Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles
Reload this Page >

Delta policy regarding special meals in FC

Delta policy regarding special meals in FC

Old Sep 5, 18, 2:54 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Boston, MA, USA
Programs: DL GM, UA 1P, AA GLD
Posts: 1,962
Delta policy regarding special meals in FC

Having recently been upgraded on a long-haul flight, I moved quickly to make a VGML meal choice online, since it cannot be stored in advance in the case of upgrade. I recently learned four things from this experience.

1) Even if VGML is stored as a personal preference in the delta.com profile, it is not automatically loaded for meal choice if one is upgraded. It is Delta's policy to require manual selection of a special meal at least 24 hours in advance. This cannot be done automatically.
2) As in my case, my upgrade came at 24 hours. 1 minute later, the option to select the special meal was gone. "Specials meals are ordered only if the deadline is met."
3) I asked for the non-entree items from the meal when I declined the entree. I was not allowed to have these until everyone else was served. "Based on availability, the flight attendant should offer the non-entrée items, as the flight assistant did, but this is the exception because extra may not always be available because the non-entrée is served with the entree."
4) I used to carry paper vouchers from Delta for free snack boxes. I didn't have any on me. I asked for a vegetarian snack box from coach. I had to pay for it. "If the deadline is not met [for ordering a special meal], even if only by two minutes, any meals purchased in-flight are at the passenger’s expense. This has always been the policy and a boxed vegetarian meal from coach is not offered in lieu of for free.

I hope that this information is useful for those who are unable to pre-select special meals and are debating on purchasing food in the airport or playing the entree choice lottery.
sowalsky is offline  
Old Sep 5, 18, 3:51 pm
  #2  
pvn
Suspended
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: MEM
Programs: Starbucks Green Card
Posts: 5,431
Originally Posted by sowalsky View Post
3) I asked for the non-entree items from the meal when I declined the entree. I was not allowed to have these until everyone else was served. "Based on availability, the flight attendant should offer the non-entrée items, as the flight assistant did, but this is the exception because extra may not always be available because the non-entrée is served with the entree."
This is a pretty absurd policy. Obviously if you're in this situation again the correct move is to order the meal you want the non-entree items from and then after you make the selection tell the FA to hold the main and bring the rest.
pvn is offline  
Old Sep 5, 18, 4:17 pm
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 23,764
Yeah, this doesn't make any sense at all. They wouldn't give you the tray with the salad (probably veg), soup (probably veg) and appetizer (probably non-veg)?!? Isn't there also usually one veg entree on the regular menu?

I would have also just ordered whatever entree, and then dropped it on the floor in the aisle. Oops, I guess I'll just have to eat the non-entree items!

But really just sounds like an idiotic flight attendant.
ijgordon is offline  
Old Sep 5, 18, 5:37 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Programs: DL DM, SPG Plat 100/LT Gold, Marriott Plat, National Executive Elite
Posts: 2,438
Where are the quotes from? A reply in an email from DL CS?

I've never had a DL FA charge me for a snack box from coach. Ever ever. Not sure the actual policy but they have tons of discretion, in practice.

One issue is that it states most special meals can be ordered up to 6 hours before departure on the app. This is false. It's 24 hours for every flight and every meal. They have not updated this and I've called them on it before many times already
btonkid12345 is offline  
Old Sep 5, 18, 6:06 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Programs: DL GM, Bonvoy Gold
Posts: 7,954
Of course there would be non-entree items available as you were a F pax. I don't understand that, I think you just had a confused FA. Perhaps the FA thought that you wanted extra items in addition to the non-entree items that would have come with your meal, to make up for not getting an entree? Like, sometimes there is extra bread or an extra dessert etc.
jdrtravel is offline  
Old Sep 5, 18, 7:42 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Programs: DL PM, HH Diamond, Marriott Plat, AA, WP
Posts: 764
That is just poor customer service. It might be right in the letter of the rule, but certainly not when you are trying to provide a service to someone you want to be a repeat customer. Oh wait, that's building loyalty.

However, my wife flew transcon a few days ago and did not order a meal in first, and she totally understood that meant they did not load a vegetarian meal for her, but the FA in F got her a tapas box from the cart and delivered it gratis. It made her happy, which made me happy, which means we fly DL some more!
MSPeconomist and sowalsky like this.
daloosh is offline  
Old Sep 5, 18, 9:04 pm
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: ATL
Programs: DL Scattered Smothered Covered Medallion, Some hotel & car stuff, Kroger Plus Card
Posts: 10,169
Yeah this seems really silly on DL's part - especially the non entree bit.

One question for OP - a long haul flight is mentioned, so there would be meals in Y also. Did you have VGML requested for your coach seat already?

