Delta Pre-Ordering First Class Meals for Flights Still Not Completely Working as Planned!

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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. broke the news that Delta’s first class meal pre-order would happen soon (well, it took 3 years). This feature has clearly been a long work in progress.

Since February 2019, Delta has offered international and US domestic first class passengers the option to pre-order their meal up to 24 hours prior to their flight.

But a few kinks still exist. Here are some we know about — and ways to work around them.

The Pre-Order Email

Delta’s news folks tell us:


“Customers in eligible markets will receive an email from Delta three days prior to their flight, asking them to select their first choice meal. All that’s needed to participate is a valid email address, listed in the customer’s SkyMiles account or in their passenger record.”

The first time I received the option to pre-order my first class meal was this March 2019.

Screenshot of an email inviting a Delta passenger to pre-order a first class meal.
Keep an eye peeled for this email if you’re upgraded more than 24 hours before your flight!

My wife and I flew Delta One round trip from LAX to Tokyo, Haneda Global Upgrade certificates for a quick weekend getaway-mileage run. Three days before departure, I received an email inviting me to pre-select my meal. The only passenger invited to pre-order a meal was me.

Pork meatballs, steak, a seafood medley (don’t get too excited), and vegetarian pasta were offered. (I ordered the pork meatballs.) I assumed my wife received the same email from Delta.

She did not. (Yes, we checked the spam filter and several Gmail folders like “Social” and “Promotions.” Nothing.)

So we called the Platinum Medallion line to see if they could help.

The only selections the agent had were “pork, fish, and vegetarian.” The rep had no idea the pork selection involved meatballs.  I had more menu information — and options — than the PM rep offered. My wife ordered her meal and all was good. (Until she was served said meal on the plane. Can’t say I recommend it.)

Delta One pork meatballs are one of the first class meal options that may be available for pre-order on Delta Air Lines flights.
Delta One pork meatballs – I highly recommend it!

The same thing happened for our return flight. I received an email and my wife didn’t. Again, we had to call the PM line for help. (And when we arrived in Tokyo, I tweeted @Delta for help changing my order from fish to pork.)

@Delta Twitter assisting passenger with first class meal change.

A month later, we took an overnight mileage run-date night and were upgraded to first class on three of the four flights. Each of those three offered meals (including the short-ish SJC to SEA ride on a Delta Connection jet — more on that in a minute).

First class meal pre-order menu on Delta Air Lines' website.

Again, I received first class meal pre-order emails — and my wife didn’t.

Confirmation that a Delta first class passenger has successfully pre-ordered a first class meal.

When I called Delta to place my wife’s order, the PM rep said the email notification system seems “random” — and not everyone gets them.

@Delta Twitter rep assisting with and confirming first class pre-order.

Delta Connection Flights

Some Delta Connection flights offer first class meal service. But according to a Delta rep with whom I spoke, only Delta mainline flights are eligible for meal pre-ordering.

What If You Don’t Receive the First Class Meal Pre-Order Email?

You have a couple of options to pre-order your first class meal in case you don’t receive the email from Delta (talk about a first world problem!):

Remember: get your meal request in no later than 24 hours before your flight!

1. Send a direct message tweet to @delta. They seem to have complete menus, whereas the phone reps don’t.

Ask the @delta rep if s/he will please tell you your meal options. In fact, the Delta Twitter team helped Rene order his meal five days before a flight (a full two days before the pre-order email may or may not have arrived).

Screenshot of a Delta Twitter representative assists a customer with pre-ordering their first class meal five days prior to a trip.

2. Call Delta directly. If you’re a Medallion member, call your designated Medallion phone number. If not, ring their central reservation line at 800-221-1212. Remember, they probably won’t know menu details other than “beef, chicken, or fish?”

What If You Don’t Pre-Order Your First Class Meal?

If you don’t pre-order your meal for whatever reason, flight attendants will still take your order onboard just the same as they have for decades.

