Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.
UPDATE: Some changes for 2017+ See THIS post!
I don’t know if this is a crazy choice or the perfect choice for our 100th Rookie topic. Most folks just turn up their nose when you say airline food but you know what – Delta food really is GOOD (most times) and worth considering. Take the cold steak with potato salad as an example; I would order the above in a restaurant!
Also, I do call Delta out now and then when issues do arise and I will be sure to cover those for you. Let’s look at them one by one and break them down rookie style.
First we have coach “dining”, ok, not dining but food. We also need to right away focus on a very important point when it comes to all the kinds of food you get – the distance and time matters. Notice that under 900 miles in the air you get basically nothing. I call biscoffs, peanuts and pretzels nothing as that is not food. Once you get over 900 miles there should be EATS choices. Limited, but choices. Once we get over 1400 miles between 5:AM-8PM you have even more!
Next we have domestic “1st” class or business class. Once again distance (900 miles) and especially TIME now matters. This is one of my BIG pet peeves about Delta business class domestic dining. If under 1400 miles Delta.com says:
“Between 5:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. enjoy a full meal.” – Delta.com
So, scheduled takeoffs between 1:31PM-3:59PM get nothing but a snack basket full of candy, chips and sometimes a banana. Talk about disappointing on a long flight where you were hoping for food. The next cutoff is 8:01PM so plan for that.
Lastly we have 1400+ miles flights. Then the time 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m is the key factor for if you are going to get fed. Having said that, Delta does at times mess up and NOT cater those over 1400+ after 8:PM so just be ready that this DOES happen even though it should not according to Delta.com
Then we have transcon flights. To be specific we are talking about coast to coast not flights from say ATL-LAX. This is the “premium” JFK to LAX and other such non-stops. Here we are talking about in business a “light” version of an international service. In Economy Comfort coach you get a light meal and you can, in the rest of coach between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m, enjoy the EATS menu. You can even, on certain flights for an extra charge, order a real meal to enjoy! Not bad.
Then we have the long flights, that is the intercontinental flights. Here, depending on where you are going, that is East or West, the menu will be different. However, you start your flight with sparkling wine and cold nuts (so ovens can be ready for faster meal service once in air).
Then you get an appetizer like cold shrimp & a soup, a good salad and then dinner. After dinner dessert as well as drinks.
Then, depending on day or night flight, breakfast or a light sandwich or something similar pre-landing. If I were to have one complaint it would be this meal as it is often less than memorable.
Have special needs for your meal? At least in business Delta does “try” to accommodate you, but these meals can be good and at other times so-so. They are better at the stock ones I have found.
A few other points that do come up. If you are upgraded, for whatever reason, you are entitled to the better food just like anyone else. Delta does not discriminate between a paid or upgraded or award ticket. If you are in the seat you get the food service.
Can you bring your own food aboard from home or from the airport? You bet, but that opens us up to another discussion about smelly food onboard when others do not have food!
What if they run out of your meal choice before they get to you and how to avoid that. Delta, now and then but not consistently practices FEBO that is “Front Even and Back Odd” numbered flights. What you will find most times is they start in the front. I most times pick the middle area on long flights to make sure they don’t run out. Now if they do, you are just stuck with what they have. Sorry. You can, maybe, ask for something off the EATS menu but they often tell you NO to this request. You can then ask for some Skymiles from the hand unit since you are stuck with what there is. YMMV here – literally!
On the topic of payment, Delta is cashless or only cash. Er, what? On mainline jets they do NOT take cash. If you use your Delta AMEX card you can get 20% off food and such and that is a nice perk of the card. However, on the small regional jets they take ONLY cash. Silly to have both rules, but that is the way it is.
I think that just about hits all the most important points when it comes to Delta and dining. Considering the food is coming mostly pre-made, warmed up and from a tiny metal oven and cart I think Delta does a darn fine job at providing an enjoyable meal onboard! – René
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