In theory, that request should transfer with you when you get the UG (though perhaps DL IT isn't up to the task). And if truly past the catering cutoff, then they would have loaded a Y VGML that you could still receive while seated in J. But all of this would probably make too much sense...
gooselee is offline  
Old Sep 5, 18, 11:56 pm
  #8  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 86,518
Some carriers--I don't know DL policy on this--refuse to serve coach meals to FC passengers because they think it looks bad or cheapens the FC experience.
MSPeconomist is offline  
Old Sep 14, 18, 3:53 pm
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Boston, MA, USA
Programs: DL GM, UA 1P, AA GLD
Posts: 1,962
Originally Posted by btonkid12345 View Post
Where are the quotes from? A reply in an email from DL CS?

I've never had a DL FA charge me for a snack box from coach. Ever ever. Not sure the actual policy but they have tons of discretion, in practice.

One issue is that it states most special meals can be ordered up to 6 hours before departure on the app. This is false. It's 24 hours for every flight and every meal. They have not updated this and I've called them on it before many times already
Yes, the quotes are from an email reply from DL CS.
sowalsky is offline  
Old Sep 14, 18, 3:55 pm
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Boston, MA, USA
Programs: DL GM, UA 1P, AA GLD
Posts: 1,962
Originally Posted by gooselee View Post
Yeah this seems really silly on DL's part - especially the non entree bit.

One question for OP - a long haul flight is mentioned, so there would be meals in Y also. Did you have VGML requested for your coach seat already?

In theory, that request should transfer with you when you get the UG (though perhaps DL IT isn't up to the task). And if truly past the catering cutoff, then they would have loaded a Y VGML that you could still receive while seated in J. But all of this would probably make too much sense...
Great question.
Long haul was to HNL, which means meal service in FC but not Y.
So there was never an opportunity to request VGML for the coach booking.
sowalsky is offline  
Old Sep 14, 18, 3:57 pm
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Boston, MA, USA
Programs: DL GM, UA 1P, AA GLD
Posts: 1,962
Originally Posted by jdrtravel View Post
Of course there would be non-entree items available as you were a F pax. I don't understand that, I think you just had a confused FA. Perhaps the FA thought that you wanted extra items in addition to the non-entree items that would have come with your meal, to make up for not getting an entree? Like, sometimes there is extra bread or an extra dessert etc.
No, the head FA didn't want to serve me at all. The appetizer was a simple salad and indeed was vegetarian.
sowalsky is offline  
Old Sep 14, 18, 4:13 pm
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Hilton Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: San Antonio
Programs: DL DM, Former AA EXP now AY Plat, NW Plat, Former CO Gold, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 17,406
Originally Posted by sowalsky View Post
Great question.
Long haul was to HNL, which means meal service in FC but not Y.
So there was never an opportunity to request VGML for the coach booking.
Long-haul to HNL gets meals in Y. The short/medium haul west coast flights dont.
flyerCO is offline  
Old Sep 14, 18, 4:26 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Programs: DL Diamond 1MM, UX Suma Gold, Marriott Bonvoy™️ Gold, Hilton Gold, Avis Preferred, Hertz PC
Posts: 3,496
Originally Posted by sowalsky View Post
No, the head FA didn't want to serve me at all. The appetizer was a simple salad and indeed was vegetarian.
My guess in this case is that you identified yourself as needing a vegetarian meal, and the FA was unable to find the ingredient/allergen information for the meal - thereby was unwilling to serve a meal that they couldn’t 100% verify met your dietary restrictions
(even if the meal visually appeared fine).

In the future, simply declining the entree and asking for the tray without it so you can assess the suitability of the items - or accepting the full meal and eating around the meat items, if your beliefs allow you to do that, would likely be more effective.

Another possibility: this is a bit of an awkward situation because, for some vegetarians, they object to meat being prepared on their behalf, not just the consumption - but for a flight, meals are catered for everyone onboard whether they are wanted or not, and the leftovers are simply going to go to waste. Preordering in advance solves this, but otherwise the only way to avoid the meat dish being prepared for you on day of departure if that’s your belief system is probably to decline the upgrade. It’s also possible the F/A in this case was trying to offer you air cover by treating the whole meal as a single unit - that way you could believe the entree would plausibly be served to someone else and was not intended for you, thus making you not responsible for meat waste...
BenA is offline  
Old Sep 14, 18, 5:27 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Huntsville, AL
Programs: DL FO 1.4MM, Hilton Diamond, IHG Platinum, Avis CHM.
Posts: 7,167
Originally Posted by sowalsky View Post
4) I used to carry paper vouchers from Delta for free snack boxes.
I didn't know these existed these days......
DiverDave is offline  
Old Sep 14, 18, 6:19 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 118
I’ve gotten a tray sans the entree on several occasions, I’ve never been refused one. I’m having trouble believing (3) is accurate. The bigger issue though is, as often than not, Delta’s vegetarian meals are inedible. On a recent flight ATL - PUJ, I was served a sandwich consisting of a stale ciabatta, a sad looking lettuce leaf, and a few slices of squash. No cheese, no condiments, no flavor. On the return flight three days later, they didn’t even load my requested veg meal. I did get a handful of skypesos after submitting a complaint - and actually even got a call from Delta customer service. I don’t know why they even bother offering a lacto-ovo vegetarian option given how often they fill it with a full vegan meal.
levman is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: