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Delta revamps inflight service, brings back buy-on-board products

June 14, 2022
7 min read
food on plane
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Delta Air Lines kicked off 2022 by unveiling a revamped onboard experience that doubled down on sustainability.

The Atlanta-based carrier teamed up with a variety of local, diverse brands to bring new bedding, amenity kits and canned wines to the sky.

Now, as the summer travel season gets into full swing, the carrier is once again overhauling the inflight service experience. This time, Delta is changing up the food and drinks it serves flyers with one goal in mind: to highlight small businesses, global suppliers, and woman- and LGBTQ+-led brands.

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“We’re always listening to what our customers tell us they’d like to see onboard, and we’re giving them more of what they say they’re craving, while also making an impact in global communities,” Kristen Manion Taylor, senior vice president of inflight service, said in a statement.

We’ll break down each of the new products below.

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Food

Buy-on-board returns to coach

At the start of the pandemic, Delta (and its competitors) significantly pulled back their onboard service.

Now, more than two years later, the airline is finally bringing back some elements of the pre-pandemic service. This includes buy-on-board offerings, dubbed "Flight Fuel Plates" and "Flight Fuel snack boxes" that are now rolling out on domestic flights longer than 1,500 miles.

Delta will offer a fruit and cheese plate, and a chicken salad croissant sandwich as "Flight Fuel Plates." Each costs $12.

(Photo courtesy of Delta)

The airline is refreshing its snack boxes, too. There will be two snack boxes available for purchase for $10 each. One is a Mediterranean-inspired "Market" box featuring hummus with pita chips, dried fruit and pitted green olives, and the other is a "Bistro" box with some sweets and savory items, including potato chips, gummy bears and cookies.

(Photo courtesy of Delta)

Domestic first-class gets a meal and snack boost

Beginning in July, Delta will once again allow domestic travelers to pre-select their preferred meals, which will include special menu options, such as Kosher and vegetarian.

Earlier this month, Delta brought back pre-departure beverages for those seated in the first-class cabin on all domestic flights.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The airline is also once again serving hot meals — which include seasonal options such as harissa-spiced Impossible burgers and shrimp poke bowls — on those flights.

When the pre-order system goes live in July, you'll be able to see the menu up to five days before your flight.

Best burgers in the sky: We compared inflight hamburgers to see which was the tastiest

Finally, the airline also recently refreshed the snack basket it offers in premium cabins. The new options now include Vego bears, Miss Vickie’s sea salt kettle chips, pistachios (roasted & salted) and Michel et Augustin dark chocolate cookie squares.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

2 new snacks for all

Delta is adding two new complimentary snacks on all flights in every cabin.

(Photo courtesy of Delta)

This includes cheddar-flavored Sunchips and lemon coconut bars from Kate's Real Food, which will be available beginning in August. Delta already partners with the woman-founded Kate's Real Food, and the airline first started serving the company's snacks earlier this year.

Ice cream sundaes are back

When I flew Delta's inaugural flight from Boston to Tel Aviv in May, I was pleased to see that the airline is once again serving create-your-own ice cream sundaes in the business-class cabin.

ice cream sundae
(Photo courtesy of Delta)

Now, however, the airline is teaming up with Atlanta-based High Road Craft to serve the company's Vanilla Fleur de Sel ice cream in the Delta One cabin on long-haul flights. Available toppings will include morello cherry compote, chocolate sauce and speculoos cookie crumbles.

Additionally, later this summer, Delta will begin serving a new "Delta Sundae" in all Premium Select, Comfort+ and economy cabins on long-haul international flights. The new sundae will be pre-packaged and feature malt ice cream, speculoos cookies, jammy cherries and fudge caramel.

Drinks

Canned cold brew

You don't often find cold brew coffee in the air, but that's about to change on Delta flights.

The airline is teaming up with LGBTQ+-owned Explorer Cold Brew Company to bring the fan-favorite drink to transcontinental and long-haul Hawaii routes.

(Photo courtesy of Delta)

Delta offers two-ounce bottles of concentrate complimentary in premium cabins, including Delta One and Comfort+; they're available for purchase for $5 in the main cabin.

You'll need to mix the concentrate with water (it’s not canned ready-to-drink), which allows you to adjust the strength to your taste.

New teas

Speaking of caffeine, Delta is rolling out Thrive Farmers teas across its network. Flyers in all cabins will soon enjoy English breakfast tea, while those seated in Delta One can choose between four additional tea flavors, including Guizhou green, Egyptian chamomile, Pacific peppermint and Earl Grey.

(Photo courtesy of the Suklabaidya Family from Assam, India)

Delta touts that Thrive Farmers' innovative "farmer-direct model gives farmers a true stake in the sale of their product," which allows the producers to invest in their communities and improve environmental practices.

Expanding the alcohol selection

Delta is building on its existing partnerships with Une Femme wines and Tip Top Proper Cocktails to expand the range of liquor options.

Une Femme will soon produce a new sparkling wine for Delta, dubbed "The Betty." The new canned wine, which launches on domestic flights in mid-July, is "a classic, light and versatile Blanc de Blancs with notes of honeysuckle, orange blossom, and Meyer lemon peel," according to Delta. It'll be available for purchase in coach for $10.

(Photo courtesy of Delta)

Meanwhile, the airline's new canned cocktails will soon be available on long-haul routes for $12 each, after a successful domestic launch last year.

(Photo courtesy of Delta)

Finally, Delta is now serving Kona Brewing Co.'s Big Wave Golden Air on domestic flights. It's available for purchase for $9 in coach. Alcoholic drinks are complimentary in Comfort+ and first class.

Bottom line

All too often, the inflight service selection gets stale, especially for frequent flyers, so it's great to see Delta refreshing its menus with new snacks and drinks.

As part of the revamp, the airline is also doubling down on its commitment to sourcing from a diverse group of suppliers, including new tie-ups with companies such as Thrive Farmers and Explorer Cold Brew.

Personally, I'm most excited about the new Delta ice cream sundae, which will soon be available on all long-haul flights in all cabins — making for the perfect mid-summer treat during the longest flights.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
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