In this post wanted to write about how to pre-order meals in Delta Air Lines first class. While Delta allows you to select your meal in advance when traveling in a premium cabin, the process isn’t quite as straightforward as with American, so I wanted to take a look at how that works (based on a recent flight experience). In separate posts I’ve written about how to pre-order meals with American Airlines and how to pre-order meals with United Airlines.
Reserve your meal before you fly Delta
While I wouldn’t say it’s an area where Delta leads the industry, the airline does let you pre-select your meal in advance when traveling in a premium cabin. However, some people are confused about how to do this. It’s not like American, where you can start selecting a meal 30 days before departure just by logging into your reservation, so let’s take a look at how it works.
For which flights can you pre-select your meal?
Delta lets you pre-select your main course when traveling in first class or business class. This includes domestic first class flights, short haul international business class flights, and Delta One flights (which is what long haul business class is marketed as).
Note that you can only pre-select meals on flights that have full meal services, so this wouldn’t be available on a flight where just a light snack is served. Furthermore, there’s a quirk whereby flights operated by the carrier’s new Airbus A321neos don’t allow meal pre-orders. This is allegedly due to the plane having smaller ovens, meaning that they can’t load as many hot meals as on other planes.
When can you pre-select your meal?
Delta has a fairly short window where you can pre-select your meal. Specifically, you can select your meal between 24 hours and seven days of departure. So if you’re booking further out than that, don’t expect you’ll be able to select your meal until a week out.
How do you pre-select your meal?
There are a couple of ways that you can pre-select your Delta main course. For one, Delta will often send customers an email in advance encouraging them to select their main course, though those emails don’t seem to come consistently.
The easiest way to reliably select your meal is to log into the Delta app within a week of departure, and then access your upcoming itinerary in the “My Trips” section. There you should see an option to select your main course. When you click the button, you’ll see what the options will be on your flight (there are typically three options in domestic first class, and four options in long haul business class).
What are the pre-select meal options?
For domestic first class, Delta’s meal pre-select options are generally the same thing that you’ll be offered onboard, as there’s not usually an expanded selection online. However, for Delta One (long haul business class), there are usually a couple of extra options that are exclusively available as a pre-order. Regardless, don’t expect this to be like Singapore Airlines’ Book the Cook program.
The main benefit to pre-selecting your meal is to make sure you get your first choice. Typically extra meals aren’t loaded in domestic first class, so if you don’t select your meal in advance, you may not end up with your first choice.
How can you see the menu for your Delta flight?
While Delta doesn’t publish its menus online in advance, there is a cool feature onboard whereby you can see the menu for your flight before flight attendants come by to take your order. Delta has seat back televisions throughout most of its mainline fleet.
To see what’s being served on your flight, access the entertainment system, click on “More,” and then click on “Food & Drink.” You’ll see a QR code there, and if you scan it, you’ll see what’s on offer for your flight.
For those curious, on narrow body flights, Delta crews are supposed to take meal orders using the “FEBO” system, meaning they start taking orders from the front of the cabin on even numbered flights, and from the back of the cabin on odd numbered flights. However, not all crews seem to observe this system. For wide body flights (including Delta One flights), orders are just taken front to back.
Delta has a handy feature whereby you can select your main course in advance when traveling in a premium cabin. This is a great way to ensure that you get your first choice, since onboard you’ll otherwise be left with what’s still available.
If you’ve pre-ordered your meal on Delta, what was your experience like?