Delta restarts in-flight meals in first class on long flights

Delta Air Lines is restarting in-flight meals in first class on some flights.
Delta Air Lines is restarting in-flight meals in first class on some flights.

Delta Air Lines relaunched June 14 in-flight meal service in first class and business class on some cross-country flights.

The Atlanta-based airline added hot meals on flights from Boston and New York to Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Delta says the in-flight meals include items such as beef short ribs with whipped potatoes, lemon ricotta pancakes and a smoked salmon plate. In-flight bread service will come with butter from Atlanta-based Banner Butter.

Later this summer, Delta also plans to begin serving simpler meals in first class and business class on other routes longer than 1,500 miles in North America, including from Atlanta. They will include options such as an Italian prosciutto and fresh mozzarella sandwich, a superfood grain bowl, strawberry salad with chicken and coconut chia oatmeal.

Airlines cut much of their in-flight service during the pandemic amid a sharp drop-off in air travel and protocols to limit the spread of COVID-19. Passengers are required to wear masks on flights, with an exception when eating and drinking. Amid increased vaccinations and a recovery in air travel, airlines are adding back services.

Delta also this week is adding more complimentary snacks in Comfort+, first class and business class on long domestic flights, including Kind energy bars and potato chips. It will continue to sell snack boxes in economy class.

During the pandemic, Delta has restructured a number of its in-flight catering contracts. In Atlanta, for example, Delta is replacing in-flight caterer Gate Gourmet with other companies including Newrest, Mainline Aviation and Sky Cafe U.S.

The airline’s restart of in-flight meal service comes after it added back snack and beverage service on domestic flights throughout the cabin earlier this year, with mini-cans of Coca-Cola products, beer and canned cocktails.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines and Fort Worth-based American Airlines are still restricting in-flight alcoholic beverage service, after a spate of unruly passenger incidents caused flight disruptions.

Southwest, the second-largest carrier in Atlanta, said it made the decision due to the increase in incidents involving disruptive passengers, adding “we feel it to be the right decision now” for safety and comfort of all passengers.

American has suspended alcohol sales in the main cabin through Sept. 13, which is also the expiration date for the federal mask mandate on flights.

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