Alaska Airlines Restores Inflight Service, First Class Meals

Alaska Airlines Restores Inflight Service, First Class Meals

19

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

Bottom line

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?

Conversations (19)
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  1. Brian

    Is this what they had before? Or did they have hot plated meals on some of the shorter flights?

  2. Todd

    Hey Ben, American Airlines does offer hot meal service on transcons such as LAXMIAin business class. I took this flight both way and hot a nice impressed lunch going and dinner coming back. I believe LAX/SFO-JFK has meal service as well in first and buisiness class

  3. Thomas

    @Brian. AS did have hot meals for shorter flights. SEA-LAX and SEA-SFO had small, but warm food.

  4. Greg

    Delta looking like a real laggard more and more each day. What a bunch of vaporware that airline is.

    UNITED rising as the first to bring back hot meals on midcon routes. Happy to see Alaska starting to come to its senses.

  5. Golfingboy

    Looks like they are doing away with glassware in first class?

  6. Angelo

    But are they bringing back my Coke Zero???

  7. Ralf

    Flew to Hawaii last weekend on AS from Seattle in First and they served us a choice of two hot meals. Was really nice. FA said they usually do more courses.

  8. Joe

    I'm flying Alaska in first class but on a horizon air operated flight in August. What will be served there?

  9. Gregg

    Meanwhile, American is going ahead with the “fresh, modern approach” to letting passengers starve. Given the choice between Alaska and American on a nonstop route I’ll choose Alaska.

  10. david

    Lucky: Where did you get the pictures from? I don't see them on AS's website.

  11. glenn t

    Always amused (sort of) by the exotic descriptions of airline fare. Rarely fulfil the promise, especially when an airline is bold/silly enough to show a carefully staged picture of various dishes. Are we expected to take this type of misrepresentation with a grain of salt?

  12. Andrew

    I am confused like other commenters. I had had food in January LAX -> SEA -> LAX on AS. What changed? All routes now?

  13. CDKING

    A little more incentive to buy non-saver tickets and get myself on the update list again. One can only have the same cold sandwich so many times.

  14. DC not in DC

    Yesterday I flew in AS F and ate the fruit & cheese plate. Then, when serving the hot cookie for dessert, the AS FA told me hot meals begin today...missed by only one day!

    I wish UA would serve something similar to AS fruit & cheese plate. AS has been serving that plus a hot cookie all during Covid, which is much better than a "Tapas" or "Takeoff" box.

  15. Jason

    I flew AS yesterday from MCI to SEA and had the beef salad. It was pretty tasty, actually! And so very Pacific NW with the furikake and edamame. I took pics if you'd like me to send them to you.

  16. K

    Love report from Alaska First (ORD to SEA). Preordered the marinated beef salad. Amazing! Easily the best salad on a domestic flight I’ve ever had. Fresh. Crunchy. Three nice slices of beef. Comes with a roll that’s average. They are serving Fremont Golden Pilsener - also awesome.
    Plus the packaging is all paper and biodegradable, incl the utensils and even the little bag that they come it. Well done, Alaska!

  17. JXW

    @Andrew - AS expanded food offerings this past week...it's very new so you would not have gotten these additional options in Jan. I flew FC May 10, 2021 on a flight over 2000 miles but didn't get this menu either, so I was just a little too early before the switch happened. Flew FC on May 21, 2021 Transcon flight and got to experience the new meal service which is very nice - I was...

    @Andrew - AS expanded food offerings this past week...it's very new so you would not have gotten these additional options in Jan. I flew FC May 10, 2021 on a flight over 2000 miles but didn't get this menu either, so I was just a little too early before the switch happened. Flew FC on May 21, 2021 Transcon flight and got to experience the new meal service which is very nice - I was impressed given this is not a lie-flat seat plane. Although everything was served in one tray, the tray was an elegant bamboo-like material, with real silverware and plates (not plastic) and nicely presented. Roll was not hard as a brick but semi-soft and slightly warmed. Taste was decent and orchid on plate a nice touch. Just seeing a multi-course FC meal was refreshing change, even if served all at once...haven't seen this for such a long time during domestic pandemic travels!

