Airport Food Delivery Trend Picks Up During Pandemic

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Transavia has taken airport delivery one step further, partnering with Just East to enable meal delivery directly to aircraft. Image via Transavia

Airport delivery services aren’t new – AtYourGate launched in March 2018 – but the trend has gained momentum as travelers avoid lining up at airport kiosks due to COVID-19.

Travelers may be venturing out, but they are apt to be anxious and wary about spending time in airport retail shops, food courts, restaurants and other high-traffic areas. The same technology available for ordering food and retail for curbside pickup or delivery in cities is now present in many airports.

In-Terminal Food Pickup

At Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), a new airport-wide program called LAX Order Now, makes it easier for passengers to use their mobile devices to order food for pickup at dozens of restaurants.

Grab and Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Airports (URW Airports) are partners in the program, which lets passengers order directly from the LAXOrderNow.com site or by scanning QR codes in the airport. Order updates and alerts are sent to customers, who pick up their sealed orders at designated locations in the terminals. 

The program expands on some services that were already in place, but the airport-wide marketing and streamlined online ordering experience makes it easier for passengers to find and use. Right now, the program offers pickup only, but in-terminal delivery is planned for the next year.     

“Partnering to keep people safe and healthy in the airport is key to restoring confidence in travel,” said Mike Salzman, EVP and group director, URW Airports, in a statement.

In-Terminal Food Delivery

AtYourGate, an app that allows passengers to have food delivered to them at the gate, is now available at 11 airports (JFK, LGA, EWR, BOS, MSP, SAN, SJC, ONT, PDX, SNA, and BUR), with another dozen launching this year.

The company has also partnered with Grab and has plans to work together in at least 55 airports, allowing passengers to choose between pickup or gate delivery. According to Livney, the first Grab/At Your Gate program will launch soon at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).

Food Delivery to the Plane

In a pilot program that bypasses airport concessions entirely, low-cost Transavia Airlines (part of the Air France-KLM group) is partnering with home food delivery service Just Eat to offer meal delivery to the plane.

Passengers on selected flights from Amsterdam are offered the option to use Just Eat’s platform to preorder a meal prepared by Dutch catering company iFleat. The meals are delivered to the plane by the Just Eat team, “after which the cabin crew serves the meals to the passengers,” Transavia said in a statement. “This reduces the number of crew contacts and enhances Transavia’s service with fresh and healthy meals whilst promoting safe and responsible conditions.”

In-Terminal Food and Retail Pickup and Delivery

A new partnership between e-commerce platform Grab and 3Sixty Duty Free now allows travelers to use their mobile devices to shop and order retail items for in-store pickup or gate delivery at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).

The partnership expands Grab’s service offerings beyond food to retail and gives both domestic and international passengers throughout the airport an alternate way to purchase duty-free products.

“International travel is virtually non-existent right now,” said Jeff Livney, chief experience officer at Grab, “but a lot of products in duty-free stores are available for purchase by any traveler. So, this expands the reach of duty paid.”

The program currently offers perfumes and cosmetics from 3Sixty Duty Free for touchless ordering, pickup or in-terminal delivery at DFW, but Livney said other duty paid categories, such as fashion, confectionary and local products will be added soon.

“We’re looking to expand the program with 3Sixty into other airports and to work with other retailers as well,” Livney said.

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