Economy meals are rarely anything to write home about. There are reasons why this is the case, the difficulty in making and serving meals to economy class passengers is not trivial. Hundreds of passengers, needing to be served meals in a small window of time, all heated up on board. The whole scenario does not scream culinary masterpiece in the making. However, while the presentation is not always the best, some companies have managed to make it work better than others. My experiences with American have been lackluster, though I find their routes, partners, and hard products to be superior to Delta, I do have to give the best food award to Delta. Mind you I’d only apply that to economy class, I have not been able to test Delta One yet for food.
Flying out of Amsterdam was a borderline nightmare. With extremely long passport control lines, corralling passengers like cattle, 6 different security checks on even after security had been cleared… I’d prefer to never visit Schiphol airport ever again.their catering services though, were pretty spot on.
When ordering a special meal, each crew seems to handle the situation differently than others. Some service crew will place the meal on the service trolley and serve with the rest of the meals they hand out, some will bring them to your seat on before starting regular service. I find the latter method to be a bit awkward, as was the case for this flight. I was sitting toward the back of the aircraft for this leg, and so my meal arrived well before the rest of the passengers. This can be a little weird when you have food and your seatmate doesn’t receive his food for another 15-20 minutes. Oh well, munch away.
Looking at the tray of food that was set in front of me, I was a little hesitant to try it. Labeled on the foil covering was the description, “Tofu” it read. Uh oh, I thought, tofu is definitely a hit or miss for me. Even in all types of restaurants in Philadelphia, arguably a good city for food, I have never had tofu done well. To this day I avoid it for that very reason. So naturally, when the label read tofu, my reaction was one of a sceptic. When I opened it and had the first bite though, to my surprise, at 30,000 ft over the North Atlantic, was the best tofu I had ever eaten. Seriously, tofu that was well seasoned, I was actually unsure it was possible, let alone in an economy meal in the air.
Actually it was a meal I’d make if I could handle tofu in this way, it really was that good. Now the rest of the meal was a little lackluster, but this part was the highlight. Paired with a decent, but unremarkable lemon rice, and a fairly good tomato sauce, it was a well made meal. Included in the main dish was an odd and confused mess of mashed peas that was sweetened for some reason and I imagine there was lemon juice in it too. Eating this beside a well executed tofu, was disappointing. It wasn’t bad, but it certainly was not good.
Remaining on the plate was a boring salad, using tomatoes a large component never wins points with me, as I dislike tomatoes. Dressing was a balsamic and olive oil… it was one of the worst dressings I’ve had in awhile. Beside that was a fruit salad which was decent, though could stand to be more fresh, especially the melon. The last component of the meal was a piece of bread… pumpernickel?... not entirely sure what kind, looked like pumpernickel. It was fairly good for bread, would have preferred a pretzel bread, that always seems to be a winner on airlines.
Dinner service was actually surprisingly good. Really, hats off to Delta on their economy meals, these are definitely some of the best meals I’ve had on a US carrier.
There was another pre landing meal that did not hit the mark with me. It was confused and seemed like there was no effort put into it. Other passengers received a sandwich. We had been in the air for over 8 hours on this flight in total, something like a sandwich might be too small, but probably adequate for most passengers. This would have been fine with me, except it seemed like the caterers didn’t know what to do with this meal. It was made up of 4 small breadsticks. These were meant to be dipped in what was called a bruschetta spread… it was tomato sauce, let's not kid ourselves here. On the side was a small piece of chocolate, and a tiny sugar free mint. Four breadsticks and some tomato sauce was hardly a winning or filling combination. This meals was weird, confused, and just plain poorly executed.
The meals here were hit and miss, dinner service was great, pre landing snack was bad. If you were flying an airline based solely on their food, Delta is the way to go from my experiences… if we are focusing on US airlines. Comfort of passengers, that definitely doesn’t go to Delta, those seats were hard as a rock and painful. So in the end, my legs prefer just about any other carrier. My stomach chooses Delta though, well done on that front Delta, you gained at least a few points back with me… though not enough. I’ll stick with American if flying economy