    @Golfingboy - AS still using plastic cup for drinks, even with their expanded FC menu...not sure if real glasses coming back :(

    @Joe - I don't think it matters if your flight is operated by Horizon Air, Skywest or Alaska...you will get the meal based on your class of service and distance as outlined by their current food offerings.

    Thanks for comments re: Kale Salad with Beef - wondering if it's the same as the Marinated Kale Breakfast Bowl that's available on my next flight. My other options are Caramelized Onion Frittata or Cheese Platter. I pre-ordered Frittata since it's morning flight...if anyone has tasted the Frittata...pls share what you think of it :)

  18. Rick

    Just flew AS from PHX to SEA and pre-ordered our meals. Outbound from PHX we chose the beef salad, and it was very tasty a good meal. On the return flight, we had ordered the steak sandwich, which we were not impressed. We ate the filling of meat, but the bread was hard and not worth the chewing or flavor. Alaska is trying new service in First Class, and I'm appreciative that they seem to...

    Just flew AS from PHX to SEA and pre-ordered our meals. Outbound from PHX we chose the beef salad, and it was very tasty a good meal. On the return flight, we had ordered the steak sandwich, which we were not impressed. We ate the filling of meat, but the bread was hard and not worth the chewing or flavor. Alaska is trying new service in First Class, and I'm appreciative that they seem to be ahead of other domestic airlines, both in attitude of their FA's. as well as trying to bring back a better service to their Frist Class passengers.

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Rick

Just flew AS from PHX to SEA and pre-ordered our meals. Outbound from PHX we chose the beef salad, and it was very tasty a good meal. On the return flight, we had ordered the steak sandwich, which we were not impressed. We ate the filling of meat, but the bread was hard and not worth the chewing or flavor. Alaska is trying new service in First Class, and I'm appreciative that they seem to be ahead of other domestic airlines, both in attitude of their FA's. as well as trying to bring back a better service to their Frist Class passengers.

JXW

@Andrew - AS expanded food offerings this past week...it's very new so you would not have gotten these additional options in Jan. I flew FC May 10, 2021 on a flight over 2000 miles but didn't get this menu either, so I was just a little too early before the switch happened. Flew FC on May 21, 2021 Transcon flight and got to experience the new meal service which is very nice - I was impressed given this is not a lie-flat seat plane. Although everything was served in one tray, the tray was an elegant bamboo-like material, with real silverware and plates (not plastic) and nicely presented. Roll was not hard as a brick but semi-soft and slightly warmed. Taste was decent and orchid on plate a nice touch. Just seeing a multi-course FC meal was refreshing change, even if served all at once...haven't seen this for such a long time during domestic pandemic travels! @Golfingboy - AS still using plastic cup for drinks, even with their expanded FC menu...not sure if real glasses coming back :( @Joe - I don't think it matters if your flight is operated by Horizon Air, Skywest or Alaska...you will get the meal based on your class of service and distance as outlined by their current food offerings. Thanks for comments re: Kale Salad with Beef - wondering if it's the same as the Marinated Kale Breakfast Bowl that's available on my next flight. My other options are Caramelized Onion Frittata or Cheese Platter. I pre-ordered Frittata since it's morning flight...if anyone has tasted the Frittata...pls share what you think of it :)

K

Love report from Alaska First (ORD to SEA). Preordered the marinated beef salad. Amazing! Easily the best salad on a domestic flight I’ve ever had. Fresh. Crunchy. Three nice slices of beef. Comes with a roll that’s average. They are serving Fremont Golden Pilsener - also awesome. Plus the packaging is all paper and biodegradable, incl the utensils and even the little bag that they come it. Well done, Alaska!

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