It is possible to dine in five-star luxury while travelling at 600 miles
per hour, six miles above the surface of the earth.
Like passenger railroads and cruise lines, the first commercial
airlines catered specifically to wealthier classes.
These customers demanded the finest service and were willing to
pay the price.
En-route meals served two purposes: stay the hunger and pass
As technology advanced, so did the catering
Inflight catering presented a unique set of challenges
for the cooks and crew serving the food.
The first airline meals were served by Handley Page
Transport on 11 October 1919.
Airlines catering is defined as the highly
specialized skill, technology and quality oriented
food catering for the airline passengers and the
crew members with a greater emphasis on hygiene
aspects and just in time production.
This also involves an intricate planning regarding
loading and off loading, the flight time schedules,
lay offs and the movement and management of
Airlines catering is different from restaurant
Flight kitchen production is a typical form of mass catering, but has
some unique features distinct from food preparation in restaurants
The time difference between food production in the flight
kitchen and finally serving it on board an aircraft with limited
kitchen facilities makes flight catering a high-risk food
Major factors affecting the hygienic quality of the food are the size
of the operation, the complexity of the in-flight service, the number
of airlines catered for, the number of flights serviced during the day
and the duration of the flights to be serviced.
1) Hygiene is a very important factor in any kind of food production
but as far as airlines catering is concerned, it assumes a much
more importance and entire production schedule is designed as per
the HACCP requirements.
2) Any food poisoning case can become critical as food is
consumed miles above the ground where immediate medical help
will not reach.
3)There is no opportunity of deviation or scope of flexibility as far as
airlines catering is concerned as far as the weight and the
presentation of the dishes are concerned. They are all pre – set
and must be strictly adhered to. There is wide opportunity in the
restaurant catering to deviate and innovate.
4) Time is another important aspect to be kept in mind. The food
production is not the only task to be accomplished…………it must
be cooled, packed, loaded and then carried to the aircraft….all
before the scheduled time of departure of the flight.
In1914, the world's first
scheduled passenger airline
service took off, operating
between St. Petersburg and
On planes, the on-board
‘meals’ were basic and were
only intended for the crew.
There was a lack of space, weight was limited and, before the
invention of the pressurised cabin, consuming bottled drinks
proved to be a dangerous business!
The development of the aeronautical industry, combined with
advances in the food industry, revolutionised airline food.
On-board catering was initially the privilege of the wealthy social
classes who could afford to travel in the new modes of transport.
The first airline meals were served by Handley Page
Transport on 11 October 1919 from London to Paris
In the 1930s, passenger transport developed on a massive scale
and on-board catering became a necessity.
In the United States, United American had fully
fitted kitchens built in the airports they served, while Pan
American served meals prepared by renowned restaurants and
hotels located nearby.
The meals were kept warm in isothermal boxes until it was time to
Drinks in aluminium cans soon replaced bottles, because they
were lighter and could withstand changes in pressure.
In 1936, with the development of the DC-3, the first airplane
galley was introduced by American Airlines.- no electrical
power available for heating foods or beverages, all hot foods and
liquids were boarded at ready-to-serve temperatures and held in
Around 1945, Pan American worked together with Clarence
Birdseye and Maxson Company to create the convection oven,
which would allow frozen foods to be heated on board the aircraft.
Soon afterward, the microwave oven was developed; it has since
become the industry standard in aircraft food service preparation.
The first meal trays were served on pillows on passengers' laps,
until trays have been developed with lids that would serve to
elevate the food in front of the passengers. Finally, foldout service
trays were installed in the seat backs.
The key players in Flight Catering-
LSG Sky Chefs,
Do & Co,
Emirates Flight Catering,
Cathay Pacific Airways
Flying food Group LLC,
Saudi Airlines Catering
Royal In-Flight Catering.
AVML- ASIAN VEGETARIAN MEAL
The AVML is a vegetarian meal that normally includes spices and
flavours from India. It will usually contain vegetables, fresh fruit,
dried fruits, legumes, dairy products, tofu, cereal, grains and
vegetarian gelatine. There is no meat, fish or eggs and it’s suitable
for vegetarians who would prefer a spicy Indian style vegetarian
BBML- Baby/Infant Meal
The BBML or Baby Meal can be ordered for infants under 2 years
of age (depending on the airline, some airlines will only supply the
BBML to an infant up to 10 months only) and will normally consist
of pre-packaged baby meal products. It do not contain solid foods,
meat with bones, spicy foods, wheat, gluten, fish, eggs, acidic fruit,
BLML- Bland meal
The Bland Meal should be ordered by those who suffer from stomach or
intestinal problems. These special meals will normally contain foods that
are easily digested, soft to eat and with limited spices. Normally bland
meals do not include garlic, onions, cabbage and cauliflower, spices
(such as black pepper or chilli), fried and fatty foods etc. They may
contain grilled lean white meat, fish, cooked vegetables and fruits,
poached eggs, egg white omelette and low-fat dairy products.
