Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A leading travel site now offers passengers a new way to check in advance
which flights offer meals.
(Photo: iStock)When you book a flight, you likely will check the
departure/arrival times.
You’ll look at the seating chart.
You might even check to see if the plane has Wi-Fi.
But how much time do you spend researching the in-flight meal: Is there one?
What will be served? Is it free or do you have to pay?

Even if you try to
research the in-flight meal beforehand, good luck making sense of the
airline’s byzantine rules governing which routes serve a meal, a snack
or nothing at all.


Today, the travel site Routehappy says it’s taking the
guesswork out of in-flight dining.
Starting today, Routehappy will add "fresh food" to the list of amenities
data it compiles for flights on more than 100 airlines.
  Routehappy lists this Virgin America flight’s amenities,
including Wi-Fi availability and, in the bottom left-hand corner, a new
listing for Fresh Food.
(Photo: Routehappy) "Along with all the amenities such a Wi-Fi, power,
seat type, and seat pitch, you’ll see a little food icon and a
description of what you should expect on board," Jason Rabinowitz,
Routehappy’s data research manager, says about the change to his site.
"For just about every flight you search for on Routehappy, you’ll find
information — down to the cabin and flight level —  of what
fresh food will be available.
Will you get a meal on board? Will a meal be available for purchase? Will
there be a fresh snack available? What you have to preorder or will there be
no meal at all?"Related: Should You Eat the Airline Food or Chew on the
Seat Cushion? Healthiest In-Flight Menus

Keep in mind, we’re not
talking about the standard foil bag of peanuts.
"Fresh food is defined by us as something that isn’t ‘shelf
stable,’" says Rabinowitz.
"It’s not pre-packaged salami or those sealed packages of hummus.
It has to be something that’s loaded on [planes] daily and must be
consumed that day —  like fresh fruit or a freshly plated meal.
" Keep in mind, we’re talking "fresh" food; not that bag of nuts
in the foil package.
(Photo: iStock)

Yes, airlines do make this information available online.
But Rabinowitz says each airline has its own rules as to when or if meals are
served.
An airline can say, for instance, it offers meal service between 6 a.
m.
and 8:59 p.
m.
, but only if the flight is more than two hrs and 59 minutes long and/or on a
particular route.
The rules vary from airline to airline and, often, within each airline, so
you often can’t tell if your specific flight offers food.
In the time it takes to decipher that code, you can just buy a sandwich at
the gate and bring it with you on board.
WATCH: Science Tells Us Why Airplane Food Tastes Like a Shoe Now that
Routehappy has compiled this new meal data, they’ve gleaned new insight
into what the Big Three domestic airlines are doing with in-flight
meals:

Delta Food’s generally not hard to get on a long-haul First
Class flight.
But Delta’s been making food available on shorter shuttle flights,
too.
(Photo: Delta Air Lines)Routehappy says fresh food on domestic flights
generally is available for sale (or for free, if you’re talking premium
cabins) only on flights longer than 700-800 miles.
But Delta has some notable exceptions: it offers a free fresh snack on its
Los Angeles to San Francisco shuttle, while its LaGuardia (NYC) to O'Hare
(Chicago) shuttle has a plated fresh meal in First Class on all flights.


Rabinowitz says airlines will offer food on shorter routes if it’s
for what he calls a "high profile" route.
"Every airline does this kind of thing," he says, citing American
Airlines’ First Class food offerings in its relatively short
flights between Washington and Chicago.
"They know this is a high profile, high-expense route so they offer a meal on
that flight.
It’s not just Delta; every airline does these odd tweaks and
alterations to their own rules when they think there’s high enough
demand.
"

United   United is getting singled out for expanding some of its
offerings.
(Photo: United)"United has really been improving the passenger experience on
a lot of different fronts," Rabinowitz says, citing the airline’s
recent announcement that they’re offering three-course meal services in
Economy class on international flights.
"That’s a big change for them," he says.
He also points to United’s recent plans to offer fresh meals on some
of their regional jet service flights (in premium cabins).
"United has been focusing on offering fresh food on more flights," he says.

