Air Canada is set to introduce a new dining concept on its international business class flights, taking inspiration from Singapore Airlines’ “Book the Cook” service, according to an Air Canada VP in a recent interview with Executive Traveller. This will hopefully represent a significant improvement over their current offering, where advanced meal selection is constrained to an onboard menu.
What is Book the Cook?
“Book the Cook” is a service offered by Singapore Airlines where passengers are able to pre-select their meals from an extensive menu before their flight. This allows passengers to enjoy a wider variety of dishes beyond the standard in-flight menu offerings. The pre-selected meal is then specially prepared and reserved for the passenger.
In practice, other airlines let premium passengers (as well as economy passengers with dietary restrictions) order meals prior to their flights, but Singapore’s offering is generally much wider.
Air Canada’s Book the Cook ambitions
Air Canada’s new service will let passengers order from an array of dishes days ahead of the flight, which will include Korean, Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Latin American cuisines, alongside familiar North American classics. The airline has yet to specify a launch date for this service.
Mark Nasr, Air Canada’s VP of Marketing and Digital, shared the vision behind this initiative with Executive Traveller: “Currently, we prepare around 14 to 16 Signature Class dishes for different international routes daily, catering to European, Asian, and other tastes. But why should a curry only be available on flights to India? We see this as a chance to embrace a global palate.”
Given that Singapore’s premium dining model enhances passenger experience and reduces waste by optimizing meal loading, it’s likely that other airlines haven’t adopted the practice due to the substantial operational complexity of preparing a larger selection of dishes on the ground.
That said, I’m excited Air Canada is taking on the challenge. In the past, I’ve found the airline’s food lackluster so I hope this represents a step change in the quality of its catering.