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