More meal options are slowly coming back on Delta Air Lines. Progress is slow, as the carrier works to ensure supply chain stability and downline kitchen availability. But Premium Select and Main Cabin passengers should start to see some improvements as soon as next week.
Long-haul catering improvements
Passengers in both economy (Main Cabin) and premium economy (Premium Select) will see new dishware beginning on 20 September 2022. Hot meals will be served in recyclable containers rather than the current, non-recyclable plastic.
That does not mean the trays will always be recycled, unfortunately. International rules typically require that all food-related items on board are incinerated upon arrival to prevent contamination and spread of food-borne diseases. But those rules are slowly softening. Paris now allows recycling of some food service items, for example. And the carrier is hopeful that more countries will similarly adjust.
Additionally, Premium Select customers on long-haul flights should notice an upgrade in food quality. Delta is returning to its initial practice of serving those passengers the same meals as are offered in Delta One, rather than the current main cabin selections.
Domestic buy-on-board is back
For domestic flights the “Flight Fuel” fresh food buy-on-board options are back in economy and Comfort+, albeit still limited.
Delta now offers a chicken salad sandwich or fruit and cheese plate option on flights longer than 1,500 miles. But not on every route of those distances. Some markets still do not have the catering facilities reopened, so the company cannot supply the meals on board. As the kitchens reopen, however, Delta intends to bring the meals back on board.
Also, owing to limited capacity in the catering facilities, the number of buy-on-board meals being catered remains low. Somewhere between 2-5% of seats in the cabin are planned for purchases.
A return to fully complimentary meals for economy passengers on longer domestic flights (i.e. transcons) is also in the plans, but Delta is not quite ready to deliver that yet. As a first step, however, it expects that the Flight Fuel fresh meals will be offered to passengers in Premium Select on a complimentary basis beginning in December.
Ultimately, all of the catering decisions remain dependent on the supply chain and kitchens progressing in their reopening plans and capacity restoration. That’s why all the dates are somewhat soft and aren’t particularly broadly publicized. But it is happening, and passengers will continue to see the onboard experience restored.
Snack baskets evolving
The ever-present first class snack basket continues to update, but not too quickly. Delta aims to adjust the contents with one item switching each quarter. Most recently the carrier swapped to a new shortbread and dark chocolate cookie option.
Dietary restrictions from passengers also play a role in the snack selection. Delta is also excited to have a sweet vegan snack in the basket for the first time.
For economy class passengers the snack options change less frequently, just one swapping out annually. And the Biscoff cookies are not on the list for swapping. Also, the Biscoff should soon carry a kosher certification, along with a new label.
Finally, looking longer term, the company is also making little changes to packaging to help identify meals on board. Early next year the hot meals will be packaged with new foil covers in five different colors, representing the different types of food the company serves on board.
Today cabin crew open the packages to ensure that the correct meals are catered and heated to serve to passengers. This exterior visual labeling should help cabin crew save time on that part of the process.
More news from RedCabin 2022
- Southwest searching for new seats
- Dining upgrades on the horizon for Delta’s Premium Select and Main Cabin passengers
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