American Airlines to Offer Free Beer and Wine in Coach on International Flights

Cheers: American Airlines says starting Feb. 1, it will begin offering complimentary beer and wine to coach passengers on select international flights.

Which Routes Get Free Drinks

The free drinks will be available in the main cabin on the following routes:

  • Between the U.S. and Europe
  • Between the U.S. and Asia
  • Between the U.S. and Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay

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What You Get to Drink

As noted, this policy change covers beer and wine only, so forget the hard stuff. However, there is a fairly wide selection of wines to choose from (though some vintages are reserved exclusively for the refined palates of first and business class).

As the American website notes:

“[We] collaborate closely with classically trained wine maker and viticulturist Ken Chase to hand-select fine wines for various routes, paying close attention to menu parings, as well as the ethnic, cultural, seasonal and stylistic differences for each destination.”

There is no mention of a classically trained beer-iculturist, so you Bud drinkers may be on your own.

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Why Airline Changed Alcohol Policy

An American executive says they’re adding the free drinks to better enhance the travel experience, but that means giving up a certain amount of revenue, so their other reason for doing this may be closer to the mark – it “better aligns our product offering with fellow Oneworld alliance members” which include British Airways, Cathay Pacific, JAL, Qantas and more.

And If You Don’t Drink?

Don’t worry. Non-alcoholic beverages are always free on American, as with most other U.S. carriers – two exceptions being Spirit and Allegiant which charge for soft drinks.


Published: January 19, 2012