Alaska Airlines Brings Back More Meal Service

Alaska Airlines has announced that it is expanding inflight service offerings in all cabins. With hot options starting to come back in first class and expanded beverage options in economy, the airline is making it clear that it is not envisioning a post-pandemic world with fewer inflight offerings for customers.

Alaska Airlines is bringing back even more meal service. Photo: Getty Images

Alaska Airlines offering hot meals in first class

The Seattle-based carrier had spent much of the crisis cutting its inflight offerings in the name of public health and safety. In this endeavor, it was not alone, as airlines across the US suspended complimentary food and beverage offerings and only started to bring them back slowly through the crisis. Now, with the recovery in full swing, Alaska Airlines has started bringing back even more meal services.

Depending on the length of your flight, you will receive a different service. On mainline flights longer than 1,100 miles, Alaska Airlines offers expanded hot meal options in first class for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This includes new seasonal entrees like Guajillo Chile-Lime Salad with ancient grains, roasted broccoli and sweet potato with a roasted lemon crema, and Miso Marinated Code with sesame garlic farrow, sauteed yu choy, bell peppers, and shitake mushrooms in a sesame-miso butter sauce.

Alaska Airlines’ Marinated Miso Cod entrée. Photo: Alaska Airlines

Full tray service is also back in first class. This includes Schoenewald porcelain and compostable linen and silverware. Note that this is only available on routes longer than 670 miles.

Todd Traynor-Corey, managing director of guest products at Alaska Airlines, stated the following on the resumptions:

“We’re excited to welcome our guests back on board and want them to have a great experience with us. We’ve put a lot of thought and planning into safely adding additional food and beverage service on our flights, while getting back to fresh and local menu items that our guests love.” 

Most of the routes fitting the bill for hot meal services have already seen those options return.

Most routes have already seen meal service come back. Photo: Getty Images

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Expanded choices and pre-ordering

Alaska Airlines is also offering more options for its economy class and extra-legroom economy class customers. All cabins will receive multiple cart services on flights longer than 1,100 miles, with a full selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Alaska Airlines also offers customers pre-ordering. Whether in the first class or economy class cabins, customers can pre-select meals from the mobile app anywhere from two weeks before a flight up to one hour prior to departure. This includes the option to pre-order a Fruit and Cheese Platter.

Alaska Airlines is known for its fruit and cheese platter. Photo: Alaska Airlines

Shorter flights will also see more options for customers. On flights between 670 miles and 1,099 miles, Alaska Airlines focuses on offering customers a snack option. The carrier’s “picnic packs” can be pre-ordered up to one hour before departure and can also be purchased inflight with a credit card or other form of stored onboard payment.

Shedding pandemic-era food cuts

Much of 2020 was marked with incredibly scaled-back food service options. There was a time when getting water and a snack was a huge deal onboard an aircraft. Now, things are starting to change.

One of the big fears during 2020 was whether airlines would use the crisis to justify a broader scaling-back of inflight food and beverage offerings in the long run. It appeared that some airlines were actively considering it. However, since airlines started bringing back service, some of those concerns have been dashed.

Service may look different on flights operated by Alaska’s regional partners. Photo: Getty Images

Pre-pandemic, save for some of the most lucrative and exclusive routes, complimentary meal service in the domestic US was limited to premium cabins. Even on some longer routes to Alaska, Hawaii, and some transcontinental routes did not come with complimentary meals in economy. While it does not appear that airlines are planning to expand what they offered pre-crisis, it is at least a good sign that food options are coming back.

There is a competitive advantage for Alaska in this move as well. Other airlines have started bringing back hot meal service, or else are actively planning to bring it back, and Alaska does not want to lose out on customers – and thus revenue – to another airline that may offer more inflight service at the same price. In addition, Alaska is mainly a West Coast carrier. It does not have any mid-continent hubs, so connecting passengers coming from Raleigh, Atlanta, or San Antonio are flying into a hub like Seattle on a relatively long flight.

For example, a flight from Raleigh to Seattle usually takes around five hours more from takeoff to touchdown. On a route like this, offering a meal service is a requisite to be competitive.

Are you glad to see Alaska Airlines bring back more meal service? Let us know in the comments!

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