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Emirates Trials Pre-Ordered Meal Service to Cut Down on Waste

Starting next Tuesday, Emirates business class passengers can pre-book their onboard meals between two weeks and 24 hours before departure

by Lauren Smith

July 19, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of Emirates

Business Class passengers traveling between Dubai and London on Emirates will soon be able to pre-order their meals in a trial of a new service the airline hopes will increase customer satisfaction and reduce food waste.

The first customers to benefit from Emirates’ new meal ordering service will be Business Class passengers on flights between Dubai (DXB) and London’s Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW), and Stansted (STN) airports.

Starting July 25, travelers can now pre-order their hot main meals by browsing the menu on the Emirates website or app. They can select their meal between 14 days and 24 hours before their departure.

Photo: Courtesy of Emirates

Once the plane is airborne and the meal service has begun, Emirates cabin crew will use a custom-built app on their devices to view passengers’ meal selection and serve it. Other meal components, including appetizers and desserts, will continue to be ordered aboard the flight.

Emirates says the pre-ordering service will guarantee passengers receive the entrees of their choice while reducing food waste. Pre-ordering will also give the airline data about customer preferences, to be analyzed by AI and used to facilitate meal planning and optimize food loading.

Emirates says it will help create a “premium ‘restaurant in the sky’ inflight dining experience” while saving the airline money and helping it meet sustainability goals.

Photo: Business Class, Boeing 777. Courtesy of Emirates.

Emirates will gather customer feedback about the pre-ordering service and, if it’s successful, will roll it out across other routes and cabin classes.

The Gulf carrier is hardly the first to introduce meal pre-ordering, which is seen as an easy way for airlines to trim meal costs and food waste while pleasing travelers. Lufthansa now allows passengers in all classes on European routes to pre-order fresh meals. At the same time, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways have recently resumed their pre-ordering services after pausing them during the pandemic.

British Airways is also trialing an expansion of the pre-ordering service to all classes and not just its Club World (business class) and World Traveller Plus (premium economy) cabins. However, the expanded service is initially offered to passengers in transit between London and New York (JFK).