Our Delta Flight Attendant Refused to Serve Us First Class Meals (and we were all thankful)!

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Let me start by saying I think Delta, domestically, presents good airline food. There are even a few times the food is so good that I would order it on the ground. That is saying something when you consider it is either A) a re-heated meal made hours ago or B) a cold meal made sometimes MANY hours ago.

And there is a bunch of logistics and planning that goes into the above including just what airport the food is loaded onto a jet and if more than one flight is loaded at one airport to service more than one flight. Sometimes this works and sometimes it does not. Take, for example, the Asian chicken salad above on my flight from Detroit to Dallas this past week. It was just awful. It was literally floating in a pond of water and even after “mopping up” most of the water the rest of the meal was not worth eating. A rare disappointing meal in my many Delta flights this year.

On my return things were different. Now you should know that Delta, depending on the length of the flight and the time of day, may or may not offer food at all. Take flights scheduled to depart between 1:30-4 PM and are between 900- 1399 miles – you get a snack basket and that is it in First Class. In my case it was scheduled to be a lunch flight since it departed before 1:30PM and the flight from Dallas to Detroit is just under 1000 miles. But, as you can see, we ended up with a 3+ hour delay due to weather in Dallas and across the nation.

The result of this was the food for our First Class lunch had been loaded VERY early in the morning where the jet originated and with the delay the food was no longer safe to eat. Wisely, the Delta flight attendant refused to risk poisoning us with spoiled food (they had run out of ice long ago and nothing was cold on the jet anymore). Again, we were all thankful for this choice.

To the crew’s credit, they offered what was left over from the “flight fuel” or buy onboard menu free to those in First Class until that too ran out since that has limited catering and again was what was loaded on early that morning as well from another airport. The “Crave” box was fine but clearly not a real First Class meal as advertised on Delta.com. But there is more and this is the only part I am frustrated with.

The Delta flight attendant told us they really tried to get the Dallas station to cater the jet with new food and provisions but they were refused. They had time to prepare new catering since it was clear we were going to be very delayed and would need new supplies – only water and ice was offered. This left the flight crew with the unenviable choice of choosing to serve us unsafe food or make the choice to offer us what they could from what remained onboard.

Before anyone chimes in that it is much more important, on such a long delayed flight, to get the jet turned and out ASAP – I agree. Folks have connections and with such a mega delay most would be stuck overnight if we waited any longer (my wife and I did have to overnight but we’ve got hotel points so a hotel was no issue). But there was time during boarding to offer new catering had it been prepped during the 3+ hour delay and ready for us when the plane did finally arrive.

What do you think about situations like this? Should there be a time limit on how long food is stored onboard before it is “officially” unsafe to serve to passengers? Should you always have the choice to make an alternative selection of the “flight fuel” menu if you do not like the presented choices? Are you ever worried about food offered on Delta or other airlines? Let me know in the comments below! – René


  1. Snack basket is as far as I go even on Delta One International. I do whatever I can to eat before I enter the plane. Airplane calories are not worth it.

  2. I have moved from seat 1A to the last row of the plane with an offered flight fuel box kit when they served shrimp cocktail (or something shrimpy) up in first. (But my snack kit was delicious!) The man in 1B graciously offered to change his order so I wouldn’t have to move, but I don’t want to take away from people enjoying themselves!

  3. It’s not only an issue of how long the food is held, but also the issue of at what temperature. Wonder if Delta tags the food for flight attendants on what time the food is considered unsafe and if temperature is monitored to assure food is maintained at correct holding temperature. Regardless, better to be safe than sorry, so flight attendants made right choice in your situation. But no excuse for Delta not restocking the flight with a new meal.

  4. Delta’s food and WINE, yuk. You should have seen what we were given for a 1st Class dinner last week, ATL to MSP. A corn salad, I mean like a can of corn, with three puny grilled shrimp on top. A d i. The morning from PTY to ATL the cereal was Corn Flakes! First Class “international” flight, corn flakes was the cereal. Gee whiz DELTA couldn’t you offer something better than that. Even Rainsin Bran would have been better. And the other choice of an omelet always is disappointing so I avoid that like the plague. And the huge DRY, HARD, sort of warm bagel is a joke. For the prices they charge for 1st Class and Delta One you hsould be eating like you are at the Ritz. It usually amounts to about $1,000 per thousand miles (on a sensibly priced fare) and the food and wine is horrible.

  5. What’s worse is some of the providers (including one currently) is under investigation for absolutely horrible food prep conditions. Rene you should do an article on that. It is really scary.

  6. @Mitch – Love them. Well, all other than this lemon one. But I am no fan of lemon. Even my Lisa did not like the lemon flavor so not just me. The 2x chocolate ones are to die for btw.

  7. dancing deer makes great brownies too…wish they were on flights all their chocolate cookies are great lemon///na

  8. My gripe is that it is impossible to let Delta know that I have a shellfish allergy. Peanuts, yes, shellfish, no. On a recent ATL-SFO the FA presented me with a salad topped with grilled shrimp. I explained my allergy. She could not offer me anything that had not risked cross contamination. I managed to eat the ice cream and ended up with the dreaded snack box. I called and emailed Delta. I can request “special meals” But, non are guaranteed to be shellfish free. For me, food in first is a crap shoot on any day. Oh. They did give me 7,000 miles.

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