Singapore Airlines plans 'dine on demand' meals in business class

Adopting 'dine on demand' alongside Book The Cook would see business class passengers spoiled for choice.

By David Flynn, September 26 2019

Singapore Airlines is considering introducing a ‘dine on demand’ meal service in business class, and Executive Traveller understands that trials are anticipated to be held in the first half of 2020.

The opportunity to select anything off the menu at any time during the flight would be offered alongside the airline’s popular Book The Cook service, which lets passengers pre-order their meal from a far more extensive menu than is offered on the flight.

“Singapore Airlines is always looking to evolve the meal service inflight, whether it be a flexible dining approach or a (full) dine on demand approach, and passengers are telling us this maybe is something that we should be working towards,” Singapore Airlines Director of F&B Antony McNeil tells Executive Traveller.

However, “we need to make sure that we hit all the right spots first,” McNeil adds.

This includes making sure that the cabin crew – who are tasked with quite literally delivering the ‘dine on demand’ concept – are confident they can support the increased activity without reducing their high level of passenger service.

“We (will) take that on hand with our customer insight team, with our cabin crew, to make sure that we have the right approach,” McNeil says. “We want to make sure that the crews are comfortable in every step of the process, that we have their buy-in, and that our passengers receive the right level of service.”

Relatively few airlines offer dine on demand in business class, with Qatar Airways considered the benchmark for combining the “eat what you want, when you want” approach with an extensive à la carte menu.

Singapore Airlines is looking at a lighter, healthier version of its popular lobster.
Singapore Airlines is looking at a lighter, healthier version of its popular lobster.

Business travellers generally prefer this more flexible approach to dining, as eating to their own schedule rather than an airline-decreed timetable opens up the ability to tailor more of the journey to their own needs rather than fitting their sleeping, working and relaxation time around the meal service.

However, the downside is that while you might be trying to sleep, the cabin crew could be ratting around set your neighbour up for a four-course dinner.

McNeil also flagged that a refresh of the Book The Cook service, which Singapore Airlines launched in 1998, could see the iconic lobster thermidor make way for a ‘modernised’ version in line with changing tastes.

“Like everything, the Book The Cook programme evolves. The lobster thermidor is a perennial favourite but we're looking at opportunities to modernise that, whether it be a lobster thermidor-type of dish or something similar and lobster- themed which is a little bit more modern, a little bit more healthy perhaps.”

“People like lobster, but we're moving to an environment where people are becoming more health-conscious so maybe the creamy lobster dish is not the right one… maybe a beautiful grilled lobster with fresh asparagus or veggies might be another alternative, as long as we maintain the integrity of the dish."

That said, McNair allowed that even if Singapore Airlines moved to a lighter lobster dish, the classic Lobster Thermidor "may pop up in the future as a guest dish appearance."

David

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.

Jedinak K

Jedinak K

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Sep 2012

Total posts 213

I hope they can learn from and replicate the procedure and standardS that QR has for their 'Dine on Demand', which is second to none.

Muzza2702

Muzza2702

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2017

Total posts 1

I agree Qatar do it so well

AsiaBizTraveller

AsiaBizTraveller

20 Nov 2015

Total posts 71

This is very sensible, SQ has excellent catering and dine-on-demand is the logical next step. On many of the SQ flights I have been on the crew are fine to serve you anything from the menu any time during the flight, within reason, as long as you give them time to heat up the meal, but this would formalise that arrangement. Hint: if you are flying in SQ business class and want a certain dish but don't want it served in the main meal service shortly after take-off, let the crew know so they can put that dish aside for you.

Mikana

Mikana

UA

09 Mar 2016

Total posts 28

Dine-on-demand would be great, though I do find crew usually quite happy to be a bit flexible about meal service times. Even better would be a wider assortment of small dishes, hot and cold, available at any time, not forcing me to wake for full breakfast service two hours before touchdown on red eye services, and more extensive Book the Cook menus out of stations like MEL. IMO Lobster Thermidor is fuddy-duddy and an insult to a good lobster.

Dolly

Dolly

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

24 Jan 2013

Total posts 11

PLEASE dont change the lobster thermidor. Business class travel is supposed to be special not boring.

bl812

bl812

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 184

sensible approach since Qatar does it-will sample them in a week time to Europe flying back with SQ but sadly only book the cook option till next year.it's a bit weird that SQ has a much wider selection on the SIN-ADL leg than on the FRA-SIN-why is that?? Not even lobster from FRA!-anyone tried the suckling piglet?

Brandon Loo

Brandon Loo

10 Jul 2018

Total posts 82

Singapore Airlines naturally has the biggest Book the Cook selection on flights departing from Singapore – I think there were more than 50 options at the last count.

The selections on flights departing from 'outstations' really depends on what the catering kitchen can do at each port. I noticed that business class flights out of Perth have a much more substantial Book the Cook menu (inc. lobster thermidor) than flights out of Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.

CityRail

CityRail

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

17 Nov 2014

Total posts 94

It should have happened ages ago. I always wonder why Singapore Airlines want us to dine at a specific time when it is inconvenient and sometimes I prefer sleeping rather than spending 3 hours dining.

kevrosmith

kevrosmith

20 Jul 2011

Total posts 18

Oh I didn't realise they didn't offer dine-on-demand officially! My last flights to EWR and back from SFO, the crew were very flexible with serving my J book-the-cook meals at a time that worked for me.


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