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.
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.)
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.)
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).
Again, I received first class meal pre-order emails — and my wife didn’t.
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 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).
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.
Food for Thought
Ideally, first class passengers could pre-order meals on the “My Trips” section of Delta.com 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