Airlines need to offer a competitive product again. Customers are coming back in droves. Travel experience matters in the premium cabins, and is going to matter even more once corporate passengers return. Even American Airlines, which once hoped that pandemic-era service cuts could be retained permanently in some fashion, is preparing to bring back hot meals to domestic first class again.
Alaska Airlines, though, is driving a really rich expansion of its return to meal service.
- Full meal tray service with linen and proper utensils on flights over 670 miles (Seattle – San Jose, for instance, is 696 miles)
- Hot food choices during meal times on mainline flights over 1,100 miles (Seattle – Phoenix, for instance, is 1107 miles)
New seasonal entrees include Guajillo Chile-Lime Salad with ancient grains, roasted broccoli and sweet potato with a roasted lemon crema, and Miso Marinated Cod with sesame garlic farro, sauteed yu choy, bell peppers and shitake mushrooms in a sesame-miso butter sauce.
Guests can choose from three menu selections on all meal flights.
- Alcohol “in all cabins with multiple cart services on flights more than 1,100 miles.”
- Food for sale in coach, which can be pre-ordered via app to improve odds of getting your preferred item.
On our shorter flights between 670-1,099 miles, we’ve added more snacks. We’ve brought back our popular Northwest Deli Picnic Pack which includes Deep River potato chips, Old Wisconsin Turkey Stick, Madi K’s Whole Natural Almonds, Gilman White Cheddar Cheese Stick and Mandy’s Dark Chocolate Cookie Thins. The picnic packs can be pre-ordered up to one hour before departure and can also be purchased on board with a credit card or stored form of payment.
Marinated Miso Cod Entrée, Credit: Alaska Airlines
I’d like to see a lower mileage threshold for hot meals. They should be available on flights like Seattle – Los Angeles which is 954 miles. But it’s a great start.
The West Coast has some of the most competitive routes with Alaska’s Seattle hub contested by Delta, fierce competition against United in San Francisco, and against United and Delta at LAX (not to mention a big Southwest presence in the region). Quality of product matters. Pre-pandemic I found Alaska’s catering to be excellent as well.