Hot Meals Returning To Delta First Class March 2022

Hot Meals Returning To Delta First Class March 2022

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Around the start of the pandemic we saw a vast majority of airlines greatly scale back inflight service in order to minimize contact between people and maximize the amount of time people have their masks on. Since then we’ve seen airlines gradually resume inflight service, though there have also been some setbacks due to coronavirus variants.

Delta has greatly cut back domestic first class service during the pandemic. A few weeks back we learned that Delta planned to bring back hot meals on more flights as of March, and we now have more details of what that will look like.

Delta first class hot meals as of March 2022

Delta plans to resume hot plated meal service in domestic first class:

  • Hot meals will be rolled out as of March 1, 2022, and all eligible flights should have them within a week of that date
  • Hot meals will be available on flights of over 900 miles, including domestic flights, as well as international flights to & from Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean
  • Flights under 900 miles will continue to feature complimentary drinks and a choice of snacks

As Delta describes it, these warm meals will include “local ingredients and favorite items.” Menu highlights will include ginger beer-braised osso bucco, wild mushroom ravioli, chicken cacciatore, and French bread pizza.

Furthermore, customers will be served barbecue beef short ribs from Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q on select flights departing Atlanta. Dessert options will include ricotta cheesecake, frozen Greek yogurt with cherry syrup, and a strawberry, rhubarb, and pretzel tart.

Hot meals are returning to Delta first class

What’s Delta first class service currently like?

What’s service currently like in Delta first class, before we see the return of hot plated meals?

  • Since June 2021, Delta has been serving hot meals on eligible premium transcontinental routes, particularly those out of Boston and New York
  • On other domestic routes of over 900 miles, Delta has been serving fresh meals in pre-packaged boxes
  • On shorter domestic flights, Delta has been serving drinks and light snacks
Delta’s current pre-packaged fresh first class meals

How does Delta compare to the competition?

How do US airlines currently compare when it comes to inflight service in first class?

United’s “hot” food is… not amazing
American’s cold food is… well, I’ll let you guess

Bottom line

As of March 2022, Delta will be restoring hot meals in first class on flights of over 900 miles. This has been a long time coming, as Delta made the deepest inflight service cuts during the pandemic, and is finally restoring service.

Delta is the last of the major US airlines to restore hot meals on shorter domestic flights, so it’s great to see this development. Of course that doesn’t mean that the quality of the food will be great — just because food is hot doesn’t make it good. Quite to the contrary, a lot of these dishes sound overly complex to me, given the very limited catering budgets airlines are working with.

What do you make of Delta resuming hot meal service in first class?

Conversations (49)
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  1. Nicole Guest

    I just flew delta st Thomas to JFK a 4 hour flight and 1400 miles. Served cold food in a box.
    Very upsetting that they are lying about hot meals coming back. FLight attendant said they came from Atlanta and couldn’t have hot food or it would go bad.

  2. Margaret Guest

    Recently flew first class to Florida from N.j. I ordered a hot lentil vegetable bowl that was so delicious,I would like to know where I can purchase it...or get the recipe.... [email protected]

  3. Joseph T Cestaro Guest

    Any Delta predeparture beverages?

  4. Gantt Guest

    And FINALLY, real glasses back in Delta Domestic First. Yesterday was my first sighting. That’s a welcome (and I’m my opinion Long overdue) improvement!

  5. Alice Spurgeon Guest

    I am excited as I will be traveling in first class in May. I know airline food is not top quality but it is a plus when traveling. Thank you Delta for having kept us safe during Covid and for the excellent service received on my previous flights. I have traveled on United and Frontier but Delta is the best!

  6. W Lewis Guest

    I took Delta to Nice from JFK on a business trip - over 9 hours on the plane. I was in something called "PREMIUM SELECT". Worse service ever. Flight attendants were mean and snappy on the way over, only slightly better on the way back. Food was disgusting. "Dinner" - an "entree' (chicken or pasta) with a side salad-like thing" and a tiny ice cream (sized for a 4 year old in day care) -...

