The past few years I feel like we’ve seen a significant decline in the quality of catering in domestic first class. While internationally many airlines are upping their game (including with catering), domestic first class catering has gotten to the point where I try to eat before or after a flight instead. At least that’s the case when flying American, as I’ve written about in the past.
Yesterday I flew Delta first class form Los Angeles to Seattle to Chicago. The first flight was a lunch flight, and the second flight was a dinner flight. I’ve taken a few longhaul international flights on Delta and have found their catering in Delta One to be above average for US carriers, but what about on domestic flights?
Before I share my opinion, let me emphasize that two meals hardly makes me an expert on Delta’s catering, and it could be that this is representative of the normal offerings, or it could be that these were one-offs.
For the Los Angeles to Seattle flight there was the choice between a kale and farro grilled chicken salad, or hamburger sliders with potato salad. I selected the salad. It tasted reasonably good, but was a small portion. It actually looks much bigger in the picture than it was. For dessert was a packaged oatmeal raisin cookie.
For the Seattle to Chicago flight, there was the choice between chicken milanese with zucchini and rigatoni with bolognese. I chose the former. While the side salad was good, the chicken was awful. Not only was the chicken low quality and dry, but the dish was so tasteless. It needed a sauce or something. It’s one thing if the chicken were flavorful and moist, but it was almost like eating chalk. For dessert there was a container of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
Here are a few of my other takeaways from the food & drink service, especially compared to American:
- I was impressed that on both flights pre-departure beverages of choice were offered, which Delta apparently does consistently, in addition to the bottle of water at every seat on boarding; on American you’re lucky to be offered water or juice, let alone drinks of choice
- While taking meal orders, the flight attendants on both flights described the meals in great detail, much more so than I’ve experienced on American
- While American lets you pre-order your meals, Delta doesn’t
- American serves warm mixed nuts before the meal, while Delta serves nothing before the meal; it’s nice to have something with a drink, though I guess I don’t need the calories from the nuts
- American offers freshly baked cookies or other fresh desserts after meals, rather than the packaged desserts I was offered on both of my Delta flights
So to be honest I was disappointed by Delta’s catering. Much like with American, I think it’s worth eating before the flight. Fortunately Delta’s SkyClubs actually have good food, so that’s not too much of an issue. This generally matches what I’ve heard as well. While there are many good things about Delta, it doesn’t seem like domestic catering is an area where they differentiate themselves.
To Delta flyers, what do you make of Delta’s domestic first class catering?