When it comes to air travel, the airline food is not typically something to write home about. Throughout the pandemic, food and drink service on many carriers disappeared altogether for health and safety reasons. In the face of this decline, airlines around the world got creative, debuting food services that had people booking weeks in advance. Here are some of the most innovative airline food moves that happened in the past year.
Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 Restaurants
At the Changi Airport, Singapore Airlines converted two of its Airbus A380 planes into makeshift restaurants. Offering four different classes of meals ranging from a VIP private suite experience for $474 all the way down to economy for $39, the pop-ups simulated the flight process during a time of grounding. With most of its planes grounded due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore Airlines’ pop-up initially launched as an additional avenue for revenue and have since become extremely popular, with seats selling out almost instantly.
American Airlines Wine Delivery Service
When the pandemic forced airlines to re-evaluate their onboard protocols and minimize interaction between people, American Airlines was among the carriers that suspended in-flight alcohol sales. In January, the airline launched American Airlines Flagship Sellers to let people buy and ship the excess wine from its planes straight to their front doors. People have the opportunity to purchase single bottles, curate their own custom case or sign up for the monthly subscription service which includes three bottles a month.
Austrian Airlines’ “Austrian Melangerie”
Austrian Airlines partnered with Retail inMotion to offer passengers a new dining experience, “Austrian Melangerie” on flights, which began earlier this year. The catering concept allows Economy Class passengers to choose what they want to enjoy from a selection of high-quality food and beverage products. Offerings include a traditional Brettljause, chicken schnitzel, an alpine poke bowl and Apfelstrudel for dessert. All the products are carefully curated to reflect Austrian culture and will be updated every three months.
JetBlue Partnership with Imperfect Foods
When JetBlue decreased its in-flight food and drink service to accommodate for social distancing, an early casualty was the snacks it once offered onboard. People who miss the airline’s cheese and snack trays can purchase them through the subscription service, Imperfect Foods. The item has become an immediate hit for consumers around the country, with over 16,000 units sold.
Finnair’s “Taste of Finnair”
Finnair launched its new initiative, “Taste of Finnair”, in which the airline sells its business-class meals in grocery stores. The airline utilized the program to create new work and employment for their staff and provide a Finnair experience to those stuck at home. Selections from the in-flight menu including Finnish reindeer meatballs, beef in teriyaki-radish sauce and arctic char are available for purchase at K-Citymarket in Finland.
Despite the challenges of the past year, airlines around the world have shown their resilience and creativity through their new food and beverage services. Other airlines offering meals available on the ground include Thai Airways, Garuda Indonesia and more.