With premium economy soft product Delta poses sustainability questionsRunway Girl

Delta Air Lines is shaking up the Premium Select Soft product as it reviews its Premium Economy cabin’s amenities, with new amenity kits and sustainable tableware that repositions the cabin – and its level of premium look, feel and experience .

A primary goal is to spice up the dining service and bring back a level of premium feel to the dining experience that has been lost in recent years.

Runway Girl Network had the opportunity to check out the new Premium Select tableware – including new entrees and side/entree dishes made from bagasse, a material made from sugarcane fibers that is a popular more sustainable alternative to waxed cardboard or plastic – at the recent RedCabin Summit in Atlanta.

According to RGN, the issues relate to some sort of downgrade in premium meal capacity as the premium economy product rolls out across Delta’s fleet.

Essentially, Premium Select debuted on newer aircraft But as planes later converted, the airline encountered galley space issues and eventually settled on a different model, serving something a little much closer to Premium Select the doggie dish dinner model of the main cabin meal, as RGN employee Jason Rabinowitz recently found out. Pandemic sourcing, deployment, and security measures also increased complexity.

An exhibition of tableware from Delta Air Lines.

The Premium Select menu (ATL-ICN version left) is a revision of the previous plan to serve Delta One dishes. Image: John Walton

As a result, Delta is attempting to create a premium feel and set it apart from the Main Cabin while still being able to produce it on aircraft with lower galley capacity.

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“Customers are served their entrees on bagasse plates made from sugar cane fiber, with linen dishes and napkins, silverware and glassware,” says Delta.

A closeup of a meal on a Delta flight in Premium Economy,

The new dishes are served in bowls made from bagasse, a more sustainable material. Image: Delta

Calling these “plates” feels like a stretch — they’re on edge, with the look and feel of takeout food trays, and they’re served via a new trapezoidal tray charger.

Printed menus, reviewed by RGN, are a nice touch. Helpfully, each menu also provides a QR code that links a more complete menu, changing monthly. The more extensive menu also includes details on beverage service, which is clever: for passengers unaccustomed to Premium Select service, it’s helpful to know what’s available.

Sustainable table linen for Delta Premium Economy

Could information about the new bagasse food trays be printed on knife and fork packaging? Image: John Walton

Indeed, Delta promises, “They will enjoy more specialized service touchpoints throughout the flight, such as: B. A special “Bubbles and Bites” moment with sparkling wine, water and a special treat shortly after take-off, as well as a premium snack basket.”

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Meals, according to the airline, include a “braised beef rib with hash browns and Dijon green pepper jus; Impossible Meatballs with polenta, pomodorini sauce, and broccolini; Honey Harissa Chicken Thighs with Jollof Rice and Steamed Vegetables; and for dessert mango mousse with mango and passion fruit compote.”

The menu card RGN reviewed for Atlanta-Seoul Incheon included a choice of herb fried chicken, four cheese ravioli, or beef bulgogi, while the online version featured a chicken country captain, chicken bulgogi, and a vegetarian option with Georgia vegetables contained. (In this case, perhaps we can forgive “chicken or hen” because both the southern-style stew and the Korean bulgogi sound delicious.) Dessert was a sundae.

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New Amenity Kits – Smaller, more vertical version of the socially responsible Anyone anywhere Kits in Delta One, which are very nice – complete the offer.

Delta Premium Select Amenity Kits.

The new Premium Select focused amenity kits continue the Someone Somewhere partnership. Image: Delta Air Lines

Overall, the move is positive and one that uniquely addresses a consistency and positioning issue for Delta.


A key question is how to respond to these bagasse food trays from a sustainability perspective. Aviation’s sustainability priority is and clearly must be weight reduction on board the aircraft, and these trays are definitely lighter than china. But are they Premium enough to differentiate Premium Select?

Many airlines are dealing with the issue in order to set sustainability goals. Adding context on how to “show sustainable” can be insightful, as some more sustainable things in our lives come with a cost and value premium, while others can feel cheapened as greenwashing in the name of sustainability.

Delta’s menus don’t emphasize the sustainability of the bagasse, which looks and feels more like a cardboard snack box experience than a premium cabin would expect. Is there something Delta can do with them to make them feel more premium, colorize or co-brand them to emphasize their sustainability, or just mention them on menus to demonstrate that’s not the case? only a cost-cutting exercise?

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Selected image is attributed to Delta Air Lines

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