Delta Asks Business Class Passengers To Consider Skipping Meals, For The Environment

Delta Air Lines has added an option for business class passengers to “Skip First Meal Service” as part of their pre-selections for on board service. Customers fying long haul in the ‘Delta One’ cabin might choose Trout, non-meat Meatballs, chicken breast or to skip the meal. That is described as having an environmental benefit, to “help[..] reduce food waste.”

The airline’s business class passengers, booking the least expensive business class ‘Z’ fare roundtrips on a route like Detroit to Seoul, are currently spending over $8000 roundtrip. And the airline is asking them to help save money on catering bills.

As Delta opens Delta One lounges starting next year, more passengers may eat in the airport before their flight and take them up on skipping the main meal. Even better would be a ‘dine anytime’ business class service that offers to save the main meal for later in the flight, or in place of a second meal (since the second meal is usually quite bad, especially when it’s breakfast on a transatlantic Eastbound).

If they want passengers to commit in advance not to eat – even if they wind up running late to the airport and not eating before their flight – so that the airline can save money by boarding less food, then Delta should consider incentivizing passengers to do so. Environmental guilt over food waste is surely less effective than offering devalued SkyMiles or an airport food and beverage credit. In other words, split the savings with the passenger and make it win-win, instead of

No one actually believes that the Atlanta-based airline, which owns an oil refinery and operates a fleet of older and less fuel efficient planes than competitors, is actually green – just like they don’t believe Frontier Airlines is the ‘greenest airline’ because its cabin interiors and aircraft paint jobs are green.

Delta made huge environmental claims before the pandemic saying they’d be carbon neutral in 2020. They got there mostly through buying carbon offsets which frequently don’t offset carbon at all and can even increase carbon emissions.

The carrier made a big deal of moving from plastic utensils in domestic first class to wood, framed as ‘getting rid of plastic’ when the real announcement was they didn’t plan to bring back reusable metal. They moved from bottled wine to cans, which are heavier and burn more fuel, and serving the wine in… plastic cups (so much for ditching plastic).

Once again as Delta makes cost cuts, they want customers to cheer them on ‘for the environment’. On the other hand, United Airlines saves money on business class catering by just not boarding enough food.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. You’re so politically-biased it’s pathetic.

    Click baited here only to see “waste”. Waste elimination has been associated with cost reduction by companies and individuals for eons. And yes, it’s also good for the environment, and for reducing municipal dump costs. It also reduces bad odors.

    This blog used to be truthful, but it’s now mostly about culture wars. Shameful.

  2. I agree with most. If you opt out of the first meal, you should be compensated in one form or another. Because we all know they are charging us 10× the value of the meal. For me, the meal is part of the D1 experience.

  3. I was appreciative of the option on a recent short overnight flight to Europe that allowed for more sleep.

  4. That’s a disgusting request. Why don’t you give a donation out of your profits. I’ll never fly Delta!

  5. Wow, what a clickbait and irrationally angry article.

    Delta isn’t asking anyone to skip a meal. They are just providing an option for people to tell them they won’t be dining. Of course this means a meal won’t be thrown in the trash. How is that a bad thing?

  6. I think if a meal is going to be thrown in the garbage it would be nice to at least offer it to the other passengers on the plane at a Reasonable price I’m sure there would be some takers You can start with Delta comfort and work your way back I’m not sure how to do it but it would still be better than throwing it away just a thought

  7. These airlines are doing everything to cut costs for themselves, and then say it’s “for the environment”. lol
    Soon they’ll say you have to pay for your meal, while keeping the cost of the ticket the same.

  8. That’s cool and all… But the meals are still there, skipping a meal doesn’t save the environment.. They will simply throw them away after the flight.

  9. If Delta/American/British Air et Al want to remove MIRE service from business ticket, they drastically need to reduce the ticket price. Honestly, I can stand cabin for the 5 hour JFK to Heathrow and save a couple thousand dollars. I’ve no problem with bringing a boxed meal and watching movies instead of “sleeping” on the VERY uncomfortable business class bed. Keep talking Delta!!

  10. I don’t see a problem with Delta’s request. On short overnight flights, I eat before departure to maximize sleep. What the author failed to mention is that Delta offers 5 meal options during pre-order versus 3 on AAL/ UAL. You can partially see these on his snapshot. I think comments like ” I will never fly Delta again” because of the option to skip a meal are simply shrill.

