If you’re anything like me, you spend an awful lot of time during your holiday thinking about food. It’s sort of an obsession – should I go for a la carte or al fresco, will I dare to try some crazy local delicacies, is it OK to spend half my budget at restaurants… food is constantly on my mind! But is airline food something any of us think about a lot? Do any of us really look forward to it or is plane food too much like plain food?
Monarch was keen to find out what customers thought about this when we started overhauling the menu late last year. Our in-flight catering team keeps a close eye on customer and crew feedback about meals and uses the compliments and criticisms to improve the menu on a regular basis. So logically, the first thing we did when we launched a review of our menu was to ask customers what they thought of our current menu.
After considering responses to our regular customer service questionnaires, we also commissioned a major research project. We set up a ‘food jury’ which consisted of people who had recently flown on Monarch and our competitor airlines and gave them extensive surveys to find out in great detail what they thought of airline food. Next we surveyed our crew to get their feedback about the kinds of meals which were popular onboard, which were easy to prepare and to present in an appealing way.
Now, it may not come as a surprise to you, but the feedback from several months of research showed travellers had very low expectations about airline food. It turns out that passengers are often disappointed by in-flight meals and don’t see it as something to look forward to… no matter which airline they flew with (which made us feel a little bit better!)
Armed with this knowledge, we decided to make some significant changes to our menu for scheduled flights. We consulted professional restaurant chefs and product suppliers who sought out a range of new foods which could bring some pizzazz to our meals and offer good value for money for travellers. The experts offered us a new ‘café style’ menu, with lots of high quality, tasty and healthy options to choose from, including paninis, freshly squeezed juices and delicious desserts.
Sample menus were taste-tested by our food jury to make sure they would appeal to a broad range of tastes and dietary requirements. If the jury didn’t like certain items, they were rejected and replaced by alternatives. The finalised selections were then ‘road tested’ in the air by chefs and Monarch key cabin crew. Tweaks were made based on feedback from these trials, then the menus retested, finalised then launched on 1 July.
Although we’ve done a lot of research, we’re not resting on our laurels. We’re constantly refining and improving our menu based on your feedback. Back by popular demand, our hot breakfast option has been reinstated onboard our scheduled flights. We’re also pleased to have received a lot of compliments about our paninis and toasties, with hundreds of thousands of them flying off the trollies this year.
Want to learn more about our in-flight meals? Discover a mouth-watering range of meals and snacks on board our flights and order now, at the discounted online rate of £7.99 or £8.99! Meals can be ordered up to 24 hours before departure.
If we stacked all the cups of tea we sell on board in a year, they would reach over 15,000 metres high – or around 49,000 ft – higher than a commercial aircraft can fly!
Have you flown on a scheduled flight with Monarch this year? Have you pre-ordered a meal and compared the old and new menus? We’d love to know what you think of the new range. What are your favourite items? What do you think we should keep/discard/bring back/add? Let us know in the comments below.