Business Traveller compiles ten of the latest inflight dining innovations, from Qatar Airways’ pre-order service to BA’s restaurant-style offering, SAS’ gluten-free options and ANA’s economy sake.
Flag carrier BA has launched its revamped Club World dining service, with passengers being offered a choice of starters and desserts from new display trolleys.
The carrier announced the new service earlier this year as part the airline’s £400 million investment in Club World, and will initially offer it on the Heathrow-New York JFK route, with plans to roll it out across the rest of the network.
Customers are offered a choice of four starters from the display trolley including Loch Fyne smoked salmon tartare with wasabi crème fraîche, and burrata and tomato carpaccio with olive oil and balsamic dressing.
Main courses are served plated as is currently the case, with choices including best of Heritage beef homemade gnocchi in Café de Paris sauce and pan-fried green asparagus, and line-caught grilled Cornish Dover sole with Mediterranean lentils, celeriac mousseline and lemon butter
Finally desserts are again offered via the trolley, with choices including DO & CO‘s double chocolate medley, lemon tart, and Viennese-style apple strudel with vanilla sauce
BA says that “The carefully curated wine selection will feature white wines and Champagnes presented on top of the trolleys in large, silver wine coolers, while regiments of red wine bottles stand alongside them”.
Gulf carrier Qatar Airways has launched a new pre-select dining option for its premium passengers on selected long-haul routes departing Doha.
Business and first class passengers can now pre-order their preferred main course between 14 days and 24 hours before departure, by logging into the My Trips section at qatarairways.com or through the carrier’s app.
The new service has been introduced on selected flights from Doha to Europe, North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and Asia.
Scandinavian carrier SAS has launched a new range of food choices focusing on customers’ lifestyle and dietary requirements.
SAS Go (economy) customers on flights within Europe with a duration of two hours or more, can now pre-order vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, gluten and lactose-free and pork-free dishes.
Meals are “packed in a cube” – a design which the carrier says is inspired by take-out culture, “making it easy to eat while working, reading or watching a movie”.
Dishes cost €11 each, except for the €6 vegetarian mini pizza, and can be pre-ordered up to 18 hours before departure, either at the time of booking a flight, by logging into the My Bookings section online, or via a travel agent.
Canadian carrier Westjet has partnered with “fresh casual restaurant” The Chopped Leaf, to offer the brand’s “whole bowls, multi-grain sandwiches and salads” for pre-purchase or buy-on-board on more than 250 daily flights beginning in mid-November.
In a release the airline said that “ingredients in The Chopped Leaf items are made from real food including whole grains, vegetables and meats that contain little to no preservatives”, adding that “meals will be rotated throughout the pre-purchase and buy-on-board menus as more products and variety are developed”.
To celebrate Finland’s 100th year of independence, Finnair has launched new in-flight meals.
The airline has partnered with the ELO foundation, a non-profit that promotes Finnish food culture, providing meals that focus on “healthy and hearty food”.
In business class, passengers flying out of Helsinki on long-haul flights until January 9, 2018 will be offered a menu themed around the centennial anniversary, featuring Baltic herring, Karelian stew and a cep mushroom soup, flavoured with cured elk.
The menu was designed by the airline’s signature menu chef, Eero Vottonen, who finished sixth out of twenty-four participants at the Bocuse d’Or competition in Lyon last January.
For business class passengers flying to Helsinki on most long-haul flights, the airline will offer “elements inspired by the 100 years menu”, with pickled salmon, rainbow trout and a Karelian stew with beef and pork.
Inflight meals in economy were inspired by traditional dishes in school meals. Passengers on long-haul flights will be offered dishes such as potatoes and meatballs as well as macaroni and meat casserole, as part of a partnership with the ELO Foundation and the Cygnaeus elementary school in the southwestern Finnish city of Turku.
US airline Delta has unveiled what it describes as “one of [its] biggest investments in the Main Cabin dining experience” for travellers on its international flights.
Due to begin rolling out in November and continuing into 2018, the Main Cabin dining experience refresh will launch with the introduction of “customer experience menu cards” detailing at what times different services will be offered along with in-flight food and beverage information. This will be followed in December with new Main Cabin cutlery.
In mid-2018, this will be expanded to include new meals and serviceware, designed to give travellers what it describes as “a restaurant-style dining experience”.
In addition the carrier has added Avissi prosecco to its drinks menu on international flights.
From a family estate in Veneto, the prosecco is made from 100 per cent prosecco grapes, created to “drink young, when the fruit flavours and aromas are at their very freshest.”
Japanese carrier ANA has introduced premium sake to its economy drinks menu.
The airline previously offered its “sake service” to first and business class passengers only, but has now begun serving the rice wine from leading brewery Ichinokura in economy. The sake is made from two varieties of rice from the Miyagi prefecture, north of Tokyo.
Vice president of products and services strategy at ANA, Yuzo Hara, said:
“Sake is popular in Japan and in many countries around the world. In recent years, many of our passengers have been asking us to serve sake in economy class.”
“The number of international visitors to Japan is increasing, and this trend is expected to continue, as Japan hosts a number of international events such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. Being Japan’s only five-star airline, we want to give all our passengers around the world the opportunity to try quality sake.”
“We hope that our passengers will pair the sake with their meals on board ANA flights, for a full Japanese gastronomic experience. The Ichinokura brewery is famous for carefully brewing high-quality sake using a blend of tradition mixed with innovation, which are two of the values we share at ANA.”
United has started selling Pizzeria Uno branded deep-dish pizza to economy passengers on North American flights.
A United spokesperson said passengers have the option to purchase a spinach and garlic deep-dish Uno’s pizza for US$9.99.
“It’ll be prepared and served in our skillet dish to help the cheese brown and keep the crust crispy,” said the spokesperson, while a pizza-and-beer combo will cost US$13.99, with Miller Lite beer.
Deep-dish pizza originated in Chicago, where United’s headquarters is located.
Easyjet has relaunched its in-flight retail offering, with two new brochures, a price guarantee and a new all-day breakfast option.
Passengers can now browse separate brochures for its Bistro (for food and drink) and Boutique (for “luxuries, gifts and travel essentials”) ranges.
The Boutique magazine now features editorial by Grazia’s Health and Beauty director, and a price guarantee, with “a commitment to refund the difference in price if customers are able to find any Boutique product cheaper on the UK high street”.
Meanwhile an all-day breakfast option has been added to its Bistro menu, with a choice of tea, coffee or Tropicana, plus a 9NINE bar or croissant for £3.50, or porridge for £4.
The carrier says it has seen a 12 per cent increase in on board food and drink sales over the past twelve months “due to improved choice and popular brands”.
Customers can also browse Easyjet’s in-flight offering before departure on the carrier’s app.
The designer behind Qantas’ B787 Dreamliner cabin interiors has now created a new range of tableware for use in the airline’s first, business and premium economy cabins as well as its airport lounges.
Comprising a 16-piece fine bone china crockery set, a five-piece stainless steel cutlery setting, as well as glassware, the new tableware has been specifically designed for use in-flight, according to designer David Caon.
Caon said that cabin crew as well as the culinary team behind Qantas’s in-flight menus were consulted during the design process regarding the “functionality of tableware at 40,000 feet”.
The new sets are due to roll out starting December 15 when Qantas launches its inaugural Dreamliner service between Melbourne and Los Angeles.