Is Delta Bringing Back Inflight Catering This Spring?

Delta Air Lines has signed a new long-term catering contract with DO & CO. The catering agreement, which will go into effect from March of 2021, will cover all of Delta’s daily departures out of Detroit.

Delta’s partnership with DO & CO

Delta Air Lines and DO & CO signed a long-term catering contract agreement that will go into effect on March 16th, 2021. The agreement will make DO & CO the airline’s sole hub caterer out of Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) on all of Delta’s short and long-haul flights for the next 10 years.

DO & CO billed the measure as showing the catering company’s strength and is a decisive milestone in the company’s US expansion plans. DO & CO will be able to, and appears to be gearing up to, participate in Delta’s upcoming hub tenders in 2021.

DO & CO Catering

DO & CO has partnerships with over 60 airlines around the world. This includes some of the world’s leading airlines, such as British Airways, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, and more. DO & CO also provides on-the-ground catering at select lounges, including Lufthansa’s First Class lounge. DO & CO also offers a Flying Chef service. This can be found on carriers like Turkish Airlines and Austrian Airlines.

DO & CO is well-known as one of the world’s best catering companies for inflight services.

Is full inflight catering coming back?

Delta has been one of the most conservative airlines when it comes to meal service. On domestic flights, including premium transcontinental flights, in business class, Delta is only serving a snack box. This snack box, previously offered for sale in economy, can also be found on domestic and short-haul international Delta and Delta Connection flights in premium cabins that would previously have offered a meal service.

The one set of flights where Delta is offering a more substantial catering service is on long-haul operations. As Simple Flying got a chance to review Delta One between São Paulo and Atlanta, Delta has consolidated meal services with a focus on efficiency and minimizing contact between flight attendants and passengers. All meals are served on a single tray, and not a long, drawn-out meal service such as was previously offered on long-haul operations in Delta One.

Delta does not seem to be changing its course. The airline has extended seat blocking through March 2021, though it is likely that will be closer to when Delta ends its policy of blocking seats onboard aircraft. It is thus likely to expect a full meal service will not be on offer in March.

However, this could be the start of Delta upgrading its long-haul international meal services. Before the crisis hit, Delta Air Lines launched a new economy experience for long-haul flights. With a more efficient meal service likely to be around in March and beyond for at least the foreseeable future, Delta seems to be pivoting to upgrading those services, so it can compete effectively on long-haul routes and keep lucrative business travelers coming back.

Detroit is one of Delta’s gateways to Asia, with flights to Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Amsterdam, Paris, Nagoya, and more. So, with this new catering contract, those flights will likely benefit with enhanced catering compared to other hubs.

Time will reveal what Delta will do with this DO & CO partnership, but this is something to look out for in the future.


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