22 MAR 2018: Mention WardAir and Canadian travellers of a certain generation go all sentimental and googly-eyed. They rhapsodize about “leg-room” and “fillet steaks on porcelain plates – in coach’. But WardAir has gone – a distant memory. It’s gone the way of all airlines who promoted that unusual concept of customer comfort. And with them has also gone reasonably edible airline food. I am utterly convinced that if someone were to create a political party that ran on just one issue – improving airline food - she or he would take the next election in a walkover, no matter how many tight-fitting suits his or her opponent has in his wardrobe.  

And it’s doable – it was proved to me on an Air Dolomiti flight on a CRJ from Milan Malpensa to Munich. The flight lasted all of an hour, and they served up a breakfast of fresh croissants with smoked salmon, a bowl of berries and yogurt, and excellent coffee. Served in china cups, not disposables. We had similar service and quality on an SAS flight from Frankfurt to Copenhagen. In coach!

If they can do that in Europe, why not here?

I am reminded of a trip we took to Cape Town a few years ago. “Let’s order something lighter,” said my ever-loving. “Those rubber-chicken dinners sit on the bottom of your stomach like lead weights for the full duration of the flight – and we’re flying for eight hours and then 12 hours more. So, we ordered fruit meals.

Well, what can I say…. Lufthansa took off from Toronto and the cabin crew brought out our dinner, nicely presented (well, as nicely as one can present any meal in an airline meal-tray). Slices of cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple, orange, all decorated with maraschino cherries and accompanied with a refrigerated bread roll. Dessert was…. Fruit. A banana to be precise.

So far, so … tolerable.

Next morning they presented us with breakfast. A sliced orange, sliced cantaloupe, a banana. Yoghurt. And a refrigerated bread roll.

Then we boarded the overnight flight to Cape Town. Dinner was served. Slices of cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple, orange, all decorated with maraschino cherries and accompanied with a refrigerated bread roll. (There was a theme developing here).

And for dessert…. A banana.

And as the sun came up over the South African bush the following morning, bathing the acacia trees in that golden African light, they brought out breakfast. A sliced orange, sliced cantaloupe, a banana. Yoghurt. With a refrigerated bread roll on the side.

What can I say … for the first few days of our stay in Cape Town we were awfully regular! But we logged into Sabre at first opportunity and changed our fruit platter order for rubber chicken for the return flights home!

 

 

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Derrick Bloch

A regular contributer to Travel Industry Today, Derrick has been recognized by National Geographic Traveler as one of the top 80 travel agents in North America. 

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