Virgin Atlantic's clever new inflight meal tray

By Chris Chamberlin, June 13 2014

IN BRIEF | As part of a broader $168 million overhaul of Virgin Atlantic’s meal services, new custom-designed meal trays are set to save the airline millions.

At the heart of the design is optimal use of space. Virgin’s trays can be packed more tightly into a standard service trolley, reducing storage requirements by approximately 25 percent.

When each tray is removed for service from a flight attendant’s trolley, a small lip hooks on to the next container in the cart, queuing another up and leading to faster service.

Turbulence can render any perfectly-assembled airline meal an utter mess, so the new trays are also lined with rubber to help reduce this.

The purple cutlery is iconically Virgin, with security regulations preventing much innovation to the flatware.

In Upper Class – that’s business class, Virgin Atlantic style – a new two-tier tray snaps together in just 11 seconds and can support both a sandwich and a piece of cake.

Although simple, it saves flight attendants from making separate trips to deliver each course, and contribute to the overall weight reductions.

The savings are achieved through a reduction in the cost of goods, along with improved efficiency and less weight carried on each aircraft.

Each flight sees an average of 132kg trimmed from the aircraft, ever-so-slightly lowering carbon emissions at the same time.

For more details: Wired.com

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

I love how the words "Fresh" and "Tasty" are plastered over the salad and main meal packaging. Talk about the powers of persuasion! Classic Virgin Atlantic form over substance! LOL

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

Yes, they look good in typical VS fashion, but I'm sure the weight and space savings are worthwhile.  As for the food itself, I wouldn't have the foggiest.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Apr 2013

Total posts 147

I'm a big fan of VS and quite happily will continue to choose them for Y, Y+ and J over most UK carriers, but must confess... I'm NOT a big fan at all of their catering branding with words like 'slurp' and 'gulp' on their tea/coffee cups and 'tuck in!' on the napkins. I know they're trying to be a bit cheeky and sassy, but I think these words are a little crass and don't match their branding objective. But I guess if this is my only gripe about an airline, they're doing an awesome job.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

That small lip that attaches one tray to the next was around on QF years ago in Y/C,(the opaque plastic trays before the marc newson red/brown ones), and that design created problems because some trays attached while pulling the first tray out of the cart...then the laws of physics took over, as the second tray had no support under it, then unattaching and falling to the floor!  And the 'lip' isn't effective if the caterers don't place the trays in the cart 'attached', to begin with. These two factors meant crew took longer to get the trays out (checking each tray) and when required, safely unattached from subsequent trays...So due to crew 'feedback'..that design element was 'discontinued', and that type tray 'mishap' stopped....so hopefully VXs version is a better thought design :-)


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