    I took Delta to Nice from JFK on a business trip - over 9 hours on the plane. I was in something called "PREMIUM SELECT". Worse service ever. Flight attendants were mean and snappy on the way over, only slightly better on the way back. Food was disgusting. "Dinner" - an "entree' (chicken or pasta) with a side salad-like thing" and a tiny ice cream (sized for a 4 year old in day care) - all together on a plastic plate. Makes Lean Cuisine seem like 5-star dining. For breakfast as we were landing - they put a small square box on our trays - 3x3 inches. Inside it contained some kind of a take on a breakfast sandwich with a slice of cheese. I opened the box and quickly sealed it shut. Then came the beverage cart - ONE cup of starbucks coffee and the cart disappeared!
    On the way back, which was a daytime flight, they served another box - Pizza or BBQ chicken with side & teeny ice cream. Pizza was like the Bagel Bites my daughter ate in pre school - I wouldnt serve it to my dog.
    I get that things are different post COVID, but I was embarrassed for Delta. I am a million mile customer and it was my first flight overseas since COVID, and the experience was pretty bad.
    So now there are 4 levels of service - Delta One, Premium Select, Comfort + and Coach- which is ridiculous. I will not fly again across an ocean unless I can do Delta One. The experience was miserable.

    1. Patrick Jacobs Guest

      I just flew from Atlanta to Boise, 1800 miles, first class. No predeparture drinks. 30 minutes into the flight I was asked what cold box lunch I wanted and a drink order. Delta very carefully uses the term "on select flights" you will get a hot meal. Isnt 1800 miles enough for a hot meal? Really substandard first class ride.

  7. JP Guest

    The boxed sandwiches on Delta have been awful. Stale rolls with not great meat. Their snack box is definitely preferable. Delta is lagging way behind other airlines.

  8. Fed UP Guest

    US airlines are terrible, the COVID was just an excuse to race to the bottom.

    Recently flew (all first/business class flights)
    DCA - YYZ on Air Canada, 1 hour flight, full breakfast,
    YYZ - YVR in business, full meal with 4 choices

    Return on crappy united, YVR to LAX at 6pm on United, a 3 hour 'dinner' flight, got the salty, unhealthy snack box... Then the overnight flight, LAX-IAD they give a dinner...

    US airlines are terrible, the COVID was just an excuse to race to the bottom.

    Recently flew (all first/business class flights)
    DCA - YYZ on Air Canada, 1 hour flight, full breakfast,
    YYZ - YVR in business, full meal with 4 choices

    Return on crappy united, YVR to LAX at 6pm on United, a 3 hour 'dinner' flight, got the salty, unhealthy snack box... Then the overnight flight, LAX-IAD they give a dinner at 12am midnight, knowing nobody would want the food , so they claim it was offered ... PS-AC gives you a breakfast on the overnight flight just before landing, not a meal at midnight

    Crap US airlines... no wonder they can't compete in the world with the likes of Asian or Mid East airlines

    1. guest Guest

      are kosher meals available

  9. Happy Flyer Member

    About time! This is the one area DL has been lagging behind in. I really hope they expand on Do&Co, their food is outstanding, as far as airline food goes.

  10. MaxPower Guest

    Look at delta following United and AA back to normal service levels…

    I’m surprised in all of this that they didn’t find a way to remove a full beverage service with a Bellini and call it an upgrade.

  11. ConcordeBoy Diamond

    They had a veggie ravioli that I'd enjoyed on MSY-LAX several times... would love if their new offering brings that back!

  12. James Guest

    Now if we could just put an end to the useless muzzle requirements that would be just swell. How much longer will it take for the brainwashed covid cultists to wake up to the reality that their chin diaper isn't saving them from catching the vid? Only two types of people now. Those with natural immunity and those that will soon have it.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      "the brainwashed covid cultists"

      ...ya gotta love unrecognized irony. LOL

    2. JP Guest

      TRUTH be told! Furthermore- You are somehow safer eating a boxed meal vs a hot meal? Right up there with mask on to the restaurant table and then safe to have it off for 2 hours while you dine. SMH.

    3. Janet Guest

      I couldn't agree more, James.

  13. bruh Guest

    I recently flew Delta First Class from BOS-ATL and back. holy smokes, the snack boxes were super terrible. It was downright bad, I didn't even eat anything. I just had to kill the time w coffee and soft drinks.

  14. Joseph T Cestaro Guest

    Hoping for a return of pre departure beverages on Delta domestic first... anyone know if it's happening?

  15. Walter Guest

    The attempts to improve the quality of the food for overseas flights has been a boondoggle. Passengers suffer some horrible concoctions as their main meal.
    It's chicken Breast cadaver cooked to destruction and some soggy mash, A little salad comes along. Or you can get pasta which operates on the level of refugee camp rations. this service has not proved significantly in5 years sin
    ce we were served overcooked frozen pizza for breakfast...

    The attempts to improve the quality of the food for overseas flights has been a boondoggle. Passengers suffer some horrible concoctions as their main meal.
    It's chicken Breast cadaver cooked to destruction and some soggy mash, A little salad comes along. Or you can get pasta which operates on the level of refugee camp rations. this service has not proved significantly in5 years sin
    ce we were served overcooked frozen pizza for breakfast which bordered on incomestible. There have been many Spats regarding the improvement of the food with out impact, When are you going to bring some Hamburgers and hot dogs from reputable fast food companies to stamp out a the meal torture on the planes.

