Delta Introduces New Delta One & Main Cabin Meals (Pre-Select Is Coming Too)

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Airlines (and especially US airlines) are slowly running out of ways to differentiate themselves from one another as each copies the other’s latest fares, cabin changes and frequent flyer devaluations. In a perverse way this has actually been good news for passengers as airlines gradually turn to their soft product (service, food etc…) to try to make their offering a little more appealing than that of their competitors.

Earlier this week I wrote about United’s spring buy-on-board menu changes which, although I didn’t much like, did go some way to illustrating what I mean – if there wasn’t a growing focus on the food airlines serve United would certainly not be promoting “grass-fed” beef jerky, “cage-free” eggs or an “organic” nut mix…..and a “wheat berry salad with quinoa, edamame and sun-dried tomato hummus” would certainly not be on board either.

Now it’s Delta’s turn to tell us what it’s doing to its onboard food offering:

Our investment in more robust and thoughtful meal options builds on the significant investments we’ve made over the past few months in things like upgraded cutlery and menu cards that help customers plan their time onboard — all of this together is designed to offer an on-board service that reflects what our customers come to expect at their favorite restaurants

The changes started rolling out at the beginning of the month so some of you may have already noticed a few different options on your flights but, in case you haven’t flown on Delta recently, here’s what you can expect.

International Main Cabin Dining

Upgraded entrees including:

  • Chicken picatta with spinach mushroom risotto
  • A pasta duet of roasted vegetable ravioli with mushroom
  • Rosemary chicken with carrots, broccoli and seasoned potatoes​

a food in a containerImage – Delta

Straight away I can say that I like this. The third option (pictured) is probably not going to be as incredibly unhealthy as a lot of airline food is nowadays and eating healthy is one of the toughest things to do when you’re traveling frequently – it’s incredible how many opportunities you get to eat very, very badly when you’re on the road.

The food items aren’t the only things that are changing. Delta say that Main Cabin customers on its international flights are now receiving upgraded flatware, complimentary sparkling wine (as well as regular wine, beer and spirits) and menu cards that let passengers know what the onboard food offerings are and when they can expect them to be served.

There’s another thing I like – the menu cards. Knowing what food options are available makes very little difference to me once I’m in the air (it’s not like I can go elsewhere if I don’t like what the airline is serving) but knowing when to expect food and beverage services does make a difference.

a black tray with food in itImage – Delta

International Delta One Dining

Apparently passengers have been loving the menus Delta has been providing on its LA – New York route so the airline is using the same LA-based chefs to enhance the menus offered on Delta’s LA – Sydney flights.

Favorites like Valdivia zucchini spaghetti, braised flank steak and roasted chicken with a warm bacon vinaigrette promise to bring the taste of savory contemporary dining to flight.

Customers on all Delta One international flights will continue to be served a selection of wines curated by Delta’s Master Sommelier, Andrea Robinson that are paired seasonally with each menu.

This change to the Delta One offering comes in addition to the already announced change which is seeing Delta One customers being served Chinese and Japanese inspired dishes on flights out of Asia.

a plate of food with a side of salad and sauceImage – Delta

Pre-Select Meals Coming To Delta One

Back in October of last year Delta announced that it would begin to roll out the option for Delta One passengers to pre-select meals in 2018. Now the airline has confirmed that the first pre-select meal options will be available from the end of this month (March 2018) on flights out of Atlanta and New York JFK.

Customers eligible to participate in pre-select will receive email communication three days prior to their flight asking them to select their meal. Delta will roll out pre-select to additional markets throughout the year.

In the original press release which announced that pre-select meals were coming to Delta One, the airline said that passengers would be able to choose their meals “beginning six days prior to select international flights” so I’m unclear as to why Delta is waiting until 3 days before departure before letting passengers know of this new option.

Bottom Line

The new international food options in the Main Cabin look promising and, if passengers genuinely like the food offering on the LA – New York route, it’s good to see the same chefs being used to come up with options on the LA – Sydney route too.

I can’t really get excited about pre-select meals coming to Delta One flights as I’ve had this option on American Airlines for years…but it does make me wonder why it has taken Delta this long to get around to providing Business Class travelers with this option.