DBML- Diabetic meal
The Diabetic Meal should be ordered by those who suffer from diabetes
(high sugar levels). It’s a low sugar meal that contains minimal salt, low-
fat products, grilled white meat, high fibre fruits and vegetables, cereals
and diabetic friendly products like sugar-free jam. It does not contain
refined sugar (only certain permitted sugar substitutes may be used),
processed meats, fried foods, sweetened dairy products, cream-based
sauces and canned fruits.
FPML- Fruit Platter Meal
The FPML may be ordered by people who are fasting, or perhaps
vegan/gluten-free options are not available and this special meal
fits the requirement. Generally, the FPML will contain fresh
seasonal fruit only, and it may contain dried fruit without sulphites.
GFML- Gluten Free Meal
The GFML is designed for those who suffer from celiac disease or
can’t tolerate gluten in their diet. Grains such as wheat, rye, oats,
bran and barley are eliminated from these special meals. Your
gluten-free special meal may consist of: meat, poultry, fish, rice,
fruits and vegetables, corn, potatoes, dairy products, chocolate,
dried beans and peas, salt and pepper, herbs and spices, sugars
HNML- Hindu Non- Vegetarian Meal
The HNML is a meal for people which follow Hindu custom. Meals
are non-vegetarian and cooked Indian style. Generally the Hindu
meal will contain lamb, chicken, fish, eggs, pulses, starches, milk
and dairy products. The meal will not contain veal, beef,
KSML- Kosher Meal
The Kosher Meal is a meal where the food is chosen, prepared and
served in accordance with Jewish religious guidelines. The
meals are packaged in double wrapping which allows the meals to
be heated in the aircraft oven that is non-kosher. Kosher meals will
feature meat from animals that have split hooves and chew the
cud, fish will have fins and scales. Expect items such as Poultry,
Beef, Lamb, Liver, Sweet Bread, Eggs, Cheese and Dairy
LCML- Low Calorie Meal
The LCML is a meal of low levels of calories and suited to people
who are on a low-calorie diet. Some airlines aim to have no more
than 400 calories per meal, but this will vary from airline to airline. It
may contain lean meats such as white oily fish and poultry
alongside low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables, complex
carbohydrates, with most foods steamed or poached.
LFML- Low Fat Meal
The LFML is a meal of limited fat and cholesterol suited to people
who wish to follow a low-fat restricted diet. Low-fat dairy products
will form part of this meal, as will rice, potatoes, fish, lean meats,
egg whites, cottage cheese, margarine, cereals, wholegrain bread
and fruit. The low-fat meal will not usually contain: egg yolks, fatty
meats, milk, cream, cheese, fried or oily food, offal, seafood, fish
roe, caviar, processed foods, or additives.
LSML- Low Salt Meal
The LSML or Low Salt meal is suited for people with high blood
pressure, heart disease, fluid retention or kidney problems. No salt
will be used during the preparation of food, and airlines try to avoid
using food that contains added salt. Expect to receive a meal that
includes: Raw vegetables, crackers, pasta, lean meat, diet
margarine, high- fibre bread, salads and fruit.
MOML- Muslim Meal
The MOML is a meal that is prepared in accordance with the
Islamic tradition and custom. No Haram (forbidden) products will be
used in these meals including pork products, gelatine, alcohol,
extracted flavouring from alcohol and non-halal prepared meats.
Expect to receive a variety of meals possibly containing: Fish,
chicken, lamb, vegetables, eggs, fruit and dairy products.
NLML- Non Lactose Meal
The NLNL is a lactose-free meal for people who are allergic or
intolerant to milk and milk products, or those suffering from low
lactose levels. Meals do not contain any milk, cheese, egg, yoghurt,
butter, biscuits, cakes, ice cream, instant soups, breaded
vegetables and meat, omelettes and crepes. Instead the offering
may include meat, chicken, fresh vegetables, cereals, lactose-free
fruit, soya milk and non-dairy products.
RVML- Raw Vegetarian Meal
The RVML is a meal consisting of only raw fruits and vegetables.
The meal does not contain any processed foods, meats, eggs,
dairy, additives, caffeine products or preservatives. Meals can
include salads, vegetable juices and raw fruits/vegetables.
SFML- Seafood Meal
The SFML is a meal option for passengers who wish to only eat
seafood. These types of meals are becoming rarer on most airlines
worldwide, it’s an expensive special meal to create and not always
offered. The meal will not include any meat at all, only fish or
shellfish, and it’s generally a Western-style dish (depending on the
airline). The seafood will normally be served with potatoes and
vegetables, and carbohydrates.