  16. Valyo Calvert Guest

    The fresh food box meal on delta was really good! I was surprised and fresh. Had chicken salad with strawberries!

    1. Gabo New Member

      Smart going with the salad as the turkey sandwich was mostly stale bread with a tiny thin slice of turkey and Swiss cheese.

    2. Gantt Guest

      That was the ONLY decent one. Most were inedible.

  17. Julie Ryan Guest

    So no hot food in first class on Delta from LAX to OGG?

  18. Tomas Guest

    JetBlue's Mint Svc. has the best catering of any U.S. Legacy or LCC carrier.

    1. Janet Guest

      Absolutely! Funny how this article never mentions them. I flew Mint class several times during the pandemic and their food service never suffered, which means their passengers (like me) never suffered. The only change I noticed during the worst of it was that Jet Blue temporarily shut down their little "Help Yourself" cafe.

      PS: I'm a big fan of their 'Plane Eats' meal options in Mint. If you haven't tried that option, you should. In...

      Absolutely! Funny how this article never mentions them. I flew Mint class several times during the pandemic and their food service never suffered, which means their passengers (like me) never suffered. The only change I noticed during the worst of it was that Jet Blue temporarily shut down their little "Help Yourself" cafe.

      PS: I'm a big fan of their 'Plane Eats' meal options in Mint. If you haven't tried that option, you should. In my gastronomic opinion, those meals are better than the small plates options.

  19. Chris Guest

    Hopefully ordering special meals comes back too.

    1. Fed UP Guest

      JetBlue is the best US Airline, even in economy

  20. Gabo New Member

    Almost anything is better than the cheap boxes with shelf-stable salty snacks, or the boxed turkey breast sandwich that is one thin slice of deli turkey breast, one thin slice of Swiss cheese, one lettuce leaf, one tomato slice, all inside a large stale bun.

    I say almost anything cause Delta has been wining the inedible award in my book lately. On flights towards the end of the year to France and Spain, Delta...

    Almost anything is better than the cheap boxes with shelf-stable salty snacks, or the boxed turkey breast sandwich that is one thin slice of deli turkey breast, one thin slice of Swiss cheese, one lettuce leaf, one tomato slice, all inside a large stale bun.

    I say almost anything cause Delta has been wining the inedible award in my book lately. On flights towards the end of the year to France and Spain, Delta was serving well over cooked mush that was supposed to be chicken in mushroom sauce or chicken in curry sauce with a side of rice mush.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Delta had really good airline food and wine in first-class and international business-class from around 2015 to 2018. It started getting bad in 2018, but the pre-ordering feature throughout 2019 made it easy to avoid a bad meal experience.

  21. Mike C Gold

    I know this is a thread about Delta, and tangentially about the comparative performance of other US carriers, but for a point of comparison, I recently flew Virgin Australia business class on a 300 mile flight (CBR-MEL). Choice of two salads, mine was quite tasty, served on china plates with real silver ware, and wine in a real glass.

  22. Juan Guest

    I know those lunch boxes over the past year were not popular, but I think they could actually be good for flights around the 600-900 mile range, with 900+ getting the hot meals back. Those flights can be around 2 hours, often overlap with meal times, and fill in an area of service that the other airlines have overlooked. Doubt they would do it (since even pre-COVID sub-900 mile flights were just a snack basket) but it would be nice!

  23. Curtis Guest

    Alaska is, IMO, better than pre-pandemic now, at least in First. They've got preorder available on all flights up to two hours before take off, they've got a choice of entrees, and the food is quite edible, and nutritious, even (dare I say?) tasty. They've also returned to glassware and china. As before, they serve meals on shorter flights. SFO-SEA, for example is under 700 miles and gets a meal. On the shorter flights the...

    Alaska is, IMO, better than pre-pandemic now, at least in First. They've got preorder available on all flights up to two hours before take off, they've got a choice of entrees, and the food is quite edible, and nutritious, even (dare I say?) tasty. They've also returned to glassware and china. As before, they serve meals on shorter flights. SFO-SEA, for example is under 700 miles and gets a meal. On the shorter flights the meal is cold, but it's still served in china and it includes some very tasty salads. On longer flights it's hot.

  24. Pete Diamond

    I know you don’t fly United often, but you shouldn’t use that same year+ old (?) sandwich picture to opine about their first class food.
    Nothing gourmet about it, but IMHO the best of the big 3 so far.

