Last month I wrote about how Emirates has changed its caviar policy for first class passengers for the better. This is noteworthy for two reasons — both for the policy as such, and for how rare it is for an airline to make a genuinely positive yet potentially expensive soft product improvement.
The airline is now publicizing this new policy, and I kind of love it. Emirates now promises that first class passengers can “savour unlimited portions of Persian caviar as part of the dine on demand service.” Let’s go over the details of what that means.
Emirates catering more caviar in first class
Caviar obviously isn’t cheap, and airlines serving caviar in first class all have policies around the service of this. Some airlines have a strict policy of only giving passengers one serving of caviar, even if there are extras. Other airlines allow crews to offer extra caviar at their discretion, if there are leftovers.
Emirates has a dine on demand menu in first class, meaning that you can (in theory) order as much as you’d like as often as you’d like. Emirates has caviar on the menu in first class on a vast majority of long haul routes, and for a long time it was at the crew’s discretion how much caviar passengers could be served from the available inventory.
The airline seems to realize how much first class passengers enjoy caviar, and as of recently made its policy surrounding this much more generous:
- Emirates now has an official policy of accommodating multiple caviar orders per flight, subject to there being enough; this means you can order it multiple times, or ask for a double portion
- Emirates has greatly increased catering of caviar, to the point that there will typically be three tins of caviar loaded per first class passenger
- Ultimately the tins of caviar cycle through the system, and any leftovers will be put onto other flights, so I assume that Emirates isn’t expecting all the caviar to actually be consumed
Emirates’ first class catering can be hit-or-miss, and I tend to think the two best things on the menu are the caviar and the mezze. So if you’re on a long haul flight and want to enjoy caviar a couple of times, you don’t have to feel sheepish about asking.
Other Emirates first class catering improvements
Not only is Emirates introducing “unlimited” caviar in first class, but the airline is making some other first class catering improvements.
Emirates is adding the “Cinema in the Sky” concept in first class, where passengers can order cinema snacks as they enjoy the Emirates ICE inflight entertainment system. This includes lobster rolls, sliders, edamame, salted popcorn, shrimp cocktails, and more.
While Emirates has long served dates and other sweets in first class, the airline is also introducing a new box with sweets, which has everything from dates to chocolate. Yum. Just what we need after seven portions of caviar and movie snacks. 😉
As of September 1, 2022, Emirates is also rolling out new menus in first class, with dishes including pan-fried salmon trout with moqueca sauce and creole rice, and roasted duck breast with orange thyme jus, steamed broccolini, and fondant potatoes,
Lastly, Emirates will also be introducing a new vegan menu in first class. Main course menu options will include pan-roasted king oyster mushrooms and jackfruit biryani with sliced kohlrabi garnished with burnt orange. Desserts will include chocolate truffle cake with hazelnut, pistachio, and gold leaf, and a green grape tart adorned with candied rose petals, vanilla custard, and berry compote with yuzu pearls.
Emirates deserves credit for this
I think there’s a broader point to be made here about airlines investing in soft product. All too often we see airlines claim to make “enhancements due to customer feedback.” You know, customers want fewer pillows, less food, turkey sandwiches, etc. Airline executives will go to some wild lengths to justify service cuts.
While there are lots of things I’ll criticize Emirates for (like the carrier’s 777 business class), I’m consistently impressed by the way in which the airline actually modifies its product based on the things that people enjoy, especially in first class. The airline is constantly updating its first class service procedures and offerings, and it’s not to cut costs, but it’s to improve the experience.
The airline very closely tracks consumption patterns in first class, and updates the product accordingly. It’s pretty great to see airline product people say “hey, our first class customers really seem to enjoy the caviar service, let’s offer them more of that.”
And that’s only the tip of the iceberg here, as Emirates is also introducing everything from movie snacks, to vegan dishes, to new menus.
While Emirates has long offered a caviar service in first class, the airline is now taking it to the next level. The airline is increasing catering of caviar, so that passengers can order it multiple times during the flight (or just order double portions). The airline is marketing this as “unlimited” caviar in first class.
Regardless of how you feel about eating caviar as such, there’s no denying that this is an impressive passenger experience investment. Beyond that, you have other new features, like movie snacks, vegan dishes, and new main courses.
What do you make of Emirates’ first class caviar changes?