Air France Rolls Out Boxed Meals In Domestic Business Class

Air France Rolls Out Boxed Meals In Domestic Business Class

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As of February 2024, Air France has rolled out a new dining concept in domestic business class. While the concept might not sound premium on the surface, it’s a significant improvement over the old offering.

Air France domestic business class gets improved catering

Air France has started offering boxed meals in short haul, domestic business class, created in partnership with Chef François Adamski. The airline will be offering a selection that changes throughout the day:

  • On flights leaving before 10AM, breakfast will be served, consisting of sandwiches with different fillings (such as smoked salmon and cream cheese with dill on white bread), accompanied by a breakfast pastry
  • On flights leaving after 10AM, lunch or dinner will be served, consisting of a signature sandwich (such as smoked paprika chicken and tarragon vegetables on granary bread), accompanied by French sweets and desserts, such as a calisson, a cannelé, or a tropézienne
  • On all flights, drinks will be served in proper glassware, compared to the plastic cups that they were served in before

The menu will be rotated each month, and will be served in a box designed specifically for Air France business class. This is in addition to the standard selection of drinks, including wine and champagne.

Air France claims that this is part of the carrier’s effort to continue to move upmarket, while promoting French cuisine. The meal box and food waste it contains will be sorted onboard, and the boxes will be subject to methanization for reprocessing purposes.

Why these boxed meals are an improvement

“Boxed food” and a “move upmarket” rarely go in the same sentence. However, in this case it is actually a positive change.

First of all, nothing is changing with Air France’s short haul international catering, if you’re traveling from France to a nearby country. Those meals will continue to be served on proper trays and plates. As you’d expect from a French airline, Air France has among the best catering of any European airline in business class.

Air France short haul business class catering

Rather, this applies exclusively to short haul domestic flights. Air France doesn’t actually operate all that many of those, given that France has banned many kinds of domestic flights.

Previously, Air France just served small packaged snacks on short haul domestic flights, much less substantial than on flights to neighboring countries. So this new boxed meal service concept does represent an improvement over what used to be offered, as does the introduction of glassware.

The fact that this is served in a box allows the crew to provide an efficient service, given the duration of these flights. The crew can just hand each passenger a box, rather than having to “arrange it” on the galley cart. I’ve gotta say, the new boxes do look very elegant.

In the Air France-KLM Group, KLM has been serving boxed meals in short haul business class for a long time. While I’m not a fan of the plastic containers things are in, it’s otherwise a pretty nice presentation. Fortunately on Air France, this change is only coming to domestic flights.

KLM boxed business class meal
KLM boxed business class meal

Bottom line

Air France is introducing boxed meals in short haul, domestic business class. The airline is promising a selection that rotates each month, with sandwiches, pastries, sweets, and more. On top of that, the airline is introducing proper glassware.

Given the limited service that was previously available on domestic flights, this is a great development.

What do you make of these new Air France boxed meals?

Conversations (51)
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  1. PASCAL PIERRE Guest

    Domestic France but intra EU flights keep the traditional cold dish then ?
    Actually the box for flights around 60 minutes IS an improvement.
    For business EU flights passagers will still be served the cold dish....well, well,...Actually I like it but the portions are very small.... I hope AF will improve its premium economy food because so far, it's been a HUGE "désappointement." Not to mention the MC style breakfast bag which is...

    Domestic France but intra EU flights keep the traditional cold dish then ?
    Actually the box for flights around 60 minutes IS an improvement.
    For business EU flights passagers will still be served the cold dish....well, well,...Actually I like it but the portions are very small.... I hope AF will improve its premium economy food because so far, it's been a HUGE "désappointement." Not to mention the MC style breakfast bag which is a real insult to passengers.
    I would not say AF meals are a reference any longer....other airlines offer excelelnt meals like LH, SW, Turikish... not to mention JAL or Emirates:)

  2. CTR Guest

    This may not be on topic but when flying from the US at 10:30 or 11:00 PM to CDG, are you served dinner or only breakfast the next morning?

  3. Icarus Guest

    To point out short haul means flights within France is domestic :
    https://wwws.airfrance.co.uk/information/prepare/repas-a-bord

    Medium haul are flights outside France within Europe, North Africa, Lebanon and Israel.

    Therefore his box meal is only on flights within France.

  4. Carl Guest

    If this is what AF will be serving on all their domestic / Schengen flights, this is a major downgrade as they used to serve a starter and a hot main course in the pre-covid years (on flights above 1.5h I believe) and currently serve at least cold dishes. I just can't see how these club sandwiches could be an upgrade? The EU is smaller than the US (in terms of land area) but AF...

