British Airways Concorde Room Champagne Bar: No Cristal

British Airways on the whole does a nice job across the Atlantic. Certainly their product bests anything offered by US carriers in premium classes, and is superior to most European flag carriers as well — Lufthansa offers better food and ground service at Frankfurt, and most would probably prefer Swiss, but BA has in my view the best seats and entertainment. (Here I’m excluding fifth freedom routes operated by airlines such as Singapore.)

But while their product is reasonably good, this review of British Airways first class really overdoes it with hype as exemplified by:

Things started to brighten up a little when we finally arrived at Terminal 5 and headed straight for BA’s Concorde Lounge. I planted myself directly at the fabulous Champagne Bar and immediately ordered a glass of Louis Roederer Crystal and challenged the bartender to supply an ample amount of fresh strawberries for the occasion. He complied and I was a happy camper sitting in awe below 50+ bottles of Champagne against the back wall of the bar.

Now, Singapore Airlines is known as the single largest customer for Krug. So airlines do serve outstanding champagnes in first class.

But British Airways does not serve Cristal (and it’s Cristal — not Crystal) in the Concorde Room. They may market the Concorde Room as offering a champagne bar, buts its offerings are fairly mundane.

This Flyertalk thread busts the reviewer for not knowing of what he speaks, and figures out the source of the confusion — the perfectly ordinary Lanson Noble Cuvee bottle (retail: ~ US$50 for a non-vintage bottle, perhaps $100 for a decent year) looks quite like a bottle of Cristal.

Here’s Cristal:

And Lanson Noble:

But that’s where the similarity ends. As Quentin Tarantino said in Four Rooms, compared to Cristal “everything else is piss.”

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary,

    Clearly you don’t know of what you speak. Anywhere you can find Noble Cuvee (which is a Vintage wine, not NV) for $ 50.00 buy every bottle you can get your hands on as it never sells for less than $ 125.00.

    As far as quality, Noble Cuvee routinely scores equal or better to Cristal with every wine critic out there. You really need to do your homework and not just accept the talk from society bloggers before you make such statements. Codos to BA for serving such a fine choice.

  2. A simple search will find plenty of bottles under $100.

    I’m glad such a choice is your preference over Cristal. It is a fine champagne, to be sure, and the Concorde Room’s champagne bar ought to carry it.

    But I think critics who regard it as the superior bottle are simply reacting against the modern appropriation of the Cristal symbol by a subculture with which they’d prefer not to be associated.

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