The newly fervent foodie culture has truly defined the last decade, primarily fueled by a big increase in coverage across all media. So it was inevitable that airlines would soon come around to using food experiences as a differentiator.
Following that trend, airlines have jumped on board in an effort to provide a culinary offering that at least attempts to match what travelers enjoy at home. Here are a few of the most recent rollouts of interest to any traveler interested in enhanced culinary experience. Hungry? Then read on.
Pop-ups at 35,000 feet
The popup concept has changed the way we eat by allowing chefs the creative license of a limited run in a temporary space.
There’s nothing more limited than a flight from point A to point B, and SWISS has laid claim to be one of the first airline pop-ups. The airline has hired Michelin-starred Swiss Chef Andreas Caminada, of Schauenstein Schloss, to create a meal for passengers traveling in SWISS first, business and even economy on November 21 from Zurich to New York.
The Chef will bring his own crew from his restaurant to cook in the pop-up galley. This means that the kitchen staff will personally serve the one-off creation to the flight’s passengers. Providing this personalized culinary experience can also build demand for a specific routing – for example, a Chef could be brought in each week on one route to serve a temporary pop-up meal to travelers, creating a brand-new route differentiator for foodie-focused airlines.
Would you alter your travel plans to get a popup meal onboard a flight? Leave your comments below!
Delta’s farm-to-tray movement
If there’s one airline that is pursuing a pure path straight into the heart of foodie heaven, it’s Delta. Earlier this year Delta enlisted top Atlanta chef Linton Hopkins (Restaurant Eugene, Holeman & Finch) to deliver on a “farm-to-tray” ecosystem, where each ingredient is sourced in the vicinity of the Atlanta airport from small purveyors.
The idea here is that airline food must also adhere to local, small-batch principles in order to support the surrounding vendors and farms. For flights originating outside of the Atlanta hub, chefs are encouraged to consider the local environment when designing menus.
For the fall, the first class menu on flights from Atlanta to Paris, London-Heathrow, Amsterdam and Frankfurt includes African squash soup, Sunburst Trout Farms smoked trout, and Gulf shrimp with heirloom white grits, among others. Certain flights will feature meals created by Chef Hopkins, while other routes headed south will come from Miami Chef Michelle Bernstein. On domestic flights in first class the fare is not as high falutin’, but still satisfying… like the burger pictured above.
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had on Delta? Please let us know in the comments below.
Or…a picnic, perhaps?
London’s Heathrow airport is experimenting with a way to boost business in-terminal by providing passengers an easy way to grab a meal to eat on-board. The initiative provides passengers with a veddy-British-sounding “bespoke hamper,” a non-disposable cooler bag containing a variety of meal items, which can be ordered from all 188 food vendors at the airport.
49 brands are participating in this foodie-forward service, meaning that transiting passengers now grab a wide selection of on-the-go food options. By providing a means to deliver a culinary experience on-board, the airport is slicing business away from on-board retailing and making food taste better.
To promote the new service, Heathrow has built a “pop-up park” in the brand new Terminal 2 (home to Star Alliance carriers) for travelers to sample the meals. So stop by and listen for the sound of birds and a enjoy a full-on faux park experience. 🙂
Bringing groceries home
In the “now-that’s-a-good-idea” department, some companies are now targeting homecoming travelers with empty fridges. Passengers arriving into Finland’s Helsinki airport can now pre-order groceries online that they pick up at the airport and to take home upon arrival. This ensures that a traveler is able to avoid the dreaded “empty fridge hunger” syndrome that plagues many business travelers, especially singles with no one home to buy the groceries.
Would you like to pick up groceries at the airport? Please leave your comments below!
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