New Pre-Order Food Options on Delta and American

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Delta is launching a new “Dine Up” premium meal service that will let coach passengers order a premium meal up until 48 hours before their flight to eat onboard.

According to this How It Works page, you go online to check which menus are available on your particular flight and place your order for the one you want using a credit or debit card. Then your meal is delivered to your plane and to you on the day of the flight. You can change or cancel your order up to 48 hours in advance, though if you have any last-minute changes to your flight itinerary, you won’t be able to cancel your order—if you miss your flight because of an airline error, if it is canceled by the airline, or if you are involuntarily bumped, you’ll be given a full refund.

The Dine Up homepage on Delta.com.

Before you ask, no, you can’t decide that what your neighbor is having looks good and order a premium meal onboard—you have to plan ahead! The good news is that when you use a Delta SkyMiles Amex, you’ll receive 20% savings on these pre-purchased meals just like you would when purchasing food, alcoholic beverages and entertainment onboard.

The Menu
I took a look at some sample dishes, and they look pretty decent. The three sample options they have up at the moment include:

-An antipasto dish of salami, peppers and Brie and smoked Gouda with strawberries and red gapes, beef tenderloin with horseradish sauce and grilled rosemary shrimp with jicama slaw for $17.99.

-A dish of grilled herb-crusted chicken on a bed of julienned romaine and radicchio with mozzarella, kalamata olives, tomatoes and basil leaves for $11.99.

-Prosciutto and dried figs, wedges of smoked Gouda and Manchego, pecans, fresh strawberries, dried apricots and plums with sliced smoked salmon over fennel slaw and, and grilled herb-rubbed chicken breast with bell pepper and asparagus with mango dipping sauce on the side for $15.99.

Three sample Dine Up meal options.

American Gets In On The Game
Over last summer, American Airlines ran a pilot program (pardon the pun) testing pre-ordered food service on certain flights between LAX-JFK and SFO-JFK. Now, these weren’t special meals or anything, just the usual Boston Market options they serve regular flyers on board at the time, but at least you know the flight attendants won’t run out before you get your meal of choice by doing so.

It looks like AA has expanded the service to other routes since TPG reader Jonathan sent me an email he received before an upcoming flight on American Airlines from Philadelphia to Dallas/Fort Worth last week that I’ve included below as a screenshot that allowed him to pre-order an onboard meal.  As the email states, Jonathan received this email because he’s a “valued American AAdvantage member” (read: elite status), so I don’t think your average flyer has this option, and I’m not sure what level elite you have to be in order to receive this offer.

The email TPG reader Jonathan received before his flight from PHL-DFW.

Anyone Else?
I’m not sure if there are other domestic airlines that let you do this, but I do know that American Airlines offered a trial pre-order program on transcontinental routes this summer, United was toying with the idea, and that you can pre-order meals on Air Berlin, in Royal First Class on Thai Airways, for first and business passengers on China Airlines, Air Asia, first class “Chef on Call” on Malaysia Airlines, the “Book the Cook” advanced ordering in business and first class on Singapore Airlines, and probably a few other options that I haven’t come across yet. Though in all these options, it seems like the pre-order options are the same menu you’d get onboard anyway. Feel free to fill me in on other airlines where this is the case.

Would you ever purchase one of these meals, or would you rather see what you could find to bring onboard at the airport before your flight?

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