New Restaurant Serves Airplane Food on the Ground

Did you ever think that your airline meal was so good you wished you had it at home? I can think of only three meals that qualify: Singapore Airlines laksa, ANA ramen, and Thai Airways duck rice soup. All three are soups, which reheat well in the air.

Singapore Airlines Laksa

Still in 2014 Air Food One attempted home delivery of LSG Sky Chefs meals. They were delivering leftover airline food throughout Germany. That effort didn’t make it.

Thai Airways has been planning to generate enough revenue to keep flying by selling frozen Thai meals with their airline branding. That hasn’t happened yet. I’d buy the duck rice soup.

Thai Airways Duck Rice Soup

However it looks like AirAsia has beaten them to the punch selling inflight Asian meals on the ground, and they’re doing it through an actual restaurant which they hope to expand through franchising. They even hope to expand to New York but so far the Santan Restaurant and T&CO Cafe is just in a mall in Kuala Lumpur.

AirAsia plans to open five outlets this year, and 100 over the next three to five years.

“We decided to own several restaurants but the bigger business would be franchising, really, because we feel we want to harness young entrepreneurial talent around the region who would like to be part of this business,” said Aireen Omar, group president of AirAsia’s non-airline subsidiary RedBeat Ventures.

AirAsia’s Chicken Rendang is Available for US$1.20 on the Ground, credit: Santan Restaurant

Currently 30% of the restaurant’s menu comes from AirAsia, and the restaurant’s name Santan – “already used on AirAsia’s in-flight menus” – comes from coconut milk pulp. AirAsia BIG members get free coffee with the restaurant’s app download.

It’s intriguing to see low cost Asian dishes for sale with an airline’s branding. United Airlines, for its part, only tried to sell their cookbook.

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. The rendang has quite a bite if I remember correctly, but Uncle Chin’s Chicken Rice, IIRC, is really quite good. Restaurant good? Maybe not, but props to them for trying.

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