Looking to create a restaurant-style dining experience at 30,000 feet and change the concept of “airplane food,” LATAM Airlines has launched a first-of-its-kind dining concept for economy class passengers that includes multiple cuisine choices typically seen in business class and a sleek, square tray design.
Passengers on international flights longer than seven hours have three options for lunch or dinner that showcase Latin American and international cuisine — one hot meat option, one vegetarian option, and one lighter fare option served cold — and two breakfast choices, one sweet and one savory. Passengers are given paper menus that list the flight’s selections, just like business class passengers.
With the introduction of 300 new dishes featuring locally-sourced ingredients, Latin America’s largest airline has also tossed traditional trays in favor of thin, lightweight, charcoal gray trays that include a slot for utensils and feature a circular indent to keep food from sliding.
The main courses — like slow-cooked beef brisket with corn pudding, sautéed asparagus, and cherry tomatoes; spinach-ricotta cannelloni with creamy saffron sauce and roasted red pepper coulis; and roast chicken cold plate with quinoa bites, fava beans, and mixed greens with yogurt-sesame dressing — are served on a round dish roughly the size of a dinner plate that offers up to 50 percent more food. Desserts — like pre-packaged Havannets, a pointy, dome-shaped Argentinian dulce de leche sandwich enrobed in milk chocolate, and Oveja Negre, a round, chocolate dulce de leche treat — are served separately after the meal, just like at a restaurant.
“At LATAM, we believe that onboard dining is one of the best ways that we can demonstrate to our passengers that we care for them and that we want them to enjoy the best possible travel experience,” said Claudia Sender, the airline’s senior vice president for clients.
The new dining concept was developed over 16 months with Amsterdam-based Gategroup Innovation Centre, which is the same group behind Norwegian Air’s Mini Bar Box, an in-flight DIY gin and tonic kit, and the food offerings on Joon, Air France’s new airline for millennials that offers organic food like fruit smoothies, cappuccinos, and craft beers served by casually dressed airline crew.
LATAM Airlines worked with its 34 kitchens around the world to ensure consistency in food prep and presentation. To accommodate the new, larger dish size, flight attendants now heat the food in two cycles. The airline also retrofitted its service carts, and the lightweight trays, made of recycled products, help reduce fuel consumption.
The new dining program is currently available onboard flights to and from Chile and will be introduced throughout the airline group’s international network by the end of 2017, serving an average of 14,000 passengers on 64 flights each day.