Emirates rolls out smartphone-based meal ordering

By David Flynn, March 16 2017
Emirates rolls out smartphone-based meal ordering

Emirates is turning to smartphones to streamline the inflight dining experience for business class travellers.

The system is currently being trialled on three routes – Dubai-Melbourne-Auckland, Dubai-Paris and Dubai–Mauritius – and will be rolled out across Emirates' Airbus A380 fleet by the end of April, with the Boeing 777s following by the end of May.

What Emirates refers to as 'Meal Ordering Devices' are Samsung Galaxy A7 smartphones, locked down so that they boot straight into a bespoke app built for Emirates on which the business class cabin crew take meal and drink orders.

Each order is instantly beamed back via WiFi – across a seperate WiFi network to that used by passengers – to a tablet located in the galley so that the order can be immediately prepared.

With as many as 76 business class passengers on an Emirates A380, the technology is proving to be a significant time-saver in keeping those premium passengers fed and watered – as well as ensuring what they're served is precisely what they ordered, without slip-ups.

It's all about "making service faster, more efficient and more personal," explains Terry Daly, Emirates' Divisional Senior Vice President for Service Delivery.

The MOD app can also record and display individual meal preferences, dietary notes and other information about each passenger.

"Providing our customers with the best onboard service has always been our top priority and we provide our cabin crew with the right tools, knowledge and information to do a world-class job" Daly tells Australian Business Traveller.

[Images in this article are courtesy of PaddleYourOwnKanoo.com]


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 378

At first I thought you could use your own phone. If they have to provide another device, wouldn't a better option be to have it built into the IFE system? I have seen other airlines do this.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Aug 2016

Total posts 55

not sure why they would not add this IFE instead as well ^ surely much more streamlined for the passenger?

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 56

I agree, having a crew member take your order is very nice and personal but doesn't Emirates have 'dine on demand' in which case putting everything on the IFE screen so you could order whenever you want makes more sense.

24 Mar 2015

Total posts 19

"With as many as 76 business class passengers on an Emirates A380, the technology is proving to be a significant time-saver in keeping those premium passengers feed and watered"

Fed and watered...

25 Jan 2012

Total posts 30

I would assume integrating into the IFE system would be somewhat time consuming and expensive. Would require upgrades to the system, and testing etc. Also if IFE in a seat stops working, so does your ordering system. It would be however a much cleaner system from a passenger perspective.

Simply developing a basic app and scattering out a few phones is a cheap, easy and more importantly quick process. One would assume they would have a few spares on each flight as well in case of problems.

I would be more interested in the practicallity of managing these devices. IE stopping them from "walking" off the planes with passengers, being lost inside and under seats and managing to keep them all charged. I would assume they would have to offload them with each flight and reload a new set as there probably would be sufficient time to recharge between some flights.

22 Feb 2017

Total posts 5

I think people are significantly under estimating the cost and what's involved in getting the third party IFE system to be upgraded to support something like this.

I heard on the grapevine once that it can takes months just to get a quote on time and what it could cost to make changes.

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

18 Jul 2011

Total posts 7

I think some of you are misunderstanding this. The crew still take your order, they just do it on the device rather then on a piece of paper. Your order is then received instantly in the galley to speed things up. Having it on the IFE would be unpractical, as people would probably way over order and there is only limited quantities of everything. Plus, you'd have no interaction with the crew. How boring have we become that we'd rather order meals on a screen rather then via human contact?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1380

Yes. Thought it was fairly obvious that this was a staff device - just speeding up the process of transmitting food (and drink) orders.

That said no reason why a similar system built into the IFE could enable pax to make their own orders (although think that this would be more a PE/Y system)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Jul 2015

Total posts 7

I experienced this on my recent DXB-MEL flight. As it was their first go it took longer than the paper method so it didn't seem to streamline anything. And for the breakfast order they were back to pen and paper... I'm sure it will improve over time!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Mar 2017

Total posts 15

I have to admit I had misread the article. 
"...the business class cabin crew take meal and drink orders".

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