  11. You have gotten way to political for an Airline blog. Who cares that Delta put an opt out of meal service option. I like to go right to sleep when possible & don’t like to be bothered with a meal sometimes. So I like the idea. Yes it does save weight & lessons food costs but compensating me for that is ridiculous. You are losing my interest fast in your posts. Don’t make airplane news your political shouting post.

  12. I fundamentally don’t get a lot of the comments. Delta is charging a price for business class that is several X the price of coach. Part of the value proposition is the meal. If you don’t eat the meal and they don’t have to cater it, isn’t it pretty straightforward that you should either receive a discount or something of value in return?
    Airlines are all for unbundling when it comes to “products” from which they can extract more cash – seats, checked bags etc., but when the shoe is in the other foot, pound sand!

  13. There are other Companies besides Delta.
    Greed, and lack of respect for their customers, will hurt them.

    * * No, I never said that!
    Censorship is not ok!

  14. Johnny,
    feel free to list ALL of the benefits of a business class ticket and then stick a value on every one of those things – and then you will FINALLY realize that MOST western airline business class fares are not ala carte. If you choose not to check the maximum allowable number of bags, if you choose not to go to the Sky Club before the flight, if you choose not to…. you don’t get a refund or a credit.

    To continue to push a narrative that is disconnected from the way the fare is constructed and sold is as bad as Gary trying to turn it into an environmental issue.

    Delta should have simply left it at “I don’t want a main course” and an offer to provide other service.

    Adding narrative based on faulty understanding is no mor helpful whether Gary or anyone else does it.

  15. this its way company only care about profits. They charge more for a low service product. No wonder European companies and Middle east are the best in the Sky.USA Arilines they arew suck

  16. I love how Delta says skip the meal and we can save the environment lol

    It’s just a marketing scheme for Delta to save a buck! Pathetic and sad!

  17. Do you pay less if you skip first meal? If you suggest that passengers in business class should skip first meal, you should reduce the price of the trip for the passengers who skip first meal.

  18. who would have the nerve to ask a passenger paying $8,000 and in the air 13 hours, to skip the meal so they can save $20.00 ? Delta would. I don’t think even the cheapskates at United would do this ?

  19. I am sooooo sick and tired of those environmentalists libtards who has no slightest idea what are they even talking about.

  20. I normally ever eat airplane food since 1980s, reading this; please do me a favor Delta… By the way in over seas fly I do not choice you, there’s a lot of good airlines with a better and great airplane ✈️

  21. Those who don’t like this article are precisely why Delta uses environment guilt to trick customers into helping them cut costs. For all of you who think Delta is being truthful, I have some swamp land to sell you! By the way, the hotel industry does this too. They ask you to reuse your towel to help reduce waste. While it may do that, the real motivation behind the hotel corporation is simply to guilt the customer into helping them save money. I am surprised to see so many liberal commenters defending big corporations. This is an example of the capitalism you all claim to hate.

  22. once again, Gary, you prove how dumb some (actually many) of your readers are.

    Delta didn’t ASK anyone to skip their meal. They offered it as an option.

    Multiple people continue to suggest that not eating is not any different from not taking advantage of all of the benefits of a specific fare. Airlines don’t refund parts of the service you don’t use just because you don’t take advantage of every piece.

    and Gary, not Delta, attached environmentalism to what Delta said.

    I am sooo sick and tired of people that can’t read.

  23. Delta continues to devalue the passenger. Whether it’s under the guise of environmentalism doesn’t really matter, does it? So sick of being nickel and dimed I am trashing my Diamond status and flying g with – gasp- UAL

  24. Tim Dunn,

    Let me ask you, if you bought.a luxury automobile and wanted the V-8 engine and that package came with a premium sound system and leather seats, but they told you listen if you object to killing cows you can have vinyl or if you only listen to talk radio we can put in an FM radio instead, would you expect to pay the same amount for that vehicle?
    If they are offering to unbundle there should be some value to the customer other than the BS environmental angle.

  25. Shows you how deranged these regressive fool companies are, cutting cost by shaming people into skipping a meal and this rag acts like it is somehow heroic. In 2 days you can start to put an end to this nonsense

  26. After Trump became the President, and still not in rotting in jail, anything is possible.
    Hey, I have an idea. Lets buy all the business class tickets from Delta and we don’t board at all.
    This way Delta can make money and save money at the same time.

