Friday, December 9, 2011

Watching the Detective

While he may not be saying all the things the airlines want to hear, Charles Stuart Platkin, aka, the Diet Detective deserves some credit for doggedness in his pursuit of healthy airline food.

Last week, the Detective released the results of his annual survey of airline buy-on-board offerings in economy class for North America. The results have popped up in media around the country.

For both the level of cooperation and menu, our neighbors to the north, Air Canada (I can hear the cheering the the Toronto office of PAX) scored the highest for its Onboard Cafe. He was impressed with the airline’s approach to its food service offering and the information it provides to the passenger about each of the products. The Detective was also impressed with Air Canada's association with Food With a Conscience

In the survey, Platkin breaks down airline offerings piece by piece with calorie counts, best bets for healthy snacking and the amount of exercise needed to burn off each of the meals.

He gives high marks to Virgin America, and a few props to US Airways, while chiding most of the other carriers for one transgression or another.

What I noticed in his extensive research was the amazing variety that can now be found in the carrier’s buy on board offerings. They all serve a few items that could appeal to the health conscious. The choice is there for the buying. For as much research as the Diet Detective undertook, airlines undertake more. Before boarding any of these products, they are thoroughly vetted and focus-grouped.

Airlines also have to deal with something that the Diet Detective and his readers do not – that is waste. Healthy, fresh offerings are an important addition to the menu. They also have a shelf life that must be closely followed.  If they don’t get sold, the airline loses money and the product is wasted. 

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