Wow! That's really interesting. And all this time, I thought that the wines I have had on my airline flights were just cheap junk, picked by the airline because they were cheap. And to think that it was because I was traveling at altitude and was tense and dehydrated. Not only that, according to some research done by the "Defence Institute of Applied Physiology and Sciences" in Delhi" published in the International Journal of Meterology entitled, "Effect of high altitude on sensitivity to the taste of phenylthiocarbamide," the authors suggested that high-altitude hypoxia in some way, possibly involving changes in hormonal profile among other factors, caused an alteration in sensitivity to the taste of PTC. Maybe on my flights I was just hypoxic and non compos mentis enough to not be able to ascertain the true taste of the wine. I remember being in an altitude chamber at the School of Aerospace Medicine back in 1965 and not being able to add 1+1 after removing my oxygen mask. An editor of Meininger's Wine Business International stated in the CNN article that,"What happens at altitude is that the product doesn't change, it's the way you perceive it that changes. Within your body you perceive less of the fruit that is in a wine and more of the acidity and more of the tannins, the hard texture, you'll get in red wines. Ironically, some of the finest wines in the world, some of the finest Bordeauxs, actually don't taste good at altitude." Is that also why airline coffee tastes so rotten?
It seems that the article is mostly addressing what happens in the First Class and Business Class of the airplane. They refer to the Champagne and offering passengers a choice of two red wines and two white wines. I suspect that what they offer me in Economy Class doesn't taste good on terra firma either. I'll just have to do my own experiment by opening one of my better wines, putting it into three small split bottles, tasting the first before take-off, sneaking a drink of the second up in the air, and tasting the third after return to sea level.
I'll get back to you with the results of this personal experience after my next flight.