Each week, my Meal of the Week feature examines an airline meal from my travels over the years. This may be a meal from earlier in the week or it may be a meal served over a decade ago.
One of the last relics of the “golden era” of flying is the dessert cart, which still offers business and first class passengers a smorgasbord of delectable cheeses, fruit, and sweets. Many airlines still serve appetizers and main courses from a cabin trolley as well. Sadly, that may be a permanent casualty of the pandemic.
It may not be as hygienic, but there is something special about a cart rolling down the aisle with a selection of appetizers, main courses, and especially dessert and coffee.
In the pre-1978 era of regulation, carriers could not compete on price so they competed on service. Most offered premium class passengers lobster, shrimp, carved roasts, and succulent side dishes. All was served from a cart. Those days are long gone, but up until the pandemic many airlines still offered vestiges of that in-flight cuisine heyday by still using carts for all or part of the meal service.
I’ve included a handful of examples below.
Austrian offered appetizers and desserts from via a cart covered in white linen with giant silver serving utensils:
EgyptAir served main courses, desserts, and coffee from a cart:
Lufthansa’s famous caviar service plus appetizers and desserts were served via cart:
Pakistan International Airlines offered a true buffet of choices from its cart:
Royal Air Maroc offered main courses, cheese, and dessert from a cart:
Royal Jordanian offed main courses and desserts from a trolley:
SAS offered appetizers, main courses, desserts, and breakfast from a trolley:
SWISS offered appetizers from a trolley in first class:
Turkish, until recently, still served all courses from a cart in longhaul business class:
United still offered its signature ice cream sundae service from a cart:
Lufthansa Offers Us A Sliver Of Hope
Lufthansa updated its catering guidelines this week and announced that there would be no changes to first class dining. I haven’t flown Lufthansa yet to report whether that means the trolleys remain, but I suspect (fear) that caviar will still be available, but served individually. Hopefully I’m wrong.
I’m not necessarily complaining that carts may disappear onboard airplanes (it may be the better alternative). But if they do, it will truly mark the end of an era.
Do you prefer meal service by cart or personally delivered to your seat?
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