Fiji Airways Moving its Full Business Class Meal Service From the Air to the Ground

Many airlines have offered pre-flight dining in business class. Eat your meal in the airport before boarding, go right to sleep on board. That’s a nice option for short overnight flights.

United tested a shorted meal service for late night transatlantics from Washington Dulles. Of course they did it from an airport where they don’t yet have a Polaris lounge for pre-flight dining, while it would actually have made sense from Newark (but they presumably didn’t want to risk change with higher-yielding New York passengers).

Of course not everyone want to show up at the airport early to eat. And where this has been tried it’s generally presented either as a choice (eat beforehand instead of on the plane) or a shortened service where the food remains substantive. Not so at Fiji Airways.

Fiji Airways is actually moving their business class meal service from the air to the ground.

Passengers taking morning or evening flights out of Nadi, Fiji will be offered breakfast or dinner, respectively, in the Fiji Airways Premier Lounge shortly before boarding.

…What is new is an airline moving its full meal service from the flight to the ground.

…The Dine on the Ground service is now available for morning flights from Nadi to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and evening flights from Auckland to Nadi.

fiji airways business class lounge
Credit: Fiji Airways

Fiji Airways will still serve “light options such as fruit bowls, paninis, salads, tapas and soups” on board in business class.

This move is expected to save costs, not least of which fuel from reduced weight of catering. As with nearly all cuts in travel this one is being described as good for the environment. They say 38% of catered food on board wound up as waste, but presumably they can manage food more efficiently on the ground where the same food can be served longer and used across multiple flights of passengers.

They’re also pitching that eating prior to boarding will reduce “bloating and indigestion” and be better for sleeping as a result.

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. So this does not affect FJ flights to/from the US/Australia, yet? I am scheduled to fly them shortly from SYD to LAX via Nadi

  2. I like this plan. But maybe they should offer it on alternate flights (if they have more than one to each destination in a day).

    I wish some of the later overnight flights NYC-London adopted this approach. It would be great if, say, American and British each offered one late night flight where everyone could sleep from the moment the plane takes off — lights dimmed and no food service. Even better if they also skipped breakfast and let everyone sleep until the last moment. American has a very good breakfast (and excellent showers) at its arrivals lounge in Heathrow.

  3. They don’t publish this, but both Qantas and Air New Zealand skimp on the food service in Business on some of their long haul flights.

    I just flew SFO-SYD on Qantas followed by AKL-LAX on Air New Zealand. Both flights left at around 10pm local time.

    In both cases I had not eaten much of the food in the lounge in anticipation of being fed on the flight. The QF flight in particular is 14 hours long so you’d expect a full dinner.

    In fact on both flights I was offered ‘supper’, which meant no appetizer or salad on QF (they gave us a menu for SFO-MEL which left earlier in the day and had a full service and I was rather annoyed when they said it didn’t apply). There is nothing on the Qantas webpage to indicate this, and on a 14 hour flight, it’s a long time to breakfast.

    On Air New Zealand, supper was two small plates and bread. Again, nothing on their webpage saying you’ll get a limited dinner on a 12 hour flight. In fact, I got a more substantial meal on the lunchtime flight from SYD-AKL than I did on the long haul.

    I know it sounds like first world problems (and it is), but it’s annoying when you only find out when you’re on the plane as it’s too late to eat earlier – especially when the food in the SFO and AKL lounges was actually quite good.

  4. Let’s keep things in perspective: those are 3h 10m duration flights.

    US travelers only wish they had that option — typically on those durations they’re served almost nothing on board, just the paninis, salads (and not even fruit bowls, tapas or soups) that FJ will keep serving.

  5. I was on the Nadi Sydney flight (911) last month and it seemed like they had already introduced the light snack! (And it wasn’t very good!!). The food service in the lounge was no different from earlier in the year. The Nadi lounge is actually not bad so having a decent meal there would be nice.

  6. I applaud this: Virgin used to have a snooze zone in Upper which was specifically for those who wanted to get on the flight and sleep immediately. From west coast to LHR, this was great. Have a great meal in the clubhouse before your flight, get on the plane, into your PJs, climb into bed immediately after the seatbelt lights had gone off.

    However, now, you’re kept awake until the meal service has finished.

  7. If they serve me my supper on the ground rather than in the air, then I expect a significant refund on the price of my business class ticket. The essence of business class boils down to two things: the seating and the food service. If they take away the food service, or seriously reduce it, then I expect a partial refund of the price difference between economy and business.

  8. I don’t wish to be critical of my old employer, but this is one “dumb ass” idea. I’ve NEVER (even in third world countries) failed to have an option for food before a flight. You’re in Business Class, sleep if you want to sleep, eat if you want to eat. I just got home from a trip on AA J to Europe and just as my flights on FJ, there didn’t appear to be anyone who missed meals. Quite the opposite actually. And to arrive at the airport 3+ hours prior to scheduled departure just to eat airplane/airport buffet style breakfast or dinner in the “lounge,” ain’t happening here. Maybe they could make the IFE selections available in the “lounge” so I don’t feel the need to peruse them inflight.

  9. I’m on a rabbit trail now, but I don’t buy J class for a dining experience just as I don’t go early to the airport for one either. I’ve always been under the impression that meals on the airplane were to help pass the time and to distract one from the idea that you were sharing a confined space with 200+ strangers, with God knows what ailments, traveling in metal tube at FL350 at 550 knots.
    Should I win the lotto, I’ll be in my Falcon 900EX. No 300 minute. ETOPS or Sky Chef inflight “gourmet” for me thank you.

  10. Rabbit trail, Part II. Knowing how these forums work, before you jump all over me for not considering the carbon footprint of owning a Falcon 900EX, please know that the Falcon is downsizing of my idea of a personal B747-800, which can seriously throw thousands of pounds of carbon out the tailpipes …by the hour.

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