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New Pre-Order Food Options on Delta and American

by on April 5, 2012 · 18 comments

in American, Delta

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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  • Andre LaPlume

    Great way to piss off (can I say that here?) the guy next to you. I love it.

  • MilesRunner

    Will I still be reimbursed by American Express if paid with the Platinum card?

  • Grizz

    Do you think this will qualify for under allowable expenses for the $200 AMEX Platinum reimbursement? (obviously assuming Delta is your selected carrier). -Somehow I always need a way to utilize an extra $20 towards the end of the year.

  • Sean

    As long as the meal follows me to my new seat after a battlefield upgrade

  • thepointsguy

    I’d think so, unless its processed by a third party vendor or something

  • thepointsguy

    Hah yea.. especially if you buy something extra smelly!

  • Andre LaPlume

    I’d only choose #2. Seafood and I are not friends.

  • Gary Leff

    Thai also does pre-order in business class on flights to Europe. Singapore and Thai options aren’t going to be what you’re offered on board anyway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1350853255 Joshua Gould

    I’m the scavenge what I can get from the terminal Starbucks. They have some decent options on fruit cups, salads, sandwiches, pastries, etc. I also then can pay for the food with my Starbucks card that earns me free modifiers and free cups of coffee. I have even reached “Gold” status with them which entails some added perks and a shiny gold card with my name printed on it.

  • cnlklink

    This would be really awesome if AA EXPs can reserve their free snack.

  • kimpossibble

    I’ll take my chances airport scavenging and hope for a battlefield upgrade that comes with a complimentary meal. Out of curiosity, what would happen if you did pre-order a meal in such a scenario?

  • Precision123

    how can they tell this is a no brainer ; if american is your signed up chocie certainly it is GOOD

  • Precision123

    oops if you have to prepay when you order it it might not go sorry

  • Jetstream

    You can also pre-order on KLM, Indonesian, Thai, Italian, Dutch and a few other choices for coach (or EC). Combined with KLM’s-EC they make a very good combination, almost ‘BC light’. With every move Delta makes, it is duplicating KL/AF policy, but because of their size they are usually lagging. On my last flight on the Delta A330 they had actually moved the EC seats the promised few extra inches apart, some more room now.

    Maybe this also indicates the way the Skymiles program is heading: KL/AF did not devalue their original (FB)miles, which was good. However as many will know, the number of miles you earn depends on your class of travel. Cheapest coach at 25% miles, more expensive 50%, Y class 100% and so on. One reason I switched to Skymiles was the 100% at any rate (with added miles as a percentage based on your elite status).

    Now I earn 100+100=200% as a PL on lowest fares. FB was 25+ 75% of 25= 42,5%. Big difference.

    If Delta/Skymiles is heading in the KL/AF FB direction, the good news is that the current miles will keep their value and no expiration and conversion problems. Bad news is they will be way harder to rack up….

  • Suzannehendrix

    Flying coach from PHX to JFK May 11th and my flight does not come up as one I can pre-order food on. Kind of odd considering how long the lfight is. What do you know about which flights are available for this or not?

  • Newacct1260653

    Delta is the premium airline over American in every regard. Just look at the difference in food. American’s food selection is about as innovative as their executives business plan.

  • unmasked

    I take it if you SDC to a different flight that day the meal won’t follow you and you get no refund. What if you get upgraded? Can you get both meals? :)

  • Pingback: American Airlines Allows Customers To Pre-Order Meals | The Points Guy

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