Perhaps it’s time travelers accept the current state of flying and reconsider groaning about buy-on-board meals if it means tastier food, larger portions, and dietary-specific options.
As the quality of airplane food diminishes and entire meals disappear, Inflight Feed has embraced the beauty of the buy-on-board meal option. The site describes and reviews meals on over 80 international airlines based on menu, service, value, and taste.
Travelers can search by airline to find out what free snacks, meals, and drinks will be offered and then click on a link for the carrier’s inflight menu. Inflight Feed is currently working on a database for people to search which airlines offer meal options that cater to their specific dietary needs.
The site quietly launched earlier this summer, but has caught the attention of the airline industry, which has been eager to submit photos and descriptions of their buy-on-board options. The site now has between 4,000-5,000 unique views a month with the heaviest traffic coming in from Google searches by passengers looking for photos of specific airline meals prior to a flight.
Testing out the available options
Inflight Feed founder Nikos Loukas previously managed inflight catering for Australian low-cost carrier Tiger Airways for 8 years. When the airline introduced a horrific menu change that set off passenger complaints, Loukas realized there weren’t enough constructive conversations taking place between passengers and airlines about their menu options.
He prepared content for the site by travelling 27,833 km on 23 airlines around Europe for 2 months this past spring while documenting the quality of meals, efficiency of airline staff, and specialty options available on each airline. Many of the current reviews are based on his opinion, but the site encourages flyers to upload photos and rank their meal experiences.
Loukas notes that there are still some airlines like Air France and Middle Eastern carriers where you can get a really good meal for free, but it’s worth pre-ordering a meal to accommodate any dietary restrictions. Within the U.S., free meal options are becoming even more rare, but he would choose Delta, WestJet, and U.S. Airways for the best on-board meal options.
Why business travelers should consider buy-on-board meals
Although the site was originally created for all travelers, business travelers, in particular, can benefit from the site’s reviews and information as they are traveling more frequently and are often reliant on the airline’s inflight options.
Loukas advises business travelers to pre-order a meal at the time of booking when most systems will link directly to a menu. If you haven’t pre-ordered a meal or had a last minute flight change, ask the flight attendants to set aside a buy-on-board meal as you board the plane since supplies are usually limited.
Not the next airlinemeals.net
Inflight Feed is not aiming to become the next airlinemeals.net, a photo community of travelers’ free or bought airline meals. Loukas, who still works in the airline catering industry, wants to create a more thorough resource on meal options available during air travel.
The site is a perfect fit for a mobile app, especially in a perfect world where travelers could place meal orders directly to their aircraft on the way to the airport. Unfortunately, Inflight Feed has no definitive plans to build an app at this time.
Nikos Loukas still works with catering companies that supply meals for airlines and trains cabin crews on inflight service and how to present the food. He also contributes regularly to The Daily Meal and airlinetrends.com.
Tags: food and drink