American
On American, some premium passengers can pre-select their meals.
(Photo: American)American allows premium passengers flying internationally to
pre-select "gourmet" meals.
Rabinowitz says it’s part of a trend among all the leading U.
S.
-based carriers to improve their food offerings, especially in comparison to
international carriers, which used to have a reputation for being more
generous with meal service than their American competitors.
Related: Airline Food We Actually Ate in 2014

"That’s becoming less
and less true," Rabinowitz says.
"American carriers really have been stepping up their game and catching up
with their European counterparts.
"

But sometimes you don’t want a meal  Rabinowitz  points
out most U.
S.
West Coast to East Coast redeye flights do not offer fresh food, for obvious
reasons.
"On those red-eye flights, passengers want as much sleep as possible; I know
I do," he laughs.
"Meal service would just keep the cabin crew moving about the whole time.
You’d probably have more passengers upset that they weren’t
able to sleep than people mad about not getting the meal.
" Maybe in addition to ranking a flight’s Wi-Fi, seat selection and,
now, food service, Routehappy can compile data about which flights are best
for sleeping.
Now that’s data we can use!
WATCH: G'Day Mate! How To Speak
Australian Let World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
 Watch World traveling club Travel’s original series "A Broad
Abroad.
"
Starting today, Routehappy will add "fresh food" to the list of amenities
data it compiles for flights on more than 100 airlines.
 .
WATCH: Science Tells Us Why Airplane Food Tastes Like a Shoe Now that
Routehappy has compiled this new meal data, they’ve gleaned new insight
into what the Big Three domestic airlines are doing with in-flight
meals:

Delta Food’s generally not hard to get on a long-haul First
Class flight.
But Delta’s been making food available on shorter shuttle flights,
too.
(Photo: Delta Air Lines)Routehappy says fresh food on domestic flights
generally is available for sale (or for free, if you’re talking premium
cabins) only on flights longer than 700-800 miles.
But Delta has some notable exceptions: it offers a free fresh snack on its
Los Angeles to San Francisco shuttle, while its LaGuardia (NYC) to O'Hare
(Chicago) shuttle has a plated fresh meal in First Class on all flights.


Rabinowitz says airlines will offer food on shorter routes if it’s
for what he calls a "high profile" route.
"Every airline does this kind of thing," he says, citing American
Airlines’ First Class food offerings in its relatively short
flights between Washington and Chicago.
"They know this is a high profile, high-expense route so they offer a meal on
that flight.
It’s not just Delta; every airline does these odd tweaks and
alterations to their own rules when they think there’s high enough
demand.
"

United   United is getting singled out for expanding some of its
offerings.
(Photo: United)"United has really been improving the passenger experience on
a lot of different fronts," Rabinowitz says, citing the airline’s
recent announcement that they’re offering three-course meal services in
Economy class on international flights.
"That’s a big change for them," he says.
He also points to United’s recent plans to offer fresh meals on some
of their regional jet service flights (in premium cabins).
"United has been focusing on offering fresh food on more flights," he says.

American
On American, some premium passengers can pre-select their meals.
(Photo: American)American allows premium passengers flying internationally to
pre-select "gourmet" meals.
Rabinowitz says it’s part of a trend among all the leading U.
S.
-based carriers to improve their food offerings, especially in comparison to
international carriers, which used to have a reputation for being more
generous with meal service than their American competitors.
Related: Airline Food We Actually Ate in 2014

"That’s becoming less
and less true," Rabinowitz says.
"American carriers really have been stepping up their game and catching up
with their European counterparts.
"

But sometimes you don’t want a meal  Rabinowitz  points
out most U.
S.
West Coast to East Coast redeye flights do not offer fresh food, for obvious
reasons.
"On those red-eye flights, passengers want as much sleep as possible; I know
I do," he laughs.
"Meal service would just keep the cabin crew moving about the whole time.
You’d probably have more passengers upset that they weren’t
able to sleep than people mad about not getting the meal.
" Maybe in addition to ranking a flight’s Wi-Fi, seat selection and,
now, food service, Routehappy can compile data about which flights are best
for sleeping.
Now that’s data we can use!
WATCH: G'Day Mate! How To Speak
Australian Let World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
 Watch World traveling club Travel’s original series "A Broad
Abroad.
"
Starting today, Routehappy will add "fresh food" to the list of
amenities data it compiles for flights on more than 100 airlines.
 

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