Tried-and-True: Delta Debuts Bistro-Style International Economy-Cabin Service


A taste of Georgia, home to Delta Air Lines, in the carrier’s new peach-Bellini welcome cocktail. All images: Delta Air Lines

After testing an enhanced main cabin service on over 1,200 flights, Delta is expanding the offering to all international flights of at least 6.5 hours, and select shorter international flights where Delta One or Delta Premium Select is offered.

Delta Air Lines is rolling out an international main cabin experience that includes a welcome cocktail, hot-towel service and bistro-style dining. The ideas largely came from a design team of 20 flight attendants who’ve been testing and refining the experience to get it just right. One detail, such as the peach nectar in the Bellini that is served after reaching cruising altitude, is a nod to Delta’s Georgia roots.

“It’s important for us to invest in all of our customers, no matter where they sit on the plane.” – Perry Cantarutti, Delta Air Lines and APEX board member

“It’s important for us to invest in all of our customers, no matter where they sit on the plane,” said Perry Cantarutti, senior vice-president of Alliances, Delta Air Lines, who also sits on the APEX Board of Directors.

Delta international main cabin service
Twenty flight attendants formed the team that rethought Delta’s new international main cabin experience.

The  meal service also encourages mixing and matching as if one were dining out. Passengers may choose to upgrade their appetizers to the Harissa shrimp, for example, or choose larger entrĂ©es. The main meal is followed by dessert and a choice of complimentary coffee, tea wine or water.

The old meal trays have been replaced with custom dinnerware made from biomaterials, and a sleek placemat that skips the need to wrap plastic around the cutlery, which has also been upgraded. “Airlines [are focusing] on more sustainable solutions,” said Cantarutti. “For example, with our refreshed amenity kits, we’ve [also] removed plastic wrappers as an effort to eliminate single-use plastics.”

Delta’s bistro-style dining explained.

Additionally, Delta will be offering an “anytime” snack basket after the main meal service. Customers can choose from a rotating selection of sweet and savory snacks including Cheez-It crackers, Tillamook cheese, Oreos, Kind bars and the airline’s signature Biscoff cookies. And there’s more. Upon descent, customers will be offered chocolates for a sweet ending to their experience.

The international main cabin service has been tested on more than 1,200 flights over the past year, making it one of the airline’s longest-tested. Based on the customer satisfaction scores the airline has received so far, Delta says it seems passengers are enjoying the new experience.

“How we make every customer feel across their travel journey is extremely important to us,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s senior vice-president of In-Flight Service. “That’s why our team designed this new service through the eyes of our customers – putting their ideas into action and giving them a delightful experience that exceeds their expectations. We want every customer, no matter where they sit on the flight, to know how much they’re appreciated.”

With additional reporting from APEX’s director of Marketing and Communications, Robin Applebaum.

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