Picture it: You're on vacation somewhere on the West Coast and you've discovered the best pinot you've ever tasted. Of course, you have to buy a case. If you got to your new favorite winery via Alaska Airlines you can bring those bottles home for free now that the airline has expanded its "Wine Flies Free" program to 18 cities.
The mileage-plan perk began in 2007 right here at the Sonoma County airport and now includes airports from San Diego to Seattle. The program waives the $25 baggage-check fee for one case of wine (12 bottles) at 29 airports on the West Coast. Previously, the perk was only available at 11 airports.
The program covers those whose wine tasting adventures take them to California, Oregon, Washington or Idaho. Many wineries in Washington and Oregon even offer free tastings if you show proof of your Alaska Airlines boarding pass.
The winery will happily box your case of vino with either foam-lined or molded cardboard inserts ready for travel. From there you can take the unsealed case to the check-in counter for your domestic flight on Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air or Sky West. (Virgin America joins the program in May.) The mileage plan number on your reservation holds a redeemable credit of $25 allowing your wine to be stored in the cargo hold free of charge.
The only sour grapes of this deal is that the offer is good for one case on domestic flights only. And remember to drop your case at the check-in counter as there are no drinks allowed in the TSA security line.
The full list of cities in the program by state are:
California: Burbank, Fresno, Los Angeles, Monterey, Oakland, Ontario, Orange County, Palm Springs, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Sonoma
Idaho: Boise and Lewiston
Oregon: Eugene, Medford, Portland, and Redmond
Washington: Bellingham, Pasco, Pullman, Seattle, Spokane, Walla Walla, Wenatchee, and Yakima
Find more information about the program here