United Airlines Reservations: Two Seats or a Table for Two?

Posted June 12, 2008 by Nicki Krawczyk

Gourmetairlinefood_2 That saying about “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” is definitely not true, as evidenced by personal experience: More than a few past dates could best be subtitled “He’s Just Not That Into You … Even Though He Loves Your Pumpkin Ravioli.”


Well, if good food can’t necessarily be counted on to elicit love, it may at least make you an eensy bit happier if you’re strapped into a capsule with a hundred strangers hurtling through the atmosphere. (Note to self — is there anything useful in this scenario for future dates?) I’m referring, of course, to air travel and a new trend toward … drum roll … gourmet in-flight meals.

Uh-huh, I’m serious. And believe you me, as someone who just can never get enough food, this is one exciting development. Where previously the best you could expect of tray-table-tastiness was a bag of pretzels (maybe), airlines like United are pulling in top chefs to dial up the dining pleasure. The good news? We’re talking succulent delights like apricot curry-braised lamb medallions with Israeli couscous and spicy roasted eggplant. The bad news? You can kiss the couscous bye-bye if you’re not heading overseas. This taste-bud tempting meal is only being offered on select international flights.

Let’s go back to the good news. If you are, in fact, flying internationally, you’ve got quite a smorgasbord of gourmet airline meal options. Might I, perhaps, interest you in lobster thermidor aboard Singapore Airlines? Can I tempt you with Swiss escalope guinea fowl with air dried beef and sage on Lufthansa? Or perhaps you’ll be partial to Scandinavian Airlines’ “humanskost”, which sounds suspiciously like Soylent Green but is apparently traditional Scandinavian fare. (I almost regret writing that. I fear that now there’s an executive somewhere scheming to save money by serving up the coach passengers to the first-class ones.)

Speaking of in-plane class consciousness, bear in mind that some of these uber-fabulous meals will only be available to those willing to fork over a private school education’s-worth of lettuce to fly first class. So if you’re planning on taking advantage of one of these gourmet meals, the fine-print rule is in effect. As in: Read it. It’s also a good idea to call ahead and make sure there will be meals enough for all, meals that satisfy your dietary requirements and meals, period. If your airline should, perish the thought, discontinue the program without notifying you, it’s dollars to donuts that you’re not going to be a happy camper on your 18-hour flight to inner Siberia.

Of course, should you just happen to be sitting next to a charming fellow jet-setter such as myself, all you’d have to do is flirt a little, bat those baby blues and I’d gladly share my emergency granola bar and snack mix. But … well … you’ll call me after we land, right? Right?

<Sigh> What a sap.

(Photo: mensvogue.com)

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