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Jim Eagles: A savvy win for a budget airline

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Jetstar took out the award for best business class white in the Cellars in the Sky competition. Photo / Supplied
Jetstar took out the award for best business class white in the Cellars in the Sky competition. Photo / Supplied

If you happen to be one of those travellers who chooses an airline on the basis of the quality of its wine list then you might be surprised to hear that Aussie budget carrier Jetstar is a pretty good bet.

At the annual Cellars in the Sky competition, run by Business Traveller magazine, Jetstar came equal first - with Delta Air Lines - in best business class white with its New Zealand Waipara Hills sauvignon blanc. It also took second place for best on-board business class cellar.

As you might imagine, that's the first time a low-cost airline has featured in Cellars in the Sky, so it's quite an achievement for Jetstar.

The airline offers business class on all its longhaul A330 services. I haven't tried it myself, and I see some commentators claim it's more like premium economy, but a colleague who flew Jetstar business class to Singapore last year reckoned it was pretty good.

Another New Zealand sauvignon blanc, Spy Valley 2010 from Marlborough, won equal second place in best business class white for All Nippon Airways.

That apart, it was a rather lean year for New Zealand airlines and wines in the Cellars in the Sky awards.

Air New Zealand, which often does well, this time had to be satisfied with runner-up for best presented wine list.

The big winner this year was Jetstar's parent, Qantas, which gained some welcome relief from its widely publicised financial woes by picking up a pile of awards.

Qantas was judged to have the best wine cellar overall, won best business class cellar and best first class cellar, best business class red and best wine list presentation, as well as collecting runners-up awards for its white, sparkling and fortified wines in both business and first class.

Of the airlines that fly to New Zealand, Malaysia Airlines, Emirates, LAN, Korean Air, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines all won awards. You'll find the full list on businesstraveller.com.

Happy travelling.

- NZ Herald

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