A Look At Delta’s New First Class Meals

A Look At Delta’s New First Class Meals

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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.

Delta first class Boeing 737-800

After takeoff, service began with drinks being served in proper glassware.

Delta first class drink service

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.

Delta first class dinner service

Ford had the chicken, which came with green beans, sweet potato (I think?), and tomatoes.

Delta first class dinner service

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 first class meal service during the pandemic

Bottom line

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?

Conversations (79)
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  1. PETER EDWARDS Guest

    Newark to Ontario first class both sectors and it was gummy bears and chips! $1200 …it’s a crime

  2. J king Guest

    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.

  3. jo Guest

    the superfood bowl was so good

  4. Sabine from Germany Guest

    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

  5. ChrisInNY Guest

    You'll never please everyone. And a lot of people just like to complain.

  6. Former Delta Flyer Guest

    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.

  7. M. McDougall Guest

    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.

  8. Sharon Potenza Guest

    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.

  9. Edson Garcia Guest

    My favorite dish Moroccan chicken & cheese cake

  10. Robert Guest

    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!

  11. Gretchen Jones Guest

    Anyone excited over a airplane meal really needs to be evaluated .

  12. Brad Guest

    Those are green beans, not asparagus

  13. Nick G Guest

    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.

    1. Robert Penning Guest

      My 9?year old’s food presentation looks better than that Delta slop. In years past Delta would not serve that garage in economy.

  14. Ron Guest

    A nice large Salad is a very good option for me. Unless the flight is over 1300 miles.

  15. Carol Guest

    I think for those who want a hot comfort meal serve it and for those that want simple second option salads.

  16. Paul Pine Guest

    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 .

  17. Rafael Vasquez Guest

    What about first class flights to
    DR

  18. Karen Densmore Guest

    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.

  19. TnT Guest

    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.

  20. Lisa L Guest

    We didn’t have anything like that! we were so late taking off we could’ve had breakfast lunch and dinner.

  21. Jasminka Guest

    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...

  22. Andy Diamond

    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).

  23. GG K. Guest

    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.

  24. Happy Flyer Member

    It's about time Delta brought back hot food service. Now if they would get off the mask kick...

    1. DALFA Guest

      That has nothing to do with Delta u have to blame TSA for that

  25. David Dagley Guest

    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.

    1. Steven L. Gold

      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.

  26. Paul Corman Guest

    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

  27. Marsha Brown Guest

    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 ??

  28. Mark Guest

    I flew SLC-MKE last week...still had the boxed meals. The fact that it's taken Delta this long is ridiculous.

  29. Jettjeff Guest

    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

  30. Sergio Guest

    I don't mind the food, the importance is to get to my destination. Delta can do that, never mind the luxury.

  31. Chris Guest

    Those seats look awful and uncomfortable.

  32. Michelle Guest

    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

    1. Steven L. Gold

      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.

  33. Marcia Guest

    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!!!

  34. Boop Guest

    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!

  35. Peggy Manchee Guest

    When did meals in 1st class become available

  36. TheBestBlackBrent Member

    Looks horrible, but what to expect from US domestic "first".

    Must be disappointing, especially after your recent narrowbody premium flights on QR and TK.

  37. Kristin Wilson Guest

    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.

    1. Marcia Guest

      Absolutely agree!!! We flew to San Francisco last month and had same thing! It was gross !!

    2. Beer gliskis Guest

      Food poisoning onsets in less than four hours. 36 hrs later, u did not get it from delta.

  38. Debora Kinney Guest

    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.

  39. Felipe B. Guest

    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.

  40. Rich Nicorvo Guest

    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!

  41. David Guest

    I flew Delta First from Rsw to LGA Saturday
    And no hot meal. Just cold deli sandwich.

  42. David Guest

    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.

  43. iamhere Guest

    I don't choose an airline or flight because of their food.

  44. Lisa M Guest

    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!

  45. Daniel Guest

    Alaska has good heated food too in my experience - both pre pandemic and now too.

  46. Jimmy’s Travel Report Gold

    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.

    1. DavidHoffman2 New Member

      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.

  47. Mark S. Guest

    Delta had offered three meal options on domestic flights for some time pre-pandemic.

  48. Janet Guest

    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!

    1. Kyrial Guest

      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.

  49. Scooter Frantzen Guest

    I was just on a First Class flight to Florida and my meal came in a box.

  50. Seth Guest

    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.

  51. RF Diamond

    United needs to step up their catering. Especially with all the cuts to the Polaris soft product.

  52. Sam Guest

    These look miles better than the UA or AA equivalents. Wow.

  53. PeterJordanTravel New Member

    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!

  54. Wendy Harmstead Guest

    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 @

  55. Donna Diamond

    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.

  56. Klaus Guest

    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.

  57. DLPTATL Gold

    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.

    1. Jeannie Guest

      Surely you can't be serious.

    2. Gravelly Point Guy Guest

      I am serious, “and stop calling me Shirley!!”

  58. Alonzo Diamond

    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.

  59. DWT Guest

    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.

    1. henare Diamond

      If properly prepared short ribs shouldn't really need anything more than a butter knife.

    2. Mike C Member

      'If' does a lot of heavy lifting there!

  60. Garrett Guest

    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.

  61. Greg Guest

    Nice to see - reasonable for this distance flight, but spartan for a midcon like MSP-LAX.

    1. DFWFlyer Guest

      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.

  62. Never In Doubt Guest

    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.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      it's airplane food. Nicely presented but airplane food.
      Anyone that has any other expectations....

  63. RetiredATLATC Gold

    Your meal looks pretty good @Ben. Glad to see things are slowly returning to "normal".

    Trolly service to IST then STR am Sonntag!!

  64. George Romey Guest

    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.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

GG K. Guest

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.

1
henare Diamond

If properly prepared short ribs shouldn't really need anything more than a butter knife.

1
Tim Dunn Diamond

it's airplane food. Nicely presented but airplane food. Anyone that has any other expectations....

1
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