British Airways has appointed a master of wine to source and select the company’s drinks. The appointment follows the airline’s launch earlier this year of “The Wine Flyer” in partnership with IAG Loyalty. The latter enables members of the Executive Club loyalty programme to collect up to 10 Avios per £1 spent on more than 140 varieties of wine.
The new master of wine (a full-time position) is Tim Jackson. According to British Airways – one of the two main airlines operating at Gibraltar Airport – his role is to elevate the range of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, source new wines, and develop the airline’s wider drinks strategy for every complimentary beverage it serves on the ground and in the air, as well as curating menu descriptions.
In addition to selecting fine wines and sparkling options, Jackson is also leading the selection of the airline’s drinks portfolio across its lounges and on board. This includes championing the best of British beers, promoting classic gins and introducing innovative non-alcoholic alternatives.
“We are really excited to have Tim at British Airways,” said Sajida Ismail, director of onboard experience. “His knowledge and expertise play an integral role in our efforts to continue to deliver the premium experience that our customers look for when they fly with us and offer products that our colleagues are proud to serve. Going forward, we also have lots of exciting plans that will champion new drink offerings and celebrate the global network that we fly to.”
Tim Jackson added, “I’m delighted to be the first person to take this position at British Airways. As an avid traveller, I have sampled wine from all corners of the globe, ranging from California to Chile, so I hope my love for travel, together with my experience and knowledge of beverages, will make a positive difference to the premium experience we offer our customers.”
Jackson has already introduced new Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir wines in the airline’s premium cabins, including Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc in First and Grove Mill Sauvignon Blanc in Club World, both from Marlborough (New Zealand).
From January 2023, British Airways will also be introducing a wine-selection strategy in First and Club World, showcasing different destinations across the airline’s network that produce premium wines. “The airline will spotlight one destination at a time, to celebrate where the wines come from and the global network that the airline flies to. This builds on British Airways’ continued plans to bring a wide range of wines from around the world for its customers to enjoy in the comfort of their seats.”
The Wine Flyer
Launched in October, The Wine Flyer program offers wines produced by a country on British Airways’ global network, with a focus on both accessibility and quality. Prices start from less than £10 per bottle and the range includes premium brands such as Whispering Angel, Penfolds and Moët & Chandon, as well as beers, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages.
Avios is the global loyalty currency owned and run by IAG Loyalty. It can be collected either by flying or through everyday spending, and is used to purchase flights or upgrades with airlines including British Airways, Qatar Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus.
“By launching The Wine Flyer,” said Jack Smith, CEO of IAG Loyalty’s subsidiary, “we have introduced one of the most generous Avios earning platforms available. A monthly subscription will help customers collect enough Avios to fly to destinations such Paris, Barcelona or Naples in just six months.
“We know that wine is a huge passion of many of our members, so we’re offering a broad choice in country, region, grape, style and price point to suit as many customers as possible. We have a unique opportunity to bring customers a variety of wines, including those that they’ve enjoyed in the air on British Airways flights, or in its lounges.”