Give yourself the best shot at ordering what you want: remember FEBO (and hope the flight attendants adhere to it!).

Food for Thought

Ideally, first class passengers could pre-order meals on the “My Trips” section of or the Fly Delta app. But if sending emails is an issue, I imagine adding that feature is a pipe dream.

What have been your experiences pre-ordering first class meals? Comment below! – Chris


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.

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  1. I’m platinum and my wife has no status and we both got emails last week for a flight from CMH-LAX. Ironically the email offered 2 choices for breakfast but on the plane the flight attendant was offering 3. Since I take that flight often I’ve had them all and know to just go with the oatmeal. I’ve also gotten the email for flights that had no meal service so the kinks are definitely still there.

    • @Davy: As you’ve had the opportunity to sample so many of the breakfasts, which ones would recommend picky eaters (like, say, I) avoid? 🙂

  2. Don in ATL Reply

    I have been getting meal “Order your Meal” email perfectly as has my spouse for several months now on all Delta One travel. It works! Sometimes I choose and other times I do not, wishing to actually see what the food looks like in real life and ask the flight attendants their opinion. One time the purser came and confirmed my order and told me that I could change the order if I wanted to. I did not. Another time, when I wanted to change my order, I was told I could not do it. (I always sit in row 1 or 2 on the A side, so I am one of the first couple of people to be asked about meals. I think pursers make up the rules as they wish.) But overall, I am please with the way it is working.

  3. I’ve attempted the pre-order a handful of times so far this year and always get on board and get asked again what I want (seeming that they have zero record of my selecting something) and once was told they didn’t have it at all… what’s the point of pre-selecting if I have to select again on the plane?

    Also @Chris Carley- I ALWAYS get the hot meal. B/L/D matters not… hot meal. They usually do a very good job with breakfast.

  4. Barry Graham Reply

    Too bad because, as far as I can remember, I have never had a kosher meal be wrong or missing from a Delta flight when I’ve ordered one, and I would imagine the process for pre-ordering a meal would be the same. Hopefully the sudden increase in choices when pre-ordering won’t affect special meals. I am currently flying and my kosher meal showed up (and was great).

  5. Both my wife and I get the emails, but that’s the best part. Last month, we ordered the broiled shrimp salad (healthy option) but it was drenched in mayonnaise. I sent it back without touching anything else on the tray: no fruit, just junk. FA never bothered to ask if I wanted something else. I complained online and received $50 gift card compensation for choice of bunch of places I don’t patronize, so I guess I’ll take the Delta credit option. Worthless meal, worthless compensation.

  6. My wife and I just took at trip DTW-BCN via JFK, Delta One on the TATL. I’m a Silver, she doesn’t have status, we both got the emails, we both pre-ordered for both outbound and return flights. Both ways, we got the entree we selected, and both times, lead FA/purser came by, confirmed who we were and what we’d ordered.
    I hope we’re not the outliers! :-/

  7. Chris, my family will be on the LAX-HND route this June/July. I had read a few articles that Jon and Vinny’s, a restaurant where I’ve never been, catered these flights in first and that the food was supposedly as good as in the restaurant, so I’m hoping the meatballs will be on our flight. How did the Japanese meal look, if anyone near you ordered it? Would you recommend it? Thanks

    • @Carl: I’ve heard that, too, about Jon & Vinny’s. I keep meaning to visit their restaurant!

      Based on the rubber-necking we did spying on other passengers’ meals, the Japanese selections looked fine — perhaps a little exotic for blander American tastes (especially a burger guy like me, as my wife insisted I add). But, from what I remember, we didn’t weren’t knocked out by what we saw. I hope that helps!

    • @Carl: Also, the snack selection from HND to LAX was pretty fun — our flight had a good selection of Japanese snacks, like some rice balls/onigiri that are insanely good (you can also get them at 7-11s throughout Japan). Make sure to take a stroll up to the front and back of the cabin to visit the galley to see what they have.

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