  27. Johnny,
    again, nowhere did Delta or any other western airline say that any of their fares allow you to get a refund for any services which are not part of the fare you purchase if there was never an a la carte fare offering. There just isn’t. There are many services including checked bags on Southwest that I don’t use but I don’t expect to get anything back for not using those services.

    If you buy a luxury car and want alternate and lower priced equipment, you negotiate the difference.

    And, once again, you can’t quite grasp that Delta is offering you an OPTION. If you want all that you paid for, order the meal – and then stuff it into your carry on if you want to make sure they don’t rip you off.
    And then deal w/ Customs and Agriculture in the country where you land – but don’t complain that Delta didn’t serve you if you wanted the food which they had every intention to give you if you simply said you want it

  28. Some really funny comments from the fascist right wingers. How dare anyone even insinuate that reducing food waste and carbon emissions is a good thing. The more carbon people pump into the atmosphere and the more food that is wasted, the happier they are.

    More importantly, why must unserved airline food that was prepared in the U.S. be wasted? I’ve seen packaged AA snacks in a thrift store in Charlotte. With a little ingenuity, at least some unserved food could be consumed by somebody or put to other productive use. But it is probably easier for the airline to just throw it away. Customers have already paid for it.

    Waste should be avoided. I learned that at the dinner table by age five. Some will turn that into a political statement. LOL

  29. Tim Dunn, why would you negotiate with the auto dealer? If you don’t want the V-8 package don’t buy it.
    Oh, you negotiate because you can? How about that. But it if it’s Delta, and they offer to unbundle you should just bend over and say thank you sir may I have another.

  30. Why is everyone so angry on here including the writer. (Yes that’s how it reads)

    If you want the food, eat it. If you don’t ..don’t. I know alot of people who don’t eat airline food for health and allergy reasons. It’s not a huge issue. Everyone knows the food costs about $9-$20. If you are already paying $8k for the ticket…and complaining about the price… Re think your strategy or airline, because there is a bigger problem there.

    You would all be crying “issue” if they did or didn’t offer this as an option.

    At the end of the day you’re not buying a ticket to travel for the food…it’s a mode of transportation with a different seat available.

    Move on….this is just another angry story from a writer who is emotionally affected by a change that effects their personal views. Stop making everything a big issue. Stfu or report/blog news from a neutral angle with integrity.

  31. This is such absolute rubbish on Delta’s part. It’s nothing but a cost saving measure dressed up as an altruistic act. The airlines have obviously become accustomed to drinks/meals savings brought about by Covid.

  32. Eventually, DL (Or any other Western carrier) will unbundle everything. Technology allows them to fine tune it. Base Business fare plus add-on (for every monetizable amenity) like the LCCs. It’s happening now; it’s just not floated up to Business class.

  33. Is this the same as when the flight attendant (back then it was a stewardess) realized that the airline she was flying with could save a zillion dollars a year by doing away with the lettuce leaf garnish that no one ate and always threw away?

  34. Give the food to the homeless!…In the USA or whatever country you land in. I am sure there are hundreds of organizations willing to partner. No more waste and you can still plan to serve all meals without the possibility of running out. Delta is the worst at over booking. I would not trust them to get food logistics right either. They would no doubt run out on some flights.

  35. So, did they also refund each passenger a portion of their fare too? I realize that food costs are not MUCH of the fare, but they are SOMETHING.

  36. With the erosion of business class services, I’m glad I ditched Delta/SkyTeam and chose One world Emerald and StarAlliance Gold statuses instead.

  37. After a Delta airlines passenger finished his D1 meal, he helped save the environment by choosing to throw up on the floor without using a recycled paper air sickness bag.

  38. Essentially have a similar environmental impact if you wait to eat until you get off the plane AND pay for it out of pocket? This is a page out of hotel housekeeping play book, how they use so much less detergent when you skip daily housekeeping (yet add to their lower operating cost and improved profitability). Maybe there is a tangible environmental impact, but the incentives are not aligned.

  39. What an utterly silly and hyper biased clickbait post!!

    JAL has been doing this for years and I gladly let them know not to cater anything for me on the segment leaving Haneda, which departs at about 3am internal clock time, and where I sleep the entire time.

    Only a culture war blog would ascribe political attributes to something that neither JAL nor Delta do (unlike, let’s say, hotels).

    Well done Delta for copying.JAL. Of course, Delta is the first of the US3 to do so.

    As to this blog, it’s getting less and less useful as time goes by.

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