Alaska Airlines is the latest major airline to be restoring inflight service, after offering limited service since the start of the pandemic (for example, here’s my review of a recent Alaska Airlines first class flight). These changes kick in as of today, Wednesday, May 19, 2021.
Alaska Airlines’ updated first class service
On transcontinental and Hawaii flights, Alaska Airlines is resuming a full, hot meal service. Passengers will be able to choose between two meal choices, or instead opt for a fruit & cheese platter that’s available for pre-order.
First class meals will include an appetizer, main course, bread, and dessert, and will be served on a single tray.
Alaska Airlines first class meal — miso marinated cod
On flights longer than 1,100 miles that aren’t transcons or to/from Hawaii, Alaska Airlines will serve what’s called a “Fresh Meal Box.” Potential items include the following:
- Asparagus Tillamook cheddar frittata with fresh fruit
- Guajillo lime entrée salad
- Garlic marinated sirloin sandwich
- Beef entrée salad with ancient grains
- Mojo chicken sandwich with jicama & citrus slaw
- Bristol Bay smoked salmon platter
Alaska Airlines Fresh Meal Box — Guajillo Lime Entrée Salad
On flights between 670 and 1,100 miles, first class passengers will also be offered something to eat, which could include the following:
- For breakfast, a croissant breakfast sandwich or protein platter
- For lunch and dinner, a banh mi sandwich, mojo chicken sandwich, or protein platter
There will also be a full resumption of first class drink service, including soft drinks, beer, wine, liquor, and coffee.
While the food presentation may be a bit different than before, I’d say this more or less represents a return to pre-coronavirus service in first class. Transcon and Hawaii meals look very similar. Meanwhile on other flights, the quantity of food served is roughly comparable, but the presentation is just changing.
Alaska Airlines’ updated economy service
There are several service updates for Premium Class (Alaska’s extra legroom economy section) as well as economy:
- A full selection of soft drinks (including mini cans of soda and bottled water) will be available, along with coffee and tea
- Alcohol once again be offered — Premium Class passengers get free alcoholic beverages, while they’re available for purchase in economy
- A variety of food items will again be available for purchase, including Mediterranean Tapas and Kids Picnic Packs, in addition to new fresh food options
- Picnic Packs will be available on flights of more than 670 miles, and fruit & cheese plates, breakfast wraps, and sandwiches, will be available for purchase on flights of over 1,100 miles
Alaska’s fruit & cheese plate will be available for purchase
As far as paying for inflight purchases go, there are several options:
- All food options are available for pre-order in order to minimize contact, with fresh food available up to 20 hours prior to departure, and Picnic Packs available up to one hour prior to departure
- Customers can pay for purchases by credit card (either by swiping their card or using the touchless method), and there’s also an option to store a card in your itinerary for your trip even if you don’t have a Mileage Plan account
Alaska Airlines is restoring most inflight service as of today. In first class you can once again expect hot plated meals on transcon and Hawaii flights, and more substantial food on all other flights. Meanwhile in economy we’re seeing a reintroduction of a full drink service, along with food and alcoholic drinks being available for sale.
Alaska Airlines is certainly putting pressure on other airlines here — especially airlines like American, which don’t have plans to reintroduce hot meal service in first class on domestic flights.
What do you make of Alaska Airlines’ approach to restoring inflight service?