The domestic travel experience is increasingly looking similar to how it did pre-pandemic, in terms of demand and onboard service. We’re seeing both American and Delta restore hot meals in first class on most routes as of this month.
I flew Delta first class last night from Boston to Tampa, and wanted to share my impressions of Delta’s recently reintroduced hot meals.
A “proper” dinner in Delta first class
I was on a dinner flight in Delta’s Boeing 737-800 first class from Boston to Tampa, which had a flight time of just under three hours. Before we even talk about meals, I have to say that Delta’s “old” 737 first class leaves a lot to be desired in terms of comfort. These planes really could use a refresh.
After takeoff, service began with drinks being served in proper glassware.
Then dinner orders were taken, and there were three choices — beef short ribs, chicken with vegetables, or pasta in a creamy sauce (that’s how they were described).
I decided to order the beef short ribs, which came with some sort of potato gratin and broccolini.
Ford had the chicken, which came with green beans, sweet potato (I think?), and tomatoes.
Both dishes were served with a small side salad, and a dessert consisting of panna cotta (or something) with berries.
Thoughts on Delta’s new first class meals
A few random thoughts about these meals, in no particular order…
First of all, I’m impressed that there were three meal choices for a domestic flight, as you don’t often get more than two options, unless it’s a premium or long haul international route.
Next, Delta is rolling out vegetarian meals in first class on more flights. While creamy pasta is vegetarian, I wish my flight had one of the new vegetarian dishes that should join the rotation soon, like an Impossible Burger, plant-based “lamb” meatballs, etc. I usually eat fish or vegetarian dishes when flying, but creamy pasta just didn’t sound great to me.
I’d say the food as such was fine. I think it looked a bit better than it tasted. I know I’m probably in the minority, but personally I wish airlines would keep it simple. US airlines have very limited catering budgets, so I wish they’d work with simple ingredients and try to make it good, rather than trying to create dishes that some perceive to be “fancy.”
For example, when Delta had limited service during the pandemic, the airline served a pre-packaged superfood bowl. Personally I preferred that to what was served on this flight — that dish was healthy, well executed, and simple. But I recognize that many people feel differently, and prefer warm comfort food. I think the only US product with consistently good hot food is JetBlue Mint. Other airlines could learn a thing or two.
Delta has restored hot meal service in first class on flights of over 900 miles. I had my first Delta flight with the new meal service yesterday. I was impressed that there were three choices, and objectively most people would probably consider these meals to be quite good for a sub-three hour flight.
Personally I still prefer when airlines keep things simple — if you only have a catering budget of a few dollars per person, I’d rather have a decent salad than short ribs. But that’s just me.
What do you make of Delta’s new first class catering?
Just flew delta from Atlanta to Belize city which was 1100 miles in First class and NO hot meal service. Just a box with three very cold small pieces of cranberry? Bread and a pack of nuts. No pre departure beverage. Snack basket passed around 15 minutes before landing
Excellent Short Ribs on our flight from Amsterdam yesterday. How can I get the recipe???
I flew Delta Atlanta-Seattle and return in October 2022. First class offered 3 choices from the new chef Mashama Bailey. All were equally bad. I chose the chicken leg with collards and the chicken was just a piece of boiled chicken, no flavor, no seasoning, no color. The collards were...collards. The salad was wet, the dessert was a strange mushy cake-y thing. The return flight was a little earlier in the day so the choices...
I flew Delta Atlanta-Seattle and return in October 2022. First class offered 3 choices from the new chef Mashama Bailey. All were equally bad. I chose the chicken leg with collards and the chicken was just a piece of boiled chicken, no flavor, no seasoning, no color. The collards were...collards. The salad was wet, the dessert was a strange mushy cake-y thing. The return flight was a little earlier in the day so the choices were more like lunch than dinner. I ordered the charcuterie plate and every sausage tasted the same. Go back to whatever you were doing before Covid, Delta, and send Ms Bailey to her kitchen in Savannah GA and let people there suffer.
LOVE The short ribs and also the chicken with the cheesy rice and sweet potato. Not a fan at all of the spiced chicken breast on cilantro yogurt and hummus vegetables are way too large it was very difficult to enjoy this meal without feeling like a rabbit With a huge carrot. Desserts were great and fresh. Definitely would recommend the short ribs though. It may have been because we had a two hour delay...
