Air Canada has a great solution for ensuring business class passengers receive their first meal choice while also offering something of value in economy class: generously cater flights and then sell the extra meals behind the curtain.
A Genius Meal Service Concept For Business And Economy Class On Air Canada
I was pleasantly surprised on my Air Canada economy class flight from Los Angeles to Vancouver to be offered a hot meal for purchase from business class. This is not widely advertised and I have not seen it covered in other travel blogs. In fact, flight attendants did not mention it and it is also not listed on the bistro menu.
But on my IFE screen I saw an entry in the in-flight menu simply marked “meals.”
The way it works is that business class passengers are served their meal and any leftovers are sold in economy class. Breakfast costs C$9.00 while lunch or dinner costs C$13.50.
A flight attendant explained the process to me and asked her colleague if there were any meals left on my flight. There was chicken leftover (Air Canada usually has a meat and pasta choice in business class), which I gladly purchased.
The meal is served without a side salad, bread, or dessert (as would be true in business class), but was still hearty and quite tasty.
While the ability to pre-reserve meals is the best option, I particularly like this concept because it helps to ensure that all business class passengers receive their first choice of meal. By loading extra dishes, passengers in the last row of business class will rarely have to deal with the annoyance of one of the two choices no longer being available.
Air Canada’s meals for purchase in economy class is a great concept. These hot entrees are reasonably priced and give economy class passengers the chance to purchase a hearty meal onboard (we don’t all have time to eat before or between flights). Furthermore, this concept ensures that business class passengers (almost) always receive their first choice of meal.
Wow, so smart and can’t believe it hasn’t been done before! Pricing is reasonable too, I’d have thought they’d charge more of a premium.
For example, LAX-JFK, Delta One has catering from Jon & Vinny’s. The Meatballs and Garlic Bread are ~$20 at the restaurant and are a similar quality on the plane. If I’m not in D1, I’d happily pay $30 + to have that in coach.
Agreed…I think it would be such a winning concept on Alaska, American, Delta, and United. I’d pay $30 too.
Flew Delta One from LAX – HND in A350 Business Class and was so impressed with the Jon & Vinny’s catering, since I love the restaurant on Fairfax. Those meatballs with ricotta really hit the spot!
I would gladly pay for a good business class meal if I could choose one ahead of time. $30 would be fine if I could be assured that even if my upgrade did not clear I could still have good food.
If our US airlines did this, the FAs will just complain and reason that this increases chance of COVID transmission. lol
It is a smart idea. I always used to wonder why AA didn’t do this with the cookies they used to bake in first class. Make an extra dozen, then after the entire plane smells like cookies, walk through coach selling them for $8/each. Tastes better than a credit card application.
Ha! Or they could trade completed credit card applications for hot cookies!
Delta should consider this. A freshly baked cookie is worth about as much as their Skymiles anyway.
Yeah, but the amount of declined CC applications in the name of Mr. Cookie Monster would be crazy. 🙂
ANA also has a similar program to offer business class meals in the economy cabin. But they’re priced much more expensive.
Or even better yet – how about allowing J to pre-reserve AND allow Y to purchase in advance as a buy-on-board the way AA used to do? That seems like the best win-win. Business Class passengers are guaranteed the meal they want, AC’s ability to earn extra cash from buy-ups isn’t constrained by the number of unused meals, and it reduces waste to boot.
If that chicken dish is representative of what’s offered, I’d bet they could make some decent cash – I’d pay CAD 13.50 for that on a lunch or dinner flight.
Air Canada J class catering is pretty solid. Just had a lovely Veal Osso Bucco on risotto on one flight and a very nice beef tenderloin on the return over the weekend.
I’ve been using this feature for several years when upgrades don’t clear. For something like $20 +/- one could order a meal tray with a snack (such as a package of cashews) and a glass of wine. Then tuck in and watch the envious stares from the other plebs.
Interesting that it’s not on the Bistro menu any more. It used to be.
Great idea. But what happens when you’re in J and ask for thirds???
Ha! A natural way to cut off Matthew
They’ve been doing this for over 10 years
UA tri4d selling biz class grade meals in intl and transcon Y back in the late 2000s
Delta did a premium hot buy meal on transcons about 10 years ago
That picture of the chicken looks horrible lolllll
Really? It was a very tasty dish
I’m sorry. It looked a little bad but I’m sure I would have eaten it!
Pre Pandemic Air Canada would serve bread and butter with the hot meals in economy. I’m sure they’ll start again.
That would have been even better!
Just to let you know that J class passengers don’t always get their first choice for dinner. Flew recently on a long flight with lamb shank as one of the choices but as there were lots of top level fliers served first by the time it was my meal service choice the attendant apologized that they’d run out of some choices. Wasn’t happy to think I’d be stuck with pasta or vegetarian but amusingly she asked if lamb shank was OK. Was one of the best AC meals I had in a long time.