    If this is what AF will be serving on all their domestic / Schengen flights, this is a major downgrade as they used to serve a starter and a hot main course in the pre-covid years (on flights above 1.5h I believe) and currently serve at least cold dishes. I just can't see how these club sandwiches could be an upgrade? The EU is smaller than the US (in terms of land area) but AF still has many flights of 2h or more. Will this be their offering for these flights too? AF is trying to cut cost everywhere they can as they're also doing with their international premium economy, which has nothing premium at all (no pre-departure drinks, no post-departure drink service, just a single-tray food & drink service like in the main cabin!). I wonder for how long passengers will keep paying a premium for these barebone services.

    1. Gorgor Guest

      You do realize that "domestic" and "Schengen flights" are to different things, right?

    2. James Guest

      I think Air France just says “short haul” for these boxes. So that would be domestic and Schengen.

    3. James Guest

      I stand corrected - I think this is France domestic only from looking at the website.

    4. PASCAL PIERRE Guest

      not really, domestic EU includes France as well....

  5. Raf Guest

    Too little too late for business class passengers who have to suffer getting seated in the same economy class uncomfortable seats on European flights.

  6. Bob Guest

    Reminds me of flying with AA in the late 80s and early 90s....in economy. 30 years later everybody has downgraded value. But hey now we have basic economy.

  7. JohnHam Member

    Better than the US snack basket

  8. dee Guest

    At least they(AFand KLM) serve something besides the "snack box"

  9. schrap2755 Guest

    shucks -- just did CDG>Nice round trip over the past weekend (jan 26-28th) in biz --- great service, some champagne, but just a snack mix bag. I guess it's all part of the roll-out though --- maybe next time.

  10. BookLvr Diamond

    I would be happy to get one of these boxes as a lunch on a flight.

    I suspect they may be as good or better than what I actually had for lunch on the ground in my office at work today. It looks significantly better than the last hot meal I had in business on a U.S. carrier. (I don't want to talk about that one.)

    While I've never flown a domestic flight...

    I would be happy to get one of these boxes as a lunch on a flight.

    I suspect they may be as good or better than what I actually had for lunch on the ground in my office at work today. It looks significantly better than the last hot meal I had in business on a U.S. carrier. (I don't want to talk about that one.)

    While I've never flown a domestic flight on Air France (we've traveled intra-country on the train), I have been very impressed with Air France's catering in Business and First on international flights. I would be happy to be served the most recent dinner I had on Air France on the ground at a restaurant.

    So kudos to Air France for moving from a snack to an actual meal.

  11. Sam Guest

    Don’t know why there’s such hate about these boxes.

    The current KLM boxed product in Euro biz is pretty good - I’d much rather eat a fresh KLM boxed meal than what Delta microwaves in domestic first. And since AF catering is across the board better in all classes, I think this will be fine. The French certainly know how to make a delicious sandwich.

  12. Sam Guest

    Don’t know why there’s such hate about these boxes. The KLM boxed product in Euro biz is pretty good - I’d much rather eat a fresh KLM boxed meal than what Delta microwaves in domestic first.

  13. Manny Guest

    Nothing says we care for your business, like a boxed meal. Yeah right!

    The real head scratcher are the comments that make these downgrades are all okay just because the US based airlines treat their clients even worse.

  14. InceptionCat Gold

    This looks worse than the KLM offering which i find good. That KLM box is filling with all its content.
    The sandwich looks like sth i've got on the AF cheap subsidiary Hop! on flights from Germany to CDG in J (connecting to long haul J). Needless to say but i'm not impressed. This is mostly about cost cutting.
    I'll be flying them in March so i'll see what the product is like.

  15. tipsyinmadras Diamond

    AF short-haul catering and service has historically been pretty solid up front - even on short domestic segments within Metropolitan France (at least mainline, can't speak for former Hop E-Jets). As others have noted, KLM's is already doing this - their boxed catering for business isn't bad at all, fresh, ample portion - sampled it on an AMS-GVA flight last year.

    1. Brian W Guest

      It doesnt seem very green with all the packaging waste. If AMS is worried about global warming, maybe the they want to give an opinion.

    2. tipsyinmadras Diamond

      Can’t argue with you there, it’s a lot of plastic and cardboard. Certainly hope AF/KLM can recycle most of it.