LOVE The short ribs and also the chicken with the cheesy rice and sweet potato. Not a fan at all of the spiced chicken breast on cilantro yogurt and hummus vegetables are way too large it was very difficult to enjoy this meal without feeling like a rabbit With a huge carrot. Desserts were great and fresh. Definitely would recommend the short ribs though. It may have been because we had a two hour delay on the tarmac so they were able to simmer a bit longer but they were very good. Have a great flight !
I will be in this airplane in three years, and my food might be the ribs and salad and bread and a dessert.
MY WIFE AND I FLY DELTA FIRST CLASS
FOUR TIMES EACH YEAR FROM LAS
VEGAS TO BOSTON AND FIND THE
STAFF TO BE EXCEPTIONALLY PLEASANT
AND AIRCRAFT ARE VERY CLEAN AND
THE FOOD IS VERY GOOD AND BOARDING
IS WELL MANAGED.
Flew first class Delta to Aruba in July 2022 and was served a box lunch which was a ham sandwich and my drink glass was plastic not glass
Nice pictures but not what we received
When flying from Tucson az 1st class (6am )the other day to Atlanta we were expecting breakfast as stated. Just before takeoff we got an email for a voucher for food. Never experienced this before. How cheap delta has become
Well, I have had the first VERY Disappointing experience with Delta in a long time. I did not upgrade to First Class because of the Meals but it certainly played a part of my decision. After reading that Delta restored Hot Meals to flights 900 miles or longer and watching several You Tube Videos, I decided to upgrade my wife and I to First Class. Again, I did not pay out the HUGE price just...
Well, I have had the first VERY Disappointing experience with Delta in a long time. I did not upgrade to First Class because of the Meals but it certainly played a part of my decision. After reading that Delta restored Hot Meals to flights 900 miles or longer and watching several You Tube Videos, I decided to upgrade my wife and I to First Class. Again, I did not pay out the HUGE price just for the meal. I have not received my email to choose our meal selection so I got with Delta. Come to find out, we have a Meal Box on our flight and I was told that it was because our flight was not 4 hours. Nothing mentioned time, it says flights over 900 miles. So - NOT A HAPPY FLIER AT THIS TIME
Delta’s food in first class has never disappointed!
We flew Delta first class Atlanta to Punta Cana the first week of April 2022. We were served a barley edible boxed meal. The sandwich was mostly dry bread. The pasta was disgusting.
I miss the days of real real service for the cost of the flight. Not just the food, the warm cloth pre meal and napkins over the tray. First class is not cheap, those extras make a difference!
Newark to Ontario first class both sectors and it was gummy bears and chips! $1200 …it’s a crime
I flew on Delta three times in the last two months to Florida and Phoenix all three flights serve the exact same three meals. I must say I’m getting a little tired of them and I hope this is not what what in store for the future.
the superfood bowl was so good
My flight today >>> TAMPA to JFK.
We booked FIRST CLASS and got Lunch. My Husband prefered the Cheeseburger. Surprising good. My choice was the chicken with rice. Looks very nice BUT icecold☹️. I asked >>> is this correct, and the very friendly Crew answered >> yes it is. Very bad, because hot it would be so much better
Do you remember the third option? Doing a similar route next week.
You'll never please everyone. And a lot of people just like to complain.
Delta may provide food, but doesn't seem to be able to fly lately. Last week every Delta flight in my concourse was delayed. Planes sat at the gates full waiting for crews. My return was the same. Gate changes 2,3,4 times. No bad weather. No mechanical issues. They kept blaming "covid" though all restrictions lifted. My trip to Europe included flights, trains, buses, trams, tours, cars, hotels etc. Everything ran to the minute within a...
Delta may provide food, but doesn't seem to be able to fly lately. Last week every Delta flight in my concourse was delayed. Planes sat at the gates full waiting for crews. My return was the same. Gate changes 2,3,4 times. No bad weather. No mechanical issues. They kept blaming "covid" though all restrictions lifted. My trip to Europe included flights, trains, buses, trams, tours, cars, hotels etc. Everything ran to the minute within a hundred miles of a war zone inspite of "covid". It took us a day to fly from Georgia to NY from Delta's home. 1st class, no class, same when hostaged in a closed airport.
It's about time. I hate getting off of a long flight and I starving because I starved from NY to LA. Thank you Delta.
