United’s business-class passengers are drinking so much wine the airline is running out

Problem of a new vintage.
Problem of a new vintage.
Image: Courtesy United Airlines
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United Airlines worked hard to generate buzz around Polaris, the carrier’s new business-class cabin. They appear to have been too successful.

Demand for wine in the new cabin is four times more than what the airline anticipated, a United Airlines spokeswoman told Quartz. Those thirsty passengers are sending the airline scrambling to restock on the product it uses to lure well-heeled travelers. United is certainly not the first airline to boast about its wine program.

Part of the problem might be that United offers Polaris passengers not just single glasses of wine but “wine flights,” which feature a sampling of three different glasses of wine in one sitting.

“When we plan and buy our wines for the year, we purchase in large quantities, often even buying out the entire stock of a single vintage. This makes it difficult or even impossible to spot-buy more bottles when we encounter a shortage, as we’re in now,” warned an internal memo, as tweeted by Brian Sumers at travel site Skift.

The spokeswoman told Quartz that the airline is working with its master sommelier to “procure additional wines so that there will be no customer impact.”

Polaris business-class travelers enjoy not only free-flowing wine and spirits but a bigger seat, early boarding and 100%- cotton pajamas, so it’s hard to fret about their future cabin boozing. But just think of what would happen if wine were to run out for the rest of the plane?