Just over two months ago I broke the news about JetBlue‘s trial offer of fresh food on board some transcon routes. And, thanks to a work trip out to California last week, I finally got to try some of them for myself. I was a bit concerned that they would sell out before getting to me (I was way back in row 20) so I spoke with one of the flight attendants prior to departure to make sure that I’d be able to get one of everything. He assured me that I’d be fine and he was right. I suppose the 2pm departure out of JFK meant most had eaten lunch before getting on board which probably helped a bit on that front.
Here’s what (most of) the menu looks like on board; I left out the breakfast part (fruit cup, half a turkey & swiss croissant & muffin) because that food wasn’t offered on my flight.
I’m not a huge quinoa fan so I passed on that option. I also was a bit worried that eating four meals might be just a step too far, even for me, so that’s the one I chose to skip. Not too much later I was presented with my bounty:
First up in the taste-test was the fruit & yogurt.
I’m not a huge fan of Greek yogurt unless it has been mixed into a blend approximating tzatziki, so the straight-up flavor hit was a bit strong to me. I understand that Greek yogurt is supposed to have that “bite” to it so I’m calling that a win, even if it isn’t a flavor I go out of my way to enjoy. Mixing in the apples at the bottom of the cup and the granola definitely helped there, too. The fruit cup – the first of two I had en route – was also pretty good. The bottom layer is all pineapple and I didn’t have a blender, rum and ice so that’s a miss in my book but the watermelon, strawberries and grapes were fresh/ripe and tasted great.
A short while later I was ready for more so I tucked in to the roast beef & cheddar sandwich on pretzel bread.
I had very, very, very high expectations on this one, mostly because I LOVE pretzel rolls and they’re something of an in-flight treat for me; I only ever have them at an airport or flying. The meat and cheese were good. I picked the onions off (not a huge fan) and they were still crunchy, which is good. The bread, however, having been refrigerated, hadn’t come back to room temperature yet and softened up the way I’m used to enjoying my pretzel rolls, even eating it an hour after it was delivered to my seat. That was a bit of disappointment. I was also somewhat surprised that there were no condiments included in the pack. The menu says the sandwich has some mayo on it but I didn’t taste any. I’d prefer a spicy brown mustard packet which I could add to the sandwich myself. Even mayo would’ve been ok. Or split the difference with a dijonaise packet. It needed a bit more flavor. The fruit cup was the same as in the yogurt; nothing different to report there.
Finally, a couple hours later, I was ready to try the antipasto/tapas box:
Much like quinoa, I’m not a huge hummus fan. And I kept telling myself that all of the sodium in the pack was in the hummus that I wasn’t eating in hopes of convincing myself that it was actually OK to be eating the other bits of the pack. I know that’s probably not true, but 1700+ milligrams of sodium in a snack box is pretty ridiculous. Of course, the meat was quite tasty so made up for that – or because of that – I suppose. The veggies were fresh/crisp as they should be and the little wedge of cheese was just fine. The “pita bread” was flat, not pockets, and tasted a bit more like tortilla than pita to me. I’d love to see this version of the bread swapped out for real pitas or a toasted/crispy cracker of some sort for scooping the hummus (assuming I was going to eat it).
This was also the only of the snacks which I had a bit of trouble figuring out how to eat. I made a platter by deconstructing the box and that worked out OK in the end but without that it would’ve been a bit of a challenge. I wonder how the salad is presented and if that would present a similar scenario.
In all three cases I felt the portion size was reasonable for the price. None were huge but all were filling and appropriate for what they were.
The new meal service does change the post-departure sequence of events up a bit. The FAs do one pass through the aisle selling headsets & pillows, just like before. The next pass offers up the meal for purchase, a third pass is for drinks and then, finally, a pass with the free snack baskets. That does slow things down on the regular snacks a bit, but on a 4-6 hour flight it isn’t really enough to be too worried about. And the food was pretty darn good. I have a couple minor nits to pick with the offerings but overall I was quite pleased with the meals. Definitely fresh.
I do wish it were a bit more healthy though.
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