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Mike Pomranz
June 22, 2017

Flying from the US to Australia is a long haul; you might as well do something productive while you’re on board… like wine tasting.

It’s no secret that Qantas has been working to upgrade its onboard wine program: Last year, the Australia-based airline announced that as part of its “Sommelier in the Sky” program over 150 cabin crew members had been certified as “onboard sommeliers” and an additional 2,000 plus team members had completed varying levels of wine tastings. Talk about a job perk.

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But what hadn’t been publicized until recently is that Qantas – who also happens to be the third biggest buyer of Australian wine – has been quietly letting its staff pass on their wine knowledge to flyers. According to a couple wine bloggers, on long enough flights, onboard sommeliers will gladly give a free tasting of available wines in the galley – and here’s the kicker – regardless of what class you happen to be travelling in.

“Time permitting, the sommelier will take you through a series of wines in a blind tasting where they will impart their vast knowledge,” wrote Drew from the blog The Wine Wankers. “Economy passengers, play your cards right, and the sommelier may even slip a few business and first class wines into the mix to see if you can taste the difference,” he further advises. Drew writes that though “admittedly they went a bit overboard because I’m a wine writer,” he was offered the massive number of 15 wines during his tasting. The Wine Wankers even posted a video from Drew’s experience.

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Personally, I first heard about this “secret” via major travel publication Conde Nast Traveler, meaning if Qantas really was trying to keep this whole thing under wraps, the cat is certainly out of the bag. It leaves you wondering whether Qantas may have to cut back on the service if all this press brings a flurry of requests. However, in many ways, the original blog post this news has stem from seems as much like a “leak” as an actual revelation – like Qantas was happy to quietly get the word out.

So are free wine tastings really the norm on Qantas flights? I guess there’s only one way to find out: Ask for your damn free wine! And maybe lie and tell them you’re a wine writer to boot.

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