$13.50? No side dish, bread, or dessert? I might bring an MRE type meal minus the Flameless Ration Heater(a banned hazardous material) for the same cost. Entree, beverage powders, dessert(pound cake, cookie, wet fruit, dried fruit, or trail mix), pouch bread. So it isn’t warmed up, that hasn’t stopped me from eating before.
They simply copied what Thai Airways has been doing for at least the last 20 yeara…Which includes the chain Puff and Pie.
It’s been my go to for years! Especially the package deal with a snack and a glass of “premium” wine. For a dollar more over a regular small single portion-sized bottle of wine you end up with a bucket-size of the business class wine, which is usually much better and a better deal per oz that the booze at the back. Pick a cheese plate as a snack and you have pretty much the same meal as business. And yes, hot bread and butter are typically served with it.
The maple pancakes on morning flights are sure to get the envious scowls… at a fraction of an airport meal price.
I wish I read this before my flight yesterday. Would have poked around the IFE menu a little more. I figured it was just the usual array of snacks and basic wraps so didn’t even look.
This should work on every airline. The trouble is most would be too greedy and price them too high to make them attractive to Y passengers who tend to be a bit more price conscious.
We don’t have enough oven space for the 16 to 24 fc entrees and bread. Airlines have ripped the galleys out to add more seats. I don’t think other US carriers could possibly have the oven space to cook extra meals. Often inorder to warm the bread we have to remove 300 degree racks from the oven to add bread and then try to rotate meals in and out so nothing gets cold. It’s really a mess to try having warm bread and a hot entree on some aircraft.
This is a load of crap just flew A and couldn’t even get a overpriced meal as they don’t stock enough was fully disappointed and will bring my own next time
Was that CAD?
$15-20, yes. $30 with no side dishes? Ehh, no!
They have been doing this for years.
It was on the menu the last time I flew.
I have never seen any available after about 5 rows into economy though as they sell out.
The simple way to find out is simply to ask if there are any J Class meals available for purchase.
Missing the sides does suck, what I hate even more is not getting silverware, glassware or china.
Interesting. You would think Air Canada might expand this if the meals constantly ran out in the first few rows of economy class.
I’m going to be hated for this, but think about this from another angle… it’s an inconsistent product offering for Economy Class. Let’s say you take the same flight every week and sit in the same seat, sometimes you’ll be able to get a “leftover” meal and other times you won’t. Is a false expectation being created in Economy Class or an impression that Economy Class is second class and gets catered with leftovers? This is a brand and product issue and only the VPs at AC can really decide if they’re slapping their Economy customers in the face with this inconsistency. And then of course you’ve got dishware and crockery from First Class making an appearance in the Economy cabin.
Just throwing these things out there – I worked behind the scenes for an airline with responsibility for onboard product and these are actual issues you discuss. For some middle eastern airlines, their brand is everything so this would never, ever fly. But to make a quick buck, sure, this works in some places…
Yeah, they’ve done this for years and historically haven’t advertised it much. Their hilariously tired, though still decent (except that weird sweet cottage cheese) breakfast is also sold in Coach. It is, indeed, a good idea for the reasons you mentioned. I’ve rarely seen AC run out of options in North American J
This sounds like Oliver to me that you have to pay for (more please sir) sorry no way
Well, it’s not a bad price for a business class meal.
This isn’t a new concept for AC. Selling business class casseroles (if available) to economy has been happening for many years. The option has always been in print on the “bistro menus” but maybe new on the IFE screen. I am glad you like this, but it isn’t new. Cheers
Austrian (pre-Covid) was the best at this -the ability to preorder Do&Co meals in economy at fair prices. I tried it once in intra-Europe J also for the Schnitzel – it was excellent.
Having it in the IFE is nice. I wonder if you have to wait until J has fully ordered before it shows up? What used to be the case is that if you asked for the hot meal the flight attendant would bring back a copy of the menu with all the good stuff scratched out with pen and then you’d decide whether you wanted to buy the vegetarian pasta…
Stop calling it leftovers and call it remaining unpurchased meals instead. The other way sounds like they’re scraping plates and selling it to steerage.
I think people get the point. “Unpurchased” is also not the correct word since meals are not purchased in business class.
My, my. Air Canada has hired middle-managers who can actually THINK? What a revolution.
The price is just nice. I would buy the business class meals. No doubt. Innovative idea from Air Canada.
And after all that flying u convieniently forget to mention the price to cattle class! Did u get a free meal,points? U had me sucked in like it was informative until u missed the elephant in the room. Good advert for what was a terrible standard meal the last time I flew with this lot.
The price? For the food? It’s 11.99CAD.