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FEBO: A Rule or Just a Guide for Flight Attendants? Delta First Class Food – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


I am in the middle of a vacation/mileage run and spending a day or so flying around and had a chance to let Delta feed me all day long in 1st class and thought I would share some thoughts.

First, I wanted to address FEBO that is how “most times” I have been told Delta does food request that is Front Even Back Odd-numbered flights. I say most times because with these four meals and flights I received on my last four flights:

  • Odd flight – jumped around
  • Even flight – front
  • Even flight – front
  • Even flight – back

I will say the first one was the most confusing one. I have seen FA’s “jump around” the cabin before and always thought it was something like their status and if it was a paid 1st class ticket or something like that and the latest GST update I would think would make this even simpler (if that was the case). But as it happens on this one I was a Diamond, in paid 1st, and I was last to get my choice. Now to be fair, if FEBO had been followed I would have been last anyway and I was fine with that as I wanted the seat choice over the meal choice for such a long flight (and then ended up with a broken IFE on a 7 hr flight – ugg)!

delta 1st class food breakfast lunch dinner delta points blog (1)

Now some thoughts on the meals. The first one, on the way out, was lemon chicken with zucchini. It was OK. Nothing amazing but just OK. The salad was, as it usually is, crisp and nice. The salted caramel ice cream for dessert was good but maybe not as “amazing” as the recent PR blitz by Delta about how great it is. Overall, just an OK meal that I would eat but not request.

delta 1st class food breakfast lunch dinner delta points blog (2)

The next day started with the Delta omelet breakfast. I have had this a number of times. It is not bad. It was warm all the way through, the sausage was cooked thorough, the bagel was not stale and the fruit, as usual, was fresh and crisp. Delta does a good job on this one and it is more than filling. Flavors are good and again I just love fresh fruit for breakfast. I would and do choose this one when I can get it over the cold cereal choice (often the other option).

delta 1st class food breakfast lunch dinner delta points blog (3)

Now we have the Delta Calzone. Let me tell you how much I love this exact meal shown above and I could have it just about every flight for a week and not get sick of it! Yeah, I think it is THAT good. The Calzone is, most times, stuffed with pepperoni – love that. The sauce is good I just wish there was a tiny bit more. The peppers on the side are a nice touch and add some nice heat. The salad is perfect with tons of flavor and many good bits of cucumber, tomato and more. Even the dressing has spunk and is good.

delta 1st class chocolate cake

Then we have the side plate of cheese and fruit. Again, the cheese is most times good (can be dry now and then) and the grapes were nice. Then last the chocolate dessert. I mean, do I really need to say anything after you look at the above photo? Numm!

delta 1st class food breakfast lunch dinner delta points blog (4)

Lastly we have the pasta dish on a flight that should have, under FEBO, not been my choice but it was all that was remaining when they got to my row. My seat mate had a fly in hers and did not eat it. I ate a bit (no fly in mine I could see). It was OK at best. Tons of pasta. Bland sauce. Salad had lots of nuts (I am not a big fan of nuts in food but that is just me). Dessert ice cream was OK as who does not like chocolate.

I will also say gosh what a difference a crew can make. I had flights where my OJ or wine glass just never got less that half empty before they were there asking or just topping it off. Service was quick as well as removal of the tray when done on some of the flights and less so on others. Delta has done well with their catering (for the most part) and I hope they keep this same level of quality in the food moving forward and don’t start making cuts here.

My only gripes I would say is that I think on just about every flight, depending on where you are sitting, Delta will run out of meal choices. Most frustrating. I would like to see the more popular meal choices loaded a bit more even if a few must be tossed out due to over loading. It is frustrating to be either in paid 1st class or even using a regional upgrade certificate and not getting a meal choice. The same goes for FEBO. If you want to ensure you get 1st choice sit toward the middle of the cabin and, unless the FAs do the jump around thing, you are very likely to get a meal choice you will like.

The bottom line for Delta meal service, when you are on a jet with ovens, during the right meal times and long enough flights, you will likely get a good meal. But as always, the service along with that meal can make it even better or worse! – Rene

 

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.

13 Comments

  1. The eggs, sausage, potatoes and fruit are what delta serves in coach for breakfast on long international flights. They are only presented better in 1st class domestically. I wish delta had a different warm breakfast offering besides the ubiquitous omelet.

    When you purchase a first class domestic ticket on AA, you can select your meal online. Since I started flying AA six months ago, I have never seen AA run out of a food option in 1st class although I’m sure it happens.

  2. Rene,
    I do not fly enough to be in First or Business. When in coach and on a flight that offers a meal, I always request a special meal. I get served first and that is why I make the request. As I am not a picky eater, what I would like to know is: are the contents of the special meals predictable. My wife sometimes gets the low fat meal and I get the low salt and they are usually the same. Do you know the contents of the other special meals? – Always enjoy reading you blog..

