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British Airways launches new champagnes in First Class, ends Grand Siècle

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British Airways has announced a major overhaul of its First Class champagnes, introducing – as it announced on social media – ‘new champagnes from around the globe’.

(This is PR exaggeration. I did some digging into the new champagnes on offer and I can exclusively reveal that they are actually all from France …..)

If you’ve flown in British Airways First Class at any point over the last 12 years, you will have seen the distinctive shape of a Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle bottle.

British Airways First Class champagne

Grand Siècle was the only genuinely premium drink that British Airways served. However deep the cost cutting, the airline knew that it had to serve a high quality champagne in First Class to retain any credibility.

Whilst many producers actively chase airline contracts as a way of getting their product (literally) into the hands of good quality prospects – and I suspect a lot of BA First Class passengers will have bought some Grand Siècle (I have a bottle at home) – Laurent-Perrier has now decided to move the product out of the travel market. The implication from BA is that no airlines will be serving it.

What new champagne is coming to British Airways First Class?

The replacements for Grand Siècle look promising.

The First Class champagnes will now rotate, with Lanson NOBLE 2005 on offer from 1st March. This is around £140 at retail.

Future options will include:

  • Duval-Leroy Femme de Champagne 2004 from July to September
  • Bollinger Grande Année in October
  • Lanson NOBLE Blanc de Blancs 2005 from November to December

If you are flying to New York JFK before December 2024, you will be able to try Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2015 which sells for around £170.

There will be a different product in the Concorde Room at Heathrow Terminal 5. Initially this will be Pommery Cuvée Louise 2006. This is surprisingly expensive for a lounge champagne at around £200 per bottle – luckily (for BA) it is not self-pour in the Concorde Room.

All in all, this seems like a decent like for like swap by British Airways, and regular First Class flyers may appreciate the ability to try different products over the coming months.

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Comments (149)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Andrew says:

    Champagne does not come from “around the globe”.

    It is produced in Champagne, France. Not complicated…

  • LittleNick says:

    I will miss the LPGS the few times I have been in the CCR.
    As a note I have read that the Champagne on offer in the Al Safwa Lounge, So QR’s flagship is Lanson Black Label NV. Quite a downgrade to what they have served in there, nothing wrong with it of course. I did notice when I was in there last July, it was the same offering as in the Al Mourjan Lounge i think, albeit LP at the time.

  • NorthernLass says:

    I have decided that on my quest for Gold/Emerald this year I am going to opt for English sparkling wine whenever it’s offered!

  • Joe says:

    I’m not surprised about the LPGS removal. LPGS is trying to go the way of Krug. Instead of just being a premium non-vintage brand which is mostly harmonised in flavor profile (much like most NV champagnes you’ll buy), they’re now explicitly releasing editions (an ‘iteration’). Indeed Iteration 26 just won James Suckling’s wine of the year for 2023. I have mixed views on Suckling but I think the move (and accolade) is clear. Why sell bulk and low cost to airlines vs going after the premium, full price paying segment?

    There seems to be some die hard English Sparkling Wine fans here. It can indeed be good. I’d pick it over a lot of the Grandes Marques champagne. But it’s not competitive at the level of top champagnes which is what should be in discussion when we’re talking about First class. Having one on offer is a fantastic nod to English heritage, and it should remain, but you cannot offer a first class and not pour a first class champagne. Given the role of the British in the international wine trade, you could argue there’s nothing more British than fantastic French wines.

    I personally like the idea of variety and rotating something different every few months. I hope this doesn’t slip into an excuse to just downgrade the offering. Lanson Noble _could_ easily slip into a downgrade, at least brand wise. I think it’s interesting they’ve chosen it for in the air vs, arguably, a superior champagne on the ground in terms of the Cuvee Louise. But pouring the 2005, a vintage with some significant age on it, is respectable in my view. It’ll be interesting to see what is scheduled to fly in 2025, beyond the spectacle of this announcement.

  • Andrew says:

    It is self pour in the CCR, on the balcony.

  • Michael C says:

    My (pretty inexperienced) palate really enjoyed the English sparkling rosé in CW last year!
    And, however subjective it may be, Lanson just doesn’t sound very…sexy?!

    Fin de Siècle!

  • Andye says:

    Individual tastes vary but Duval-Leroy Femme is the best champagne I’ve ever had (bought some on a price-error a few years back). I’d put it above Dom, Krug, La Grande Dame, Comtes and Churchill.

  • Firsttotheleft says:

    Anything in that price range is going to be great and better than most of us drink in the real world. It’ll be nice to try some new things as well. Wonder what the self pour will be in Concorde room. LPGS by the bucket full was pretty luxurious. Crew wanted to give me a bottle on my birthday flight but I was connecting, not going landside.

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