Alaska Air Adds 18 Cities to Their “Wine Flies Free” Program

a map of the wine free

Great news last month from Alaska Airlines — through their “Wine Flies Free” program you can now check a case of wine for free at 29 airports, up from 11 previously! This is a great perk when destination wine-tasting, as the cost of checking a bag back home to bring wine might be as much as having the winery ship it.

Alaska Airlines originally launched the “Wine Flies Free” program in Sonoma over a decade ago and expanded it to include airports in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. But the original cities did not include some of the most popular wine vacation airports. If you flew into San Francisco or Oakland to go wine tasting in Sonoma or Napa, you were out of luck. The expansion fixes that–13 of 18 of the new airports are in California, the other 5 in Washington state.

a table with names and numbers

This should also encourage you to try some lesser known, but equally exciting wine regions. Seattle has a thriving urban wine scene and Woodinville has many wineries that source from the eastern part of the state. In the Bay Area, Livermore, Santa Cruz, and Gilroy all boast quality wines that are a shorter drive than Napa and much cheaper to boot!

How to check a case of wine for free on Alaska Airlines

  1. This is important — you must have a (free) Mileage Plan account with Alaska and have the number on your reservation.
  2. The wine must be appropriately packed for travel in a styrofoam or cardboard packing case. I haven’t tried it, but I’m guessing you can’t get away with telling the agent you have bottles of wine in your suitcase. Most wineries can provide or sell you a wine shipper. Or you can do what I do and use a Wine Check.
  3. DON’T SEAL THE BOX! It will need to be inspected. Alaska Airlines will seal it for you.
  4. Let the agent know you’re checking wine to make sure the fee is waived.

Important notes:

  • Only one free case of up to 12 bottles per person.
  • Only valid on domestic flights.
  • You can’t check wine for free on Virgin America until after May 2018.
  • The free case of wine is only departing the participating cities. If you want to bring your own wine shipper, such as the wine check, and are departing from any airport other than the 29 eligible airports, normal checked bag fees will apply. This is why it’s handy to have elite status or the Alaska Airlines credit card.

And I’m still in the process of writing my review, but be sure to take advantage of their free tastings at participating wineries. When I was in Willamette, I saved over $200 in tasting fees by showing my boarding pass!

Full Disclosure: I may receive affiliate credit from links in this post or on this site which will help fund my travels. Thank you for your support!

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