  3. @JohnL @Rene: Great Question! I’d love to know more as well and with some upcoming trips, is ordering say the Kosher meal ahead of time, “better quality” or “just Kosher” per se? Another words Rene are Special Meals any better in Main Cabin then what is served?

  4. Rick Christman Reply

    Hi, Rene’, I’ve commented to DL several times about this “policy”. Their response has been that FAs are to follow FEBO. To me it makes absolutely no sense to serve this way. Coach is front to back and/or middle to back depending on the size of the aircraft.

    A few FAs told me “Delta doesn’t do this anymore”. Others have said “that is the old way” and others, “they must be from NWA”.

    Regarding your comment about “jumping around”, I flew with the same basic crew in Business Class for three three years ATL-LOS-ATL (yes that is Lagos, Nigeria). The purser told me that she “want to get all my regulars their choice of meal…”. Perhaps that might be the reason for what you observed. I used to flight from SAN which is a DL crew base station. I flew with the same FA crew several times.

    • @Rick – Txs for feedback very much
      @Scott – I have not done the custom meals but I have talked to those who do low sodium and normally it is chicken and vegetable of some kind. Most say they are good too.

  5. Ah, the curse of the Delta special meal! The one good thing, as @JohnL notes, is you get your food first. But typically by the time the beverage service rolls around in coach, I am done with my meal. As for the quality of special meals, I am vegetarian and I am beyond frustrated with Delta’s special meal set-up. My experience in ordering vegetarian meals is that the meal I get is designed to fit several different special meal categories: vegan, low salt, and low fat, at a minimum. These meals are usually really bland and bad, probably designed just to make it less complicated for the catering folks. (Ordering Asian Veg can be slightly better.) I like dairy products and eggs. It is really frustrating to see that the regular meal service includes vegetarian things like delicious brownies or ice cream for dessert (or even a vegetarian pasta), while my dessert consists of some mediocre fruit. And because my meal comes first, I feel like I can’t really “opt out” of my special meal. I don’t have a lot of experience with ordering special meals in 1st class, but once when I was upgraded 5 days before a domestic flight, I called several days before the flight to make sure I’d have a veg meal in 1st class, but alas there was no meal for me. I get really tired of cheerios for breakfast, too. Sometimes 1st class lunches will have some sort of salad with steak or chicken on top. But the salads apparently come pre-assembled. Would it be so hard to keep them separate for the few people who are in 1st class, so people could opt out of the meat topping?

  6. TexasYankee Reply

    Great. I am sitting at my desk starving and you choose to post this! I need to get on a plane soon …

  7. I wish that they would start offering more cold plate options. For shorter meal flights, they are perfect, and can’t obviously be ruined by excessive cooking. I really enjoyed this meal on an MSP-DCA flight last weekend:

    Rosemary chicken with pistachio orzo pasta. I wish that it came with a better desert, but I was able to snag an extra brownie from an unclaimed hot meal option.

  8. Don in ATL Reply

    Delta.com has told me FEBO is the rule for domestic — all domestic. But in practice, it’s whatever the FA (or purser) feels like the rule is. Some FA’s treat the ATL – HNL run as international and always take orders front to back, no matter whether even or odd, and swear they are following the rule. Others treat it as domestic and tell me the rule is clear, FEBO on all domestic flights — even on ATL HNL. One purser told me he knew the rule should be FEBO on this HNL to ATL flight, but for him because the galley was in the back of D-1, he took orders and served from the back no matter if it was an odd or even flight. He said — he didn’t care what delta.com said. It was his flight and he made the rules and was going to do what was easiest for him and his crew.

    I am particular about my meal choice, so I either sit in the middle as Rene suggest (5 B and C on the ATL HNL or HNL ATL run). Or if it’s a single aisle plane, when I get on, I go to the FA serving First and say something like, “Delta.com told me that since this is an odd numbered flight you are going to take meal order from back to front, and that’s why I chose the seats near the back. I sure hope that is what you are going to do.” And all but one time they said “yes.” The one time they didn’t say yes, they said, since you are so particular to choose your seats that way, I will take your meal order first.

    Bottom line seems to be that there is mixed discipline on this rule in the ranks.

  9. “My seat mate had a fly in hers and did not eat it.” A fly in her pasta!? Really? How did the FA react? Last time I came across something like that was maggots in a Pan Am meal during that airline’s dying days.

  10. Diane street Reply

    Do we get meals in coach if we fly from Detroit and connect in seattle to Honolulu delta all the way?

  11. FEBO rule is only applicable to those who haven’t pre-ordered their meals in domestic first class. On international flights, it’s front to back skipping non-rev passengers. I usually sit in bulkhead within an earshot of the jumpseat. That way, I can ask them what’s being served and if they can put my choice of meal aside for me.

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