    1. Santastico Guest

      I started flying United last year after not flying them for 20 years due to a job change. I had my Diamond status from Delta matched to United's 1K so got to fly in first class a few times. Their food is below mediocre. Agree that there is nothing gourmet about any food on any US airline but United is deplorable.

    2. FLLFYER Guest

      Flew two domestic segments on UA this week in First. Both flights had the deplorable chicken sandwich! That thing needs to go away!

  25. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    I wouldn't get too excited about this, unless Delta brings back the pre-select option it had before the pandemic. The cold meal boxes in first-class have ranged from god awful and inedible to barely edible with a huge emphasis on breads and other carbs.

    What's disappointing is the 900-mile requirement. PDX to LAX is just under 900 miles. That's a long flight with nothing but granola bars and maybe canned wine. Consider before the...

    I wouldn't get too excited about this, unless Delta brings back the pre-select option it had before the pandemic. The cold meal boxes in first-class have ranged from god awful and inedible to barely edible with a huge emphasis on breads and other carbs.

    What's disappointing is the 900-mile requirement. PDX to LAX is just under 900 miles. That's a long flight with nothing but granola bars and maybe canned wine. Consider before the pandemic there were a handful routes like New York to Chicago O'Hare and San Francisco to Los Angeles that featured a meal.

    1. Reno Joe Guest

      Waste-producing plastic cups and wooden utensils are now the standard on "green" Delta instead of washable and reusable glasses and metal utensils.

    2. Icarus Guest

      Wooden utensils are recycled. Many airlines use them, at least in economy.

    3. Kiwi Member

      The 900 mile requirement was the published rule before the pandemic as well. One can hope the same competitive market exceptions will be restored

    4. Jan Guest

      900-mile meal requirement has been a thing before the pandemic.
      SFO-LAX having meals is news to me, that's a ~1-hr flight.

    5. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Delta flights between SFO and LAX had a cold meal like salad wraps when they were marketed as the West Coast Shuttle.

    6. Ryan Guest

      And that “west coast shuttle” experiment lasted a year and had been canceled at the end of ‘17, nothing to do with the pandemic. The meal exception markets were very few by March 2020.

    7. Third Coast Flyer Guest

      Yea hoping the ORD-LGA shuttle gets a full comeback. It was nice knowing that flight had an edible meal and didn’t have to leave extra time to grab overpriced fast food when running to make the flight.

    8. Gantt Guest

      Real glasses back yesterday ATL/MLB. Delighted to see the return.

  26. George Romey Guest

    I have to wonder if the FA Union at AA will prevent the airline from returning to hot meals in domestic first, given their latest demands.

    1. Reno Joe Guest

      It's not the union per se, it's the union's response to a management cost-cutting measure. During the height of COVID, when AA eliminated in-flight service, it reduced the number of flight attendants on each flight. When AA restored in-flight service, it not not restore the number of flight attendants on each flight. The reduced number had to cover in-flight service as well -- and the union justifiably complained. My sense is that AA and the...

      It's not the union per se, it's the union's response to a management cost-cutting measure. During the height of COVID, when AA eliminated in-flight service, it reduced the number of flight attendants on each flight. When AA restored in-flight service, it not not restore the number of flight attendants on each flight. The reduced number had to cover in-flight service as well -- and the union justifiably complained. My sense is that AA and the union privately agreed to 1) keep the reduced staffing, 2) reduce in-flight workload with the announced service cuts, and 3) present it publicly as COVID safety. After COVID has passed and everyone is accustomed to the reduced service, it is made permanent (perhaps, with not even a mention). And, that's how you implement a cost-cutting measure when everyone else is restoring in-flight service.

  27. Jan Guest

    I didn't mind the strawberry chicken salad "sad box", but still looking forward to actual food (hopefully)?, esp. my next flight will be in March (booked in a widebody positioning flight!)

    1. Kevin Guest

      That’s the best one - strawberry chicken salad but have only see it once.

      The charcuterie has been inconsistent for me for breakfast time. The super grain bowl is just awful.

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

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James Guest

Now if we could just put an end to the useless muzzle requirements that would be just swell. How much longer will it take for the brainwashed covid cultists to wake up to the reality that their chin diaper isn't saving them from catching the vid? Only two types of people now. Those with natural immunity and those that will soon have it.

2
ConcordeBoy Diamond

"the brainwashed covid cultists" ...ya gotta love unrecognized irony. LOL

1
bruh Guest

I recently flew Delta First Class from BOS-ATL and back. holy smokes, the snack boxes were super terrible. It was downright bad, I didn't even eat anything. I just had to kill the time w coffee and soft drinks.

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