We’ve seen major airlines in the United States progressively restore inflight service, as vaccination rates continue to increase, and coronavirus cases continue to decrease.
In mid-April, Delta Air Lines restored more drink and snack service in all cabins, though the airline stopped short of bringing back hot meals in first class. That will finally be changing.
Delta will serve hot meals on select transcon routes
As of June 15, 2021, Delta One and first class passengers traveling on select transcon routes will once again be offered hot meals. Eligible routes include the following:
- Boston to Los Angeles
- Boston to San Francisco
- Boston to Seattle
- New York to Los Angeles
- New York to San Francisco
- New York to Seattle
Passengers can expect dishes like lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry thyme syrup for breakfast, a smoked salmon plate with bagel chips for lunch (probably not hot?), and beef short ribs with whipped potatoes for dinner. Menus will be available digitally via seatback monitors.
Delta will reintroduce the snack basket
As of June 15, 2021, Delta One, first class, and Comfort+ passengers on longer domestic flights will once again be offered a snack selection from the snack basket. Options could include Kind energy bars, potato chips, cookies, and more.
Delta will serve meals on 1,500+ mile flights later this summer
As you can see, Delta will initially only offer more substantial food in premium cabins on select transcon routes. When should we expect more service in first class on more routes?
Later this summer, customers traveling in Delta One and first class on flights of 1,500+ miles will be offered sandwiches, salads, and bowls. You can expect options like coconut chia oatmeal, a superfood grain bowl, a strawberry salad with seared chicken, an Italian prosciutto and fresh mozzarella sandwich, and more.
My take on Delta resuming inflight service
During the pandemic, Delta made the deepest cuts to its inflight service in order to minimize contact between passengers and crew. I’m inclined to believe the airline had the right intentions (rather than cost cutting), because Delta also blocked middle seats, which was infinitely more costly than anything that could be served inflight.
However, Delta is certainly taking its time with restoring inflight service. While it’s nice that six transcon routes will now have hot meals, Delta is still only serving snack boxes in first class on other routes, and that will continue to be the case until later this summer.
It sounds like even later this summer we shouldn’t expect hot meals on 1,500+ mile flights, but rather should just expect more substantial cold meals. Now, personally I don’t necessarily view that as a bad thing. Hot meals aren’t necessarily better than cold meals (just ask United), and if Delta can serve something tasty that’s cold, I’m all for it.
Still, it sure feels like Delta is trailing here. Both Alaska Airlines and United Airlines are restoring hot meals in first class. American Airlines has been serving hot meals in premium transcon markets throughout the pandemic, but otherwise the airline is living in its own french vanilla fantasy, where customers don’t want meals, but rather want to just pick at things in a cardboard box, or something.
Delta will be restoring more premium cabin service on domestic flights. This week the airline will be bringing back hot meals on six transcon routes, along with bringing back the snack basket in Delta One, first class, and Comfort+, on longer flights. Then as of later this summer the airline will bring back more substantial food options on 1,500+ mile flights, but don’t expect hot food.
What do you make of Delta’s service resumptions?