Why do we pay so much extra for that First Class airline ticket? Or even a less swanky Business Class ticket, which can cost as much as five times that of an Economy ticket?
Well, we here at BusinessClass, attest it to the comforts, the personal service, and, of course, the ever-plenty perks of premium air travel – which very often provides us with an exclusive experience that we may never have even considered before.
Many times, the finest of these extras appear at dinner time, when exotic and elaborate treats are personally served to you at your seat, or perhaps your suite. Freshly prepared, restaurant-quality dishes, often devised by world-class chefs, are common. But where airlines do differentiate, is in offering the classic combination of Champagne and caviar.
Caviar has been revered and sought after since the time of Ancient Rome, and has been a signature of wealthy and refined sensibilities ever since. And with good reason. The eggs, or roe, of the sturgeon fish are full of nutrients essential to human health and have been considered a powerful vitaliser throughout modern history.
Combine that with a fine glass of Champagne, whose strong flavours and significant spiciness tends to be better suited to conditions up in the air, and you have a formidable partnership.
Let’s take a look at which airlines do serve the vintage pairing, and which varieties they offer. We also make a note of the airlines’ on-board vodka, which is wonderful when chilled to wash down a serving of black gold.
Along with a fine selection of on-board dishes, and the airline’s customary 5-star service, Japan Airlines serves Crown Jewel caviar. The eggs themselves originate from Germany, while Korean company UMAC is responsible for farming and packaging them.
JAL complements its caviar with some delightful Champagnes: SALON 2004 and Henriot Brut Rosé Millésime 2008. Absolut vodka is also available on board, upon request.
Lufthansa offers two types of caviar on board their First Class cabin: Calvisius, which comes from an avant-garde fish farm in the Po Valley in Italy, an area rich in fresh spring water; and Kaluga Queen from China. In actual fact, Lufthansa passengers are such fans of flavoursome fish eggs that five per cent of the global caviar production goes to Lufthansa first class, making them one of the biggest caviar customers in the world.
The German airline often changes its choice of champagne, but usually offers Taittinger, Pommery, Krug and Laurent-Perrier, while Grey Goose & Beluga vodka are also available.
An airline that excels when it comes to dining and service – its unique “book the cook” menu being a major attraction – Singapore Airlines also serves the Calvisius brand of caviar from Italy, often alongside traditional servings of blini, sour cream, egg whites, egg yolks, and scallions.
Additionally, It is the only airline to offer both Dom Perignon 2004 and Krug Grand Cuvee, two of the most celebrated and highly-rated champagnes. Its on-board vodka is Belvedere.
Emirates has one the finest caviar offerings in the skies: Wild Iranian Caviar and the Chinese Oscietra caviar, both of which are beautifully presented alongside helpings of blini, egg whites, egg yolks, creme fraiche and chopped onions.
Wash the sensual taste of the sea down with a glass of Dom Pérignon 2005, or sample the vodka, both Grey Goose & Russian Standard, at the onboard bar on Emirates’ A380.
Another airline that serves the Italian Calvisius caviar in its First Class cabin, along with the traditional accompaniments, Cathay Pacific’s premium product is consistently exceptional.
The airline’s offering of Krug Grand Cuvée Brut Champagne and Belvedere vodka are also very welcome on a long flight.
Serving one of the most prized and expensive types of caviar, Oscietra caviar from Gourmet House. Qatar Airways also impresses with its presentation and service; a mother of pearl caviar spoon is provided, as is custom when dining on caviar due to the fact that metal is said to disrupt the distinctive flavours of caviar.
Qatar usually serves Krug Grand Cuvée Brut as its Champagne, which can be enjoyed at the sleek Champagne bar on the upper deck of its A380. Grey Goose is the brand of vodka Qatar offers.
Flying out of Paris, Air France is serving good quality caviar from the french brand Sturia.
Returning to Europe from USA, Air France serves Paddlefish, sometimes referred to as American Caviar. Paddlefish actually comes from a species of basal ray-finned fish closely related to sturgeons, the roe of which is classed as ‘true’ caviar.
The French airline offers a delightful choice of bubbly: Taittinger Cuvée Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2005 and Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2004.
Another airline that serves the popular Calvisius caviar from Italy, Asiana Airlines’ Champagne offering of Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2000 and Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires 1995 will keep any Champagne obsessed passenger happy. The vodka Asiana serves is Absolut.
Check out our previous article: Which airline serves the best Champagne?