JetBlue's planning to serve some pretty incredible food on economy flights to London
Get ready to be blown away by JetBlue's upcoming economy offering — these transatlantic meals look mighty impressive.
JetBlue already revealed its new Mint business-class offering, which will launch soon on the carrier's flights between the U.S. and London. Now, it looks like economy passengers will experience some notable upgrades as well — beyond the spiffy cabin pictured below.
The airline has partnered with New York-based Dig restaurant group on a "build-your-own" meal program, letting flyers create a custom meal using their 10.1-inch seat-back screen. Selections will appear on flight attendant iPads, so crew members will already know what to plate for you as the cart reaches your seat.
I spoke with Jayne O'Brien, JetBlue's Head of Marketing, Product and Loyalty, to get a better sense of the upcoming service. While it sounds like flyers won't be able to "reserve" meals — there's always a chance your first choice may be unavailable by the time the cart reaches your row — O'Brien confirmed that the airline is over-catering flights, with the hopes that everyone on board gets an entree they're happy with.
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For flights from Boston and New York, JetBlue's caterers will prep meals using ingredients from Dig's farm in Upstate New York. The carrier is still working to arrange catering for flights from London, though flyers should still expect similar, Dig-inspired meals. As the airline explains:
Known for its vegetable-forward options, the Dig menu will feature a seasonal selection of proteins, vegetables and grains mindfully sourced in part from minority and women-run farms, as well as Dig’s own farm, Dig Acres. Customers will have the option to choose one of three main selections including a protein or vegetable that comes with a base, and two out of three hot and chilled side options.
I'm a big fan of Dig, formerly known as "Dig Inn." Everything I've had over the years has been consistently excellent. The TPG team even ordered catering from Dig a handful of times — back when everyone was in the office.
Of note here, we often had leftovers, which reheated quite nicely — good news for flight attendants trying to prep top-notch meals in airplane galley ovens. There are a number of familiar items on the onboard menu, too — as JetBlue explains:
Menu items will feature hearty offerings, such as roasted chicken thigh over a base of brown rice with herbs and spiced eggplant over coconut cauliflower quinoa, with sides including Dig’s beloved mac and cheese and a mixed heirloom tomato salad sourced directly from Dig Acres in upstate New York. For morning departures, the menu will include a mix of sweet and savory breakfast dishes, including a mixed berry bread pudding and citrus salad with local honey.
While items are always subject to change, JetBlue sent over a sample menu, so we have an idea of what to expect. On lunch or dinner flights, flyers would be able to choose from options like:
- Charred Chicken & Brown Rice
- Meatballs & Tomato Farro
- Spiced Eggplant & Quinoa
Along with two of the following three sides:
- Dig Acres Tomato Salad
- Sheet Tray Carrots
- Mac and Cheese
Meanwhile, breakfast flights will include a choice of:
- Mixed Berry Bread Pudding
- Smoked Salmon Crepe
- Summer Vegetable Frittata
And each entree can be paired with two of the following:
- Citrus Salad
- Coconut Overnight Oats
- Griddled Ham & Root Vegetables
JetBlue will always offer vegetarian items onboard, some of which are also vegan. Halal, Hindu and Kosher meals will also be available for pre-order, though they won't be sourced from Dig. Otherwise, all economy flyers can also nosh on:
- Items from the Pantry, with a self-serve grab & go snack basket
- Complimentary soft drinks, coffee, tea, beer, wine and liquor
- A dessert for a sweet treat post-meal, and a light bite prior to arrival
Overall, it looks like an incredible selection — a scaled-down version of the carrier's current Mint business-class offering, which should also make its way to flights to London. It's also worth pointing out that JetBlue will serve meals in reusable containers, and will offer cutlery made from a natural polymer.
Of course, the final onboard product never quite looks like the marketing photos, but JetBlue definitely has some experience delivering restaurant-quality meals in business class — I wouldn't be surprised to see the carrier pull it off in coach, too.