I had their overnight oatmeal with cia seeds and coconut milk for breakfast. It was fabulous!’ It was topped with a few blueberries, strawberries and a chunk of mango. The side of watermelon chunks had a fresh lime twist and julienne of basil. Soooo good! Bravo.
My favorite dish Moroccan chicken & cheese cake
Flew Delta 1st from Boston to Orlando February 2022, yes they need to refresh the cabins on there old planes! Served the same cold box meal that they have been serving forever, it’s about time they upgraded! Hopefully they bring back rum & Bailey’s to the drink menu as well!
Anyone excited over a airplane meal really needs to be evaluated .
Those are green beans, not asparagus
Both presentations look like slop. The meat one with gravy/sauce slopped up on the side looks as if it’d been prepared by a high schooler.
My 9?year old’s food presentation looks better than that Delta slop. In years past Delta would not serve that garage in economy.
A nice large Salad is a very good option for me. Unless the flight is over 1300 miles.
I think for those who want a hot comfort meal serve it and for those that want simple second option salads.
No bowls, no wraps, no sandwiches please. Why does everything have to be substandard in the US of A? Good they are bringing proper food back .
What about first class flights to
I was on delta one to London. The meals were soooo salty I could not eat it. The Beef Ribs were so muchbsodium Did they dump the same shaker on it? Delta there are people who have high BP. I told the flight attendant and she made me another salad. Oh and breakfast was the same way
I had to drink so much water to get flushed out
Delta taste your good chefs.
Airline meals have come a long way. I actually look forward to a nice, hot meal in First Class, and I have never had a bad tasting experience with Delta's meal service. This is a domestic flight, so don't expect some grand, fit for a king, meal whi is flying half way around the world.
We didn’t have anything like that! we were so late taking off we could’ve had breakfast lunch and dinner.
Everyone needs to look towards the Asian airlines. Emirates, etc. Napkins, silverware, service, variety, it goes on and on...amazing! We're just being ripped off for a very long time now...disgusting. Sorry...
Like many others, I definitely prefer hot food over cold food (... well, there are exceptions, like caviar service in international first class on some airlines ... but talking about normal food, I prefer it hot). So it's good news! And three choices is even better news.
On board of airplanes, my first choice would usually be fish (if offered), then chicken, then beef or veggie (but certainly not a superfood bowl).
Recently, I flew from LAX to HNL (Hawaii) and was happy to see that hot meal service had returned. There were three choices given. I selected beef meatballs marinara ricotta with bruschetta. My meal was served with a garden salad and a dessert, tiramisu. Every bit of the meal was DELICIOUS. Presentation was great, food was hot and portions were generous.
It's about time Delta brought back hot food service. Now if they would get off the mask kick...
That has nothing to do with Delta u have to blame TSA for that
In January my wife and I flew back from the Caribbean first class on Delta. The "meal" was improperly stored resulting in a case of salmonella for her. Thankfully the EMT'S at ATL were quick to treat her, very kind and competent and the immegrations and customs management gave us very special treatment.
Your wife must have been extraordinarily unlucky to have such a strong reaction, as ATL-UVF (Delta’s longest Caribbean route) is 4.5 hours gate to gate; salmonellosis usually has a minimum onset time in the ballpark of 6-8 hours. Maybe something she ate prior to the flight aggravated it.
Recently had the misfortune to fly American's so called new business class between DFW and Lima, Peru on the A321neo. It was one of the most uncomfortable 6 hours I have ever spent in any class of service on any airline. Could you or someone on your team look into and report on this disaster and deception of calling it business class and charging accordingly? Thanks
I just flew Delta first class 3 times this March 2022 and did NOT get hit meals. One leg was cold sandwich:other 2 flights were soft drinks chips or crackers! Where were our meals, let alone hit ??
I flew SLC-MKE last week...still had the boxed meals. The fact that it's taken Delta this long is ridiculous.
Think delta is headed in right direction with there. hot first class meals choices (3) domestic 900miles or more hope hot meals with be introduced to economy cabin on there carribean travel such as SDQ which is. 1500 miles one way more hot meals DELTA
I don't mind the food, the importance is to get to my destination. Delta can do that, never mind the luxury.
The US “food” appears dreadful. Why is mostly everything in that place substandard, poor quality, etc with massive amounts of marketing/advertising to sell nonsense to the gullible and clueless?!
