Crisis can bring opportunity. Nik Loukas discovers latest innovation and inflight pre-order catering concepts now taking to the skies
Airlines are quick to think on their feet and work with what resources are available and in times of a pandemic this doesn’t change.
Initially airlines downgraded or removed inflight catering concepts to limit interaction between crew and passengers but in recent times product launches are back on the agenda.
One of the latest innovations comes from Dutch carrier Transavia with a pre-order meal partnership with Just Eat, with fulfilment by the team at iFleat. Passengers can place their order online up to 90 minutes before departure and meals are delivered by the cabin crew.
“Our passengers want quality, which has been an important starting point in setting up this special collaboration,” said Laura Heijmann of Transavia.
The service is currently available on four flights from Amsterdam to Greece, Portugal and Italy but due to roll out to cities such as as Rotterdam, The Hague and Eindhoven. Passengers can choose from up to 10 meal choices starting at €11,50 and including Butter Chicken, Sushi, Vegan Bulgar Salad and Rigatoni Bolognese.
Lufthansa temporarily suspended its A La Carte Economy upgrade meal programme but now the product is returning on flights ex the USA. Seven options, starting from €15, offer Economy customers an experience akin to a Business-style meal. The airline hopes to expand the programme to more destinations in the coming months. Passengers can select German, American, Asian, Austrian, Italian, and healthy dining options.
In Thailand, the ban on inflight F&B has been lifted on domestic flights. Low-cost airline Thai VietJet Air is offering passengers a 40% discount (up from 20%) on select hotel stays if they pre-order their inflight meal, with new choices that include Green Curry and Chicken Teriyaki.
On the ground in Singapore, Singapore Airlines will launch its Restaurant A380 hosting dinners on board with menu offerings from its Peranakan menu, created by chef Shermay Lee. Fees for the two-day event start at SGD$50 for Economy, SGD$90 for Premium Economy, SGD$300 for Business and SGD$600 for suites.
LCC, HK Express is re-evaluating its inflight meal packaging for pre-order meals with hopes for a new range of bamboo or kraft paper meal boxes and cups using sustainable alternatives such as PEFC-Certified or FSC-certified paper.