In-flight food to improve
The first ever in-flight meal was served on a 1919 trip from London to Paris. The meal cost only 3 shillings, but it was simply a premade lunchbox. The meal service idea caught on, and soon United Airlines was installing on-board kitchens to make hot meals for its passengers. The on-board meal industry peaked in the middle of the 20th century with tablecloths, silverware and elite cuisine. When Concorde joined the skies, it set itself apart by serving Champagne, truffles and caviar to its customers. Soon this all changed. In the 1970s, airlines were deregulated and companies stressed the importance of cheap airfare over good service. Meals slowly disappeared or were reserved for those willing to pay a large amount. Online culinary course students are likely familiar with the current state of airline food, which often can only loosely be described as food. But things may be changing again.
A renewed offer
United Airlines has decided to try and win over first class and business class customers by offering a new assortment of food and beverages on its long-distance domestic flights. Starting in September, these customers will have their choice of newly crafted chilled sandwiches, wraps and other fresh offerings. Some of these select sandwiches include Italian prosciutto on tomato focaccia, caprese on an asiago baguette, Cobb salad wraps and Thai-style chicken wraps. The hot meals will no longer be simple cheeseburgers, but ham and Swiss cheese on a pretzel baguette, chicken and mozzarella on tomato focaccia and roast beef on asiago bread.
Not only will sandwiches be offered, but the company plans to serve gluten-free soup, seasonal greens salads, Asian noodle salad and a strawberry chicken salad. In addition to this, the customers will be provided with complementary prosecco. The customers who decide to pay for the first-class or business class seats will be in for a treat that brings back memories of the golden age of flying.
“These changes mark the beginning of an extensive overhaul of our North American and international food service, offering travelers a level of service above that offered by our peers,” Lynda Coffman, vice president of food services for United Continental Holdings Inc., told the Wall Street Journal.
Many other airlines are now rehabbing their cuisine to compete with United. Delta regularly offers new menus to its business class customers, and American Airlines has added a similar set of culinary options for its premier class. Whether this improvement will soon be extended to regular customers waits to be seen.