Those seats look awful and uncomfortable.
A three hour flight and people need a hot meal? Bring back the warm mixed nuts, fruit plate, and cheese and crackers. Can’t go wrong with this. It was actually good and quality . My companion likes a hot broth to curb appetite . Make it an option. Geez all they have to do is microwave . Rest is no prep involved. And offer to all
I’d argue that nobody *needs* a fruit plate or cheese and crackers on a three hour flight, either. But given that they managed a hot meal pre-pandemic and the price of a first class ticket, it shouldn’t be a Herculean task to offer it once again.
We flew delta last month and we were seated in first class. On the way to our destination we had a cold meat and cheese box. It was ok. The best I could give it. On our way back it was absolutely gross. It was a chicken salad box. The chicken was inedible and dry. We took one bite and returned it. I’m hoping by the next time we fly we can at least eat the food. They have a very long way to go!!!
I had the pasta and thought it was great. It was similar to ravioli with veg and alfredo sauce. The attendants were as excited as I was!
When did meals in 1st class become available
Looks horrible, but what to expect from US domestic "first".
Must be disappointing, especially after your recent narrowbody premium flights on QR and TK.
I flew from San Francisco to Mpls last Thursday. The meal I had (chicken “salad”) was truly the worst meal I ever had on a Delta first class flight. It was shredded chicken with maybe some mayo gluing it together and topped with a load of feta ( I think) cheese. In what culinary world is there no celery, no onion, no chunks of vegetables in a chicken salad and who puts loads of cheese...
I flew from San Francisco to Mpls last Thursday. The meal I had (chicken “salad”) was truly the worst meal I ever had on a Delta first class flight. It was shredded chicken with maybe some mayo gluing it together and topped with a load of feta ( I think) cheese. In what culinary world is there no celery, no onion, no chunks of vegetables in a chicken salad and who puts loads of cheese on it? It was terrible. And Saturday, I was violently ill with what easily could have been food poisoning…had all the symptoms. I basically ate enough only to not starve on the flight. Maybe that was lucky considering how ill I was 36 hours later. Yuck. Next time I’ll bring a sandwich.
Absolutely agree!!! We flew to San Francisco last month and had same thing! It was gross !!
Food poisoning onsets in less than four hours. 36 hrs later, u did not get it from delta.
Hot comfort food is good because many travelers have no time for any meal. Glad Delta is serving again. Choices are good. I am a loyal member mainly for their service, on time flights and third for the foods offered. Keep up the great job Delta. My only concern is please stop making the seats smaller. I fly first class for comfort.
Flew Delta First this weekend between MIA-LGA and the meal service was impressive compared to other airlines. For comparison, I flew AA Flagship Business from MIA-BOG-MIA and only drinks were offered on these flights. Flights did depart very late at night but still, a good old sandwich and chips would have been welcomed.
Delta is the most unreliable service company I have ever dealt with. They get you there safely, but they just don’t get you there!
How embarrassing to tell your customers you’re phone wait time is 3 hours and 20 minutes. And you think I care about their food service.
I do not know a company that has worse service than Delta!
I flew Delta First from Rsw to LGA Saturday
And no hot meal. Just cold deli sandwich.
OK. I’m an old fart. Back some decades ago, Alsaska—bless their hearts—used to manage a nice little fillet mignon dinner on the flight from Seattle to San Francisco. That was in coach.
I don't choose an airline or flight because of their food.
OMG! Hot meals again, I rejoice! Having flown on several Delta flights over 900 miles throughout the pandemic, the cold meals have all been the same 3 choices and drinks served in plastic cups on every flight. I knew the menu so well, I could have presented it to the first class passengers and they would have thought I was a flight attendant!! Italian ham sandwich, mozzarella-tomato sandwich or chicken strawberry salad - blah, blah,...
OMG! Hot meals again, I rejoice! Having flown on several Delta flights over 900 miles throughout the pandemic, the cold meals have all been the same 3 choices and drinks served in plastic cups on every flight. I knew the menu so well, I could have presented it to the first class passengers and they would have thought I was a flight attendant!! Italian ham sandwich, mozzarella-tomato sandwich or chicken strawberry salad - blah, blah, blah flavor and quality. THANKS DELTA! You can’t make everyone happy but this Diamond Medallion can’t wait for her next flight in a few weeks!
