For many wine lovers, a trip to California, Oregon, or Washington is a dream come true – the chance to taste wines they’ve never had and to stock their in-home wine cellars. This dream soon turns into a nightmare for many, when attempting to get that wine home. Either the winery won’t ship to your state, or you can’t bring what you purchased onto the plane.
Alaska Airlines has recently relieved some of this stress for its mileage members with their “Wine Flies Free” partnership. The airline, along with several tourism organizations throughout California, Oregon and Washington, has built a program where your Alaska Airline’s boarding pass gets you free wine tastings, and the first case of wine (12 bottles) you’d like to bring home with you checks for free! Here are a few details of the program:
California – Sonoma Wine Flies Free
This is a straightforward program where a case of wine will be checked for free, provided it is packed properly for shipping from Santa Rosa/Sonoma County Airport (STS).
Oregon – Oregon Wines Fly Free
Through a generous partnership with the Oregon Wine Board and Travel Oregon, Alaska Airlines’ mileage members enjoy free wine tastings at over 300 participating wineries and tasting rooms with their inbound boarding pass. Mileage members can also check a case of wine, free of charge, from any of the following airports: Eugene/Springfield, Medford, Portland, Redmond/Bend, and Walla Walla.
Washington – Taste and Tote
Like the California and Oregon programs, Washington’s Taste and Tote program allows for free wine tastings by showing your boarding pass and a free checked case of wine from Yakima, Tri-Cities/Pasco or Walla Walla airports. Additional discounts and perks from third parties are also included. Visit www.tasteandtote.com for more details. In addition to the Taste and Tote program, Spokane’s Cork District also waives tasting room fees for Alaska Airlines’ mileage members who present an inbound boarding pass.
Wine must be packaged in protective shipping containers, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires that the containers not be sealed prior to inspection by a TSA officer. Also, passengers should advise an Alaska Airlines ticket representative when checking a case of wine so that the container can be marked “fragile” prior to beginning its trip to the aircraft.