Whine Wednesdays: Cold Inflight Meals In Premium Cabins (Crew Doesn’t Pre-Heat The Plates Properly)


Our Whine Wednesday this week is about Inflight Meals that sometimes reach the passenger in cold condition because the crew doesn’t follow the pre-designed steps for preparation.

Crews have detailed instructions of how to prepare each meal in First and Business Class, and that often includes pre-heating the plates for the main dish (especially for meat dishes).

Until a friend of mine who works for Austrian Airlines as a Flying Chef showed me the paperwork they get for each flight how to prepare the meals, I never knew what detailed work it is to serve the passengers in Business (or First) Class on various airlines.

During my last flight with Lufthansa from Haneda they served a Beef Filet in Business Class which was not only remarkable, considering Lufthansa’s usual offerings, but also pretty good in flavor. The only downside: It was almost cold when it got served.

I asked my friend how that is possible and if the crew takes too much time or lets the dishes sit around for too long. His answer was surprising to me: This happens when the crew doesn’t pre-heat the plates like they’re supposed to. The reason is that they don’t want to handle the hot plates when serving the passengers. This leads to the dishes, especially meat cooling down quite rapidly. He said that the flying chefs get asked frequently by the cabin crew to NOT heat the plates and he always refuses because of guaranteed complaints by the passengers.


My suspicion that it’s the fault of the crew as to why the dishes arrive cold was actually correct (well, who else could be at fault so not that difficult to make a correct guess here) but the reason was totally different than what I thought.

I wonder why cabin crew just can’t follow the protocol that the airline has introduced for the First- and Business Class meal service. To get another opinion, I asked another acquaintance of mine who is actually a Lufthansa flight attendant and she said “we don’t really have time to pre-heat the plates”. I guess that says it all if the crew can get away with that attitude during the flight without the purser doing a quality control.

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