VGML- Vegetarian Meal
The VGML is a meal option for passengers who wish to consume
meals free of animal products. Vegans and vegetarians can order
this option on their next flight, it is quite a standard meal option that
is widely available for you to pre-order.
VJML- Vegetarian Jain meal
The VJML is a meal option for passengers who are part of the Jain
community. Meals are prepared with Indian condiments and are
usually spicy. Jain meals don’t contain any onion, garlic or other
root vegetables or animal products and by-products. The meals will
contain fresh fruit and vegetables that grow above the ground, this
meal is also a good alternative for vegans if the VGML meal is not
available to be booked.
VLML- Vegetarian Lacto ovo Meal
The VLML is a vegetarian special meal with the addition of eggs
and dairy. It does not contain any meat or meat products, fish,
poultry or products with lard or gelatine. This special meal is suited
to people who do not eat any meat what so ever but eat cheese
and milk products. Meals may include butter, cheese, milk, ice
cream, eggs, soya and soya products, all fruits and vegetables,
legumes, pulses, dried beans, herbs, spices and oil.
VOML- Vegetarian Oriental Meal
The VOML or vegetarian oriental meal is a vegetarian special meal
for passengers who prefer an oriental style meal. It won’t contain
any animal products, animal-derived ingredients, eggs, or dairy
products. It will, however, include fruits/vegetables, rice, noodles
and grains. Some airlines will cook this type of special meal with
First Class service is typically the priciest
of the classes.
Passengers seating in the first-class
section have more comfortable seating
and are often given extravagant services.
These sections are usually occupied by
celebrities and wealthy passengers.
First-class seats vary from large reclining seats with more
legroom and width than other classes to suites with a fully
reclining seat, workstation and TV surrounded by privacy
Normally AVOD (audiovisual on demand) entertainment is offered,
although sometimes normal films, television programs and
interactive games are provided on medium-large seat-back or
armrest-mounted flat panel monitors.
Especially for long-haul and high-yielding routes on top airlines, a
first-class seat may have facilities akin to a five-star hotel, such as
First-class passengers usually have at least one lavatory for their
exclusive use, with more than one on larger planes.
Business- and economy-class passengers are not normally
permitted in the first-class cabin.
Business class (also known as executive class) flight tickets are
also expensive, but much more affordable than first class. The
difference between the two is that business class has fewer perks,
but for a passenger that fly’s economy regularly, this is not an
issue. Some airlines have abandoned first class seating for this
Economy Class cabins are broken down into two categories.
“Regular Economy” and “Premium Economy.”
Economy Class seating is the most basic of accommodations.
Economy passengers receive standard service with no real perks.
Economy services range from airline to airline, but essentially,
you’re flying Economy (also known as flying coach) to get from
point A to point B.
Premium Economy is slightly better Economy Class seating, but
must less extravagant than Business Class or First Class. The
name ranges with each airline, but the biggest difference between
regular and premium is the spacing of the seating and the quantity
of menu items available to you.
But the average person is unaware that there may be over 40,000 separate items loaded onto a Boeing 747 (popularly known as the jumbo jet). This load occupies 60 m2 and weighs six tonnes and the loading time may be less than 50 minutes.
Like passenger railroads and cruise lines, the first commercial airlines catered specifically to wealthier classes. These customers demanded the finest service and were willing to pay the price.
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point. HACCP is an internationally recognized system for reducing the risk of safety hazards in food.
2) * Again, say, for instance, the pilot and the co – pilot gets affected by the food………who’ll fly the aircraft to safety!!!!!!! Thus, one needs to be more careful as far as airlines catering is concerned.
In a restaurant, there might be food delays and it can be compensated for in many ways………….but will an airliner company delay its flight just because the caterer could not reach the food on time………
. The St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line was a short-lived endeavor — only four months — but it paved the way for today's daily transcontinental flights.
The Douglas DC-3 is a propeller-driven airliner which had a lasting effect on the airline industry in the 1930s/1940s and World War II
A convection oven (also known as a fan-assisted oven or simply a fan oven) is an oven that has fans to circulate air around food,
Gategroup is a Swiss company providing services to the travel industry, including catering, onboard retail, food service provisioning, and food logistics.
Newrest Group International S.A.S- france
LSG Sky Chefs- Lufthansa- Germany
DO & CO Aktiengesellschaft is an Austrian catering company, headquartered in Vienna
SATS Ltd., commonly abbreviated as SATS is the chief ground-handling and in-flight catering service provider at Singapore Changi Airport.
Flying food Group LLC- Chicago, USA
Royal In-Flight Catering- Osaka, Japan
Poaching is a cooking technique that involves cooking by submerging food in a liquid, such as water, milk, stock or wine.
Veal is the meat of calves
“Kosher” is a term used to describe food that complies with the strict dietary standards of traditional Jewish law
Cud is a portion of food that returns from a ruminant's stomach to the mouth to be chewed for the second time