from now. We focus in wines from all round the world.

“Our Sommeliers select specifically; the wines we will put in the aircraft. Dom Pérignon is one of the champagnes, which we are presenting. Emirates has a long lasting relationship with Dom Pérignon for about 29 years.

“They allow us to have access to one of their most prestigious wines. It is a prestige for the company and our customers love it and they are happy to have such a luxurious product in our cabin and when they fly with us they are happy,” Dituro explained.

Dituro, who doubles as first class crewmember for Emirates said the airline invested so much in wines because it believes that it is not easy for people to have access to such rare wines in the world.

“We believe that our customers support the company a lot and they deserve the best. We believe that wines are luxurious product that people can have on board and the company doesn’t hesitate to implement whatever is the best for our customers, they deserve it,” he said.

Emirates Regional Manager, West Africa, Afzal Parambil, said at the event that wine on each route are carefully selected to complement the menu and include exclusives found only on Emirates.

Parambil said Emirates team of wine connoisseurs builds direct relationships with some of the world’s most prestigious vineyards to handpick and secure the most exclusive and rare wines for our customers.

“We serve 80 different champagnes, wines and ports on our flights on an average day in all classes across our international network. We source our wines from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and USA.

“We choose wines that are versatile, which means they are easy to pair with the wide range of meals on our menus. In just a few moments, we will give you a taste of this pairing experience,” he added.

Emirates Airline said it serves Dom Perignon champagne in its First Class Cabin and the choice of what to serve is whichever vintage is most common at that time.

“In every aspect of our business, our aim is to provide the best experience for our customers and we have curated a wine programme that is reflective of that promise. We are proud of the fact that our wine lists are comparable to what you might find in a top restaurant in the best cities around the world.

“Emirates invests heavily in its cellar and has established a robust wine programme in the last 10 years. At the heart of Emirates’ wine strategy is its unique approach to purchasing exceptional Bordeaux wines en primeur.

“Emirates’ own team of wine connoisseurs has built direct relationships with some of the world’s most prestigious vineyards to handpick and secure the most exclusive and rare wines for its customers. Emirates launched the Emirates Vintage Collection, which is a selection of fine wines, which have been stored for up to 15 years in our cellars,” Parambil said.