  16. Samo Guest

    I really don't see how serving it on proper plates would take more time - it can be prepacked that way in the catering facility, then just unwrapped on board and served (A3 does this on their domestic flights for example). It's just Air France being cheap, which would perhaps be fine if their business class fares were also cheap, but they're not. And of course I assume it's gonna remain a single option, with...

    I really don't see how serving it on proper plates would take more time - it can be prepacked that way in the catering facility, then just unwrapped on board and served (A3 does this on their domestic flights for example). It's just Air France being cheap, which would perhaps be fine if their business class fares were also cheap, but they're not. And of course I assume it's gonna remain a single option, with no choice of meals, so it's basically down to your luck whether they serve something that matches your taste on the day.

    I believe AFKL doesn't even let you choose meal on longer European flights, right?

    1. John Guest

      Some domestic flights are just 15min in the air.... Max are 1hr, metropolitan France is not that big, so you can also eat while descending without proper plates.

  17. ag Guest

    "Air France has among the best catering of any European airline in business class."

    Ummm...

    BA
    Iberia
    TAP
    (To name just a few)
    All have better food in short haul business than AF...

    1. Gorgor Guest

      Aegean takes the crown for inner eu catering as far as I am concerned. Though I was also pleasantly surprised by Iberias catering recently..

  18. David Marquette Guest

    KLM has done this for years in Euro biz, its A OK, service quick. Unliked boxed lunches in US, KLM boxes were mostly all fresh: yogurt, fruit, sandwich with salmon, mouse dessert. This is much better than the hyper processed food in the USA on board boxes, like United's.

  19. Ben Guest

    AF PR release and social posts do not mention "DOMESTIC" short-haul flights. This meal is for short-haul, period. Maybe you meant Schengen / intra-Europe short-haul flights. This is definitely a downgrade like KLM.

    1. Ben Guest

      at AF "short haul" means domestic flights. "medium haul" is what refers to international (narrowbody) flights. So no, this is not a downgrade but rather an upgrade, like Ben mentions.

    2. VladG Gold

      "Short-haul" in AF lingo is domestic flights.

  20. beachmouse Member

    I’m currently working my way through French on Duolingo and found myself wondering how you say ‘Delta sad box’ in French? La boite de Delta est triste?

    1. Koen Guest

      Perhaps more eloquent would be: Une boite de tristesse? ;)

  21. Anthony C. Guest

    Seems like a lot of wasted plastic and wrappers. Plates can be washed these one use plastic containers can’t. The box reminds me of LaDuree very pretty and I’m sure tasty but too much “one use plastic”.

  22. Joseph Guest

    Methanization? They need to go to rehab.

  23. Gordon Ramsey Guest

    The truth is a sandwich from Prêt is going to be on average, as good as anything they're serving in business class. Again, they effectively can only steam or microwave already cooked food on a plane. It's like travel and points bloggers don't know how cooking works.

    1. Samo Guest

      Or like travel and points bloggers have enough experience to know that you can serve a decent meal even with the limited equipment available on board. I've had some excellent meals on board European business class back in the day when airlines still put effort into them (remember when they actually did three courses, served one buy one, rather than dropping a tray on your table and dissapearing in the galley). In fact, ocasionally you...

      Or like travel and points bloggers have enough experience to know that you can serve a decent meal even with the limited equipment available on board. I've had some excellent meals on board European business class back in the day when airlines still put effort into them (remember when they actually did three courses, served one buy one, rather than dropping a tray on your table and dissapearing in the galley). In fact, ocasionally you can still find something good. OS in particular has a great quality of food (but sadly just one option so I end up not eating it half of the time - but when they have something I like, the taste is awesome).

      These cheap, uninspired, basic, single-choice offerings from Air France are an insult to France and there's no excuse for that. Premium fares should deliver premium product. It can be done.

  24. vlcnc Guest

    In principle whilst not getting things served on a plate and with proper cutlery is more down market in terms of service, if the food is improved then practically that is what matters. However I doubt this is the case and I feel this will be downgrade on both counts. Even if the food is marginally better at launch, you can guarantee it will be degraded massively over time until you're left with unappetising meals...

    In principle whilst not getting things served on a plate and with proper cutlery is more down market in terms of service, if the food is improved then practically that is what matters. However I doubt this is the case and I feel this will be downgrade on both counts. Even if the food is marginally better at launch, you can guarantee it will be degraded massively over time until you're left with unappetising meals in the very downmarket setting of a box no better than a supermarket meal deal.

