Some popular notions are hard to shake. Among the most stubborn worldwide are those related to airline meals, which call to mind the joke about the restaurant criticized for both its bad food and its small portions.
We were delighted, then, with Air Canada’s top rating in the respected Airline Food Study for 2019–2020 for North America by DietDetective.com and the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center. We shared top honours for healthiest airline for our Bistro offerings, and were praised both for our “serious health innovation” and for making food more available than most carriers. It was our second such recognition this past year, following an award for Outstanding Food Service by a Carrier in North America from the industry publication Pax International.
With often 120,000 or more customers flying Air Canada daily, providing healthy and satisfying food choices is a priority and a logistical challenge. We deal with 110 catering kitchens worldwide to serve up tens of thousands of meals each day. For those with particular dietary needs, we offer 18 special meals available by pre-order, including gluten-free, vegan and kosher options, as well as selections for our Hindu and Muslim customers. Fully stocked for a flight to Europe, the galleys on a Boeing 777-300 weigh nearly four tonnes.
For Premium customers, we have assembled a panel of celebrated Canadian chefs, including David Hawksworth, Antonio Park, Vikram Vij and sommelier Véronique Rivest. We are looking at expanding our Air Canada Signature Suite program, where international Premium customers can enjoy a five-star meal before boarding, as they currently do at our Toronto Global hub.
This spring, we will launch a redesigned international Economy Class meal service. We are introducing hot-towel service, new beverage selections including a sparkling-wine cocktail, a chef-inspired meal choice, healthier green salad, a separate dessert service, and yogurt and fruit for breakfast. And we look to improve further, for example through partnerships, such as that with Freshii, the Canadian fast-casual food company known for its nutritious offerings.
Innovation and continually improving our food options is central to Air Canada’s commitment to superior customer service, regardless of the class of travel selected. We not only wish you bon voyage, but also bon appétit.
Calin’s column appears every month in enRoute Magazine, Air Canada’s award-winning in-flight magazine found onboard all Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge and Air Canada Express flights. This edition is from the February 2020 issue.