If you dread eating another standard complementary meal typically served in the economy class cabin on a US Airways flight to Europe, the Middle East and South America, you may be in luck: for only US$19.99, you can order one of two chilled meals, both of which include a glass of wine.
The options are as follows, according to the descriptions posted by US Airways:
Citrus-Marinated Chicken Skewers
This chilled meal includes citrus-marinated chicken skewers on Mediterranean orzo topped with mango chutney, served with lavosh crackers, classic shrimp cocktail, marinated grilled vegetables and crème brûlée cheesecake with fresh berries. A complimentary glass of wine is included with this meal.
Vegetarian Portobello Mushroom Tortellini
This chilled vegetarian meal features hearty Portobello tortellini marinated in sun-dried tomato pesto, served with Caprese salad, lavosh crackers, olives, a duo of hummus and baba ganoush and turtle cheesecake with fresh berries. A complimentary glass of wine is included with this meal.
Passengers who prefer not to purchase these meals can still choose from the two standard complimentary meals on international flights operated by US Airways, or you can order a special meal in advance based on religious restrictions, vegetarian options or medical restrictions, as well as for infants and children.
The chilled premium meals may be delicious, but quite frankly, I would rather save the $20.00 for something else and have one of the standard hot meals. A meal of chicken breast with thyme honey sauce with Caprese salad, multi-grain roll and double chocolate brownie sounds quite appetizing to me, as well as an arrival snack of a cranberry-orange flat top muffin. While I realize that part of the $20.00 goes towards the convenience of having a premium meal aboard an aircraft, I would rather use it towards a delicious hot meal in a restaurant — or even towards purchasing groceries when I am home.
Bizarrely, I usually enjoy meals served aboard aircraft while in flight even though I am quite the finicky eater — yet I simply cannot get into premium meals and snacks. They usually have at least one element which I do not care to consume, such as cheese or wine, and they are usually fairly expensive. For example, Delta Air Lines charges $3.00 for a container of original Pringles potato crisps. I can purchase a larger can of Pringles at the local supermarket for less than half the price.
If you are looking to save money on a premium meal, forget it: I do not drink wine, yet US Airways will not deduct the cost of the wine from the purchase. If you already ordered a meal and you are upgraded to Envoy class within 24 hours of the flight, your order cannot be canceled but you will still receive the meal. You cannot purchase a premium meal and still dine on a complimentary standard meal on the same flight.
If you do not like the meal, if your flight is canceled, or if you are involuntarily “bumped” from the flight, you are entitled to a full refund after the flight has been completed, as no refunds are available on-board the aircraft. However, if you voluntarily change flights within 24 hours of the scheduled departure of the flight on which you were originally a passenger, you will receive neither your meal nor a refund. In other words, forget about your meal or your money: they are permanently gone.
Don’t get me wrong — US Airways should be encouraged to offer more options to its passengers. There will be passengers on US Airways who will absolutely enjoy the taste and convenience of premium meals and believe that they are worth every penny. Although the premium meal choices do sound good to me, I will skip the premium meal and go with the standard meal in the economy class cabin because for me, it is less risky, less trouble and less expensive overall.
Would you order a premium meal from US Airways if you are a passenger in the economy class cabin of a US Airways flight to Europe, the Middle East and South America? Please post your comments below.