Delta JFK Sky Club Kosher Meals and AeroMexico Business Class Kosher Meal Review New York to Mexico City (and back).

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Let me get a bunch of bits out of the way before there are any comments about this review. I am not Jewish. My review is simply my observations of what was or was not presented to me and what I thought about the taste of each meal and to give you an idea of what to expect both in service and quality.

First up, my guess is most do not know that at New York’s JFK you can request a number of Kosher meals at the end of the bar. They are even presented on a silver tray.

I did not try this myself but my traveling companion said it was much like a TV dinner and quite salty.

I had put into my business class a request for Kosher meals, by calling AeroMexico, for all four of my flights, that is, from JFK to MEX as well and from MEX to UIO (Quito, Ecuador) and back.

First impressions. I was handed the business class menu everyone else received, but the head purse came to me and said my special meal request had been loaded aboard. This kind of verbal reassurance was, as it turns out, the unique exception not the norm. Also, just about none of the instructions to the crew on the outside of the meal container were followed.

As someone who just wanted a meal other than the standard meal AeroMexico offered, the layers of individually sealed items was a bit annoying (again, not judging, it was just a lot of plastic).

As to the taste? The hot meal tasted like most coach international meals I have had, that is, bland and boring. Some of the cold items were a bit more interesting but not something I would ever request again or pay for in a restaurant.

As a comparison, this was the beef choice my traveling partner had. He said it was quite good and much better than the fish choice we had on another flight (see review above).

While a meal was served on the overnight flight to UIO I went to sleep as soon as we boarded and did not wake up until just before landing. I have no idea if my meal was loaded and if it would have been presented to me. On the return, I intentionally did not ask for the special meal as I wanted to see what the flight attendants would do. They did not ask me about a special meal and simply offered me either the omelet with ham or a continental breakfast. My traveling partner later when going to the lav said he saw the flight attendants eating pancakes in the galley. No idea if those were to have been for me. On to the 737 flight back to New York from Mexico City.

I did this time ask if my special meal request had been loaded aboard when they came to my row. Had I not asked I think I would have been offered one of the standard choices (you will see them below).

Considering the instructions on the outside of the meal from New York I can again say most of them were not followed this time either. As to the flavor, much like the last flight, it was coach like and disappointing.

The cold side items were even more underwhelming than the flight to Mexico. As a comparison let’s look at what my travel partner chose.

Now you know what to expect. Again, as someone who was just ordering these meals as a change of pace from the standard meals I was really unimpressed and will not request this again (not that the standard AeroMexico business class meals are anything to get excited about either). If you require these meals you will need to press the AeroMexcio flight attendants to follow the guidelines. – René

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10 comments

  1. My sources explain that the extra wrapping is necessary to assure food is the original approved food and not inadvertently replaced. There is also a need to offer special items, such as non dairy coffee creamer when served with a meat meal. The hot portion of the meal is extra wrapped so it can not absorb spills in the oven.
    Years ago, while flying the (no longer extant) SWISSAIR there was a policy of sticking a reminder paper tag on the headrest of seats with special meal requests. It ended up basically seen as a yellow star for those of Jewish faith.

  2. Nice to see a kosher meal review!
    I am a frequent flyer (Delta DM) who observes kosher dietary rules.
    I’d like to share my experience and opinions as well as a few tidbits and pointers regarding the subject.
    I can go on for pages on the general subject across all airlines and lounges but we’ll stick to Delta-specific.

    I actually just learned this last night while sitting in the SkyClub in T2.

    One of the employees asked if I’d like a kosher meal and I was shocked that I didn’t know about this until then. She brought the microwaved, double-wrapped tilapia on a silver platter just as in your photo. It was nothing to write home about but it was nice that it was available.

    The reason for the double wrapping is also so that it can be warmed up in a non-kosher oven without the taste of the non-kosher food permeating the wrapping. It is the same for the onboard meals.

    For inflight meals, Kosher needs to be requested at least 24 hours before your flight Special meals are usually only available on international itineraries as well as premium cabin transcon and NYC-MIA/FLL. They can be selected on the Delta website when logged in to your itinerary.
    If you get a last minute upgrade at the gate, you will obviously not get a kosher meal.

    The meals out of NY are catered by Borenstein and they are absolute CRAP!!! Of all the kosher airline caterers globally, they are absolutely dead last by a longshot. I bring my own food. On return trips, they are catered from the local country and they’re always miles better.
    It is ALWAYS the same, ALWAYS disgusting, VERY unhealthy, and even in a premium cabin, you get a pathetic portion with no additional variety.

    My dad who travels internationally a lot as well doesn’t even bother ordering the meals out of NY anymore and just brings his own.

    The meals on AeroMexico are a little bit better but also nothing impressive. Interestingly, much of the packaged food (coconut juice, yogurts, other drinks, etc.) in the lounge in MEX have kosher certifications.

    Regarding the instructions on the package not being followed, this is very alarming. That is literally the difference between the meal being kosher or not. If it is opened and heated in an over with non-kosher items, a religious kosher observer could not eat it. I’ve only experienced this a handful of times on carrier/routes which obviously rarely had kosher travelers. It was just a lack of training. On the Asian carriers, they actually bring the frozen meal to you at the beginning of the flight to show you it is sealed.

    I’m sorry this was your first kosher meal experience. I encourage you to try again on a flight out of Europe. Those are catered by Stogel and other European based caterers. They are far tastier and generous. These frozen TV dinners will never come close to the 12 course delicacies they serve in premium cabins and probably even worse than a standard economy meal but it’s nice they accommodate.

  3. Complaining about the wrapping on kosher foods without realizing this is how kosher is supposed to be served and cooked strikes me as absurd.

  4. @FNT – There may be folks who want to try a different meal just to have variety. If so, like me, they may not be aware of how the meal is presented. Also, I find it interesting that the outbound presentation was very different than the return flight. Lastly, your personal attack was removed.

  5. @FNT Delta Diamond, René stated he did not [know] the reasons, just gave his observations.

    To Someone who is not Jewish for a Kosher meal or Muslim for a Halal meal, they would not understand the restrictions on how things have to be packaged to maintain their certification. Unlike a vegetarian meal, where it can be cooked and handled the same way as a standard meal.

    I was going to make some comments about the taste and packaging, but Dan beat me to it.

    Thanks for the review René. I didn’t know they served it at the JFK skyclub and I was there for 6 hours a few weeks back. If I had known I would have tried one, just for the heck of it.

  6. @Dan I like the Borenstein meals and even if I didn’t it would be loshon hora and forbidden to say otherwise.

    The kosher meals were originally available at this Sky Club but then discontinued. I took this up with the local catering manager and it is good to see that they were reinstated, I found that out myself recently.

    A better option however – at least for an international flight – is the Virgin Club House. The one at JFK and the one in London offer very nice meals with a choice.

    The whole reason I switched to Delta is that they were the only US airline that never stopped serving kosher meals on any flight where they had meal service. In the process I discovered that they were the best US airline!

  7. This isn’t just about extra wrapping. All these food items conform to the Jewish dietary regulations of kashrut, primarily derived from Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

  8. @Barry Borenstein caterers has not been owned by the Borensteins in 50 years. I’m sure the food was delicious then. Borenstein caterers is a subsidiary of El Al. Need I elaborate any further on quality or customer satisfaction now?

  9. That could still be loshon hora and regardless I’ve never had an issue with the food from them. It’s better than not having any kosher food – at least in my opinion.

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