Alaska has good heated food too in my experience - both pre pandemic and now too.
I was traveling in Delta F last week with a co-worker, SMF- ATL-SMF. On the return evening flight we also were severed the short rib. Same dish as yours - and we both thought it was excellent (for in flight dining). The breakfast dish coming out cheese omelet was also very good. Usually I’m flying Alaska F, Delta’s meals were on par with Alaska which is a complement for Delta.
Wasn't that short rib meal a staple of the old passenger railroad services and Amtrak of today? If it was good enough for the old Santa Fe, or Union Pacific it should still be good today. Super foods salads? Silliness. Just get a good warm vegetarian vegetable stew included in the menu with decent bread and olive oil.
Delta had offered three meal options on domestic flights for some time pre-pandemic.
I’m flying to Europe from Boston in Premium Select on Delta in a couple of weeks. Will be interesting to see what that’s like!
Flew JFK-BCN-JFK three weeks ago in Premium Select. Catering and cabin service was exactly the same as main cabin. Flight attendants said it was like that due to Covid. Pretty disappointing overall.
I was just on a First Class flight to Florida and my meal came in a box.
This is good news. I always thought deltas hot meals were pretty good and I hope that version 2.0 are at least as good as the pre covid meals. I also line that there are three options.
United needs to step up their catering. Especially with all the cuts to the Polaris soft product.
These look miles better than the UA or AA equivalents. Wow.
I was on an AA flight from CUN-PHL last week and was surprised to get a drink in a glass, warm nuts, hot towel and a hot meal! No PDB though still. Options were sea bass or pasta and I went with the ravioli with creamy mushroom sauce and asparagus. It was completely edible! The bread basket was stale as hell though. Was not expecting all that LOL!
I had impossible burger on flight from San to Msp last week. Little salad whatever it was was delicious desert...blueberry cheesecake I believe was to die for. .th burger sorry...it was impossible...like cardboard...did have good sauce & bun was nice. Was impressed thru wentback to lined too & real glassware.woo hoo @
I’d be ok with the two meals pictured. I’ve never had a decent “creamy pasta” on any flight in whatever form it was presented, usually slimy sauces of various colors and overcooked noodles. I agree that a good salad option would be a welcome change.
I miss a picture of the American Airlines Turkey Sandwich as a comparison.
I have a net going on that you post this sandwich twice per week ands I do not want to loose this bet.
Flying ATL:LAS in first in a couple weeks. I'd be reasonably happy with these choices, but as someone with dietary restrictions, it would be even better if I could pre-order OR they came with a list of ingredients/allergens. Otherwise it's a bit of a game of roulette ordering blindly.
Never eat the fish
Surely you can't be serious.
I am serious, “and stop calling me Shirley!!”
Why whoever does catering for Jetblue doesn't do the airplane catering for the entire country, is beyond me. It's not even close. From beverages, to snacks, to meals. Chicken looks reasonably healthy. Short ribs sound fine, just don't eat the potatoes.
This is the second pic I’ve seen this week of a protein with a bone in it on DL. Seems like a bit of an odd choice since they know passengers will only have a butter knife onboard.
If properly prepared short ribs shouldn't really need anything more than a butter knife.
'If' does a lot of heavy lifting there!
The meal boxes I had on the couple flights where I was given one weren't very good. I think one was an italian sub-type sandwich and the other was like a breakfast cheese thing? Glad to see this change tbh.
Nice to see - reasonable for this distance flight, but spartan for a midcon like MSP-LAX.
MSP-LAX is like 3.5-4 hours tops, how do you need more food than this for that length of flight? That's a substantial, heavy meal already.
I await Tim Dunn letting us know that these meals should be recognized as the best they could possibly be, and that nobody could have done better than Delta in this regard.
it's airplane food. Nicely presented but airplane food.
Anyone that has any other expectations....
Your meal looks pretty good @Ben. Glad to see things are slowly returning to "normal".
Trolly service to IST then STR am Sonntag!!
Just flew delta from Atlanta to Belize city November 12 which was 1100 miles in First class and NO hot meal service. Just a box with three very cold small pieces of cranberry? Bread and a pack of nuts. No pre departure beverage. Snack basket passed around 15 minutes before landing Dry disappointing since delta says hot meal would be served.
Certainly much better on what you'd get on AA on that same route, which would be something cold. AA at least has brought back the warm mixed nuts.