  25. Tim Dunn Diamond

    I would imagine a higher percentage of passengers on short haul connecting flights are longhaul international connections than on medium haul intra-Europe flights so the calculus is and should be different.
    AF's box presentation does look nice but the contents seem to be a little weak. It is hard to box up fresh food esp. w/o overloading on carbs so a few more pics over time would help to validate if this is a good strategy

  26. DCWABN Guest

    I don't for a second believe this has anything to do with "moving upward" or any other marketing blather. But, from a consumerism standpoint, I could see this removing a lot of wasted food if they can essentially load an aircraft for multiple turns within the same b'fast/lunch/dinner period as opposed to X meals each time, many of which may not be eaten.

    I wish they'd spare us the marketing spin and just say, "In...

    I don't for a second believe this has anything to do with "moving upward" or any other marketing blather. But, from a consumerism standpoint, I could see this removing a lot of wasted food if they can essentially load an aircraft for multiple turns within the same b'fast/lunch/dinner period as opposed to X meals each time, many of which may not be eaten.

    I wish they'd spare us the marketing spin and just say, "In an effort to avoid unnecessary waste and lessen our environmental impact, we've moved to boxed meals as a more efficient and less waste option. Rest assured, though, that the culinary delights you've come to expect from AF won't be compromised." Or something like that. Otherwise it comes across as if they think their passengers are stupid.

  27. Jens L-S Guest

    Seems like early allignment with the new bottom-scraping member of the group SAS, who have been using these atrocities for a while now.

    AF are joining the race to the bottom.

    1. Samo Guest

      At least SAS doesn't call their product a business class, and prices it accordingly.

    2. Icarus Guest

      It’s purely on French domestic flights where aircraft have little time on the ground between sectors. On flights to destinations outside France the tray service is maintained. Short haul means domestic.

      AF and KL do not have any catering at outstations in Europe. The food for the inbounds is loaded on the outbound from Paris and Amsterdam.

  28. Daniel Guest

    Hi, I think there is a bit of a misunderstanding.
    This service is deployed on domestic flights. The other flights within Europe are not concerned.
    So I believe it is an upgrade from the previous little snacks previously offered.

  29. Duck Ling Guest

    If they align with the KLM boxed meals that have been around for a while now it is definitely a downward trend. The last KLM box I had on a breakfast flight was the most carb filled cheap unhealthy 'meal' I have ever had in Business Class.

    Crucial as well as what does AF define as a 'short haul' flight? Is it a flight served by a short haul configured aircraft? I wouldn't mind getting...

    If they align with the KLM boxed meals that have been around for a while now it is definitely a downward trend. The last KLM box I had on a breakfast flight was the most carb filled cheap unhealthy 'meal' I have ever had in Business Class.

    Crucial as well as what does AF define as a 'short haul' flight? Is it a flight served by a short haul configured aircraft? I wouldn't mind getting the box with a sandwich on the 55min hop from CDG-LHR for example but would not be happy to receive it on longer sectors of 3-4hrs duration.

    1. Chris W Guest

      Shouldn't they use bands for deciding whether to serve boxes? Band 1 could be anything under 2 hours, which receives a box, Band 2 over 2 hours, and its a properly plated tray?

    2. Duck Ling Guest

      @ChrisW I hope so!

  30. Mika Guest

    As an AF Regular I can say this seems like a downward trend. KLM and AF don't offer hot meals ever where LH/BA do on medium haul flights. Granted I rarely fly short haul business - why pay for a meal that isn't even good. It's worth noting that AF/KL are also expirementing with earning Status XP for refusing the meal all together.

    1. KK13 Diamond

      This is about short-haul flights, not medium or long hauls.

  31. Fred Guest

    This is not for « short haul » but only for domestic flights (roughly 1 hour).

  32. Nico F Guest

    I think for once you are mistaken : the boxed lunch will be served only on domestic flights offering business class (only to/from CDG). It is actually an improvement as curently they only serve light snacks onbaord those flights. The medium hault platter you showed for FRA will still exist. BTW you missed that before covid 2h+ medium-hault flights had warm... They were amazing and are sorely missed .

  33. Oliver Guest

    I think this is domestic only

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Koen Guest

Perhaps more eloquent would be: Une boite de tristesse? ;)

4
David Marquette Guest

KLM has done this for years in Euro biz, its A OK, service quick. Unliked boxed lunches in US, KLM boxes were mostly all fresh: yogurt, fruit, sandwich with salmon, mouse dessert. This is much better than the hyper processed food in the USA on board boxes, like United's.

3
Gorgor Guest

You do realize that "domestic" and "Schengen flights" are to different things, right?

2
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