Continental Airlines has introduced new first-class menus on flights throughout the United States, Canada and to select Latin American and Caribbean destinations.“Our customers want healthy, comfort food so we are serving newly designed sandwiches and soups with more salads and fresh fruit,” said Continental’s Executive Chef Siegfried Lang. “In addition to the new first-class menus, we are still the only major airline to continue to serve complimentary meals at mealtimes in coach class.”
To maintain Continental’s award-winning product and service, most recently ranked by Conde Nast Traveler readers as the number one U.S. carrier for domestic first class service, the company continuously reviews and updates its menus worldwide. The new menus are a result of an intense six-month development process overseen by Continental’s Executive Chef and aided by its Congress of Chefs, who created the meals incorporating feedback from customers and several employee taste-testing sessions. Continental’s chefs periodically prepare dishes onboard flights as part of the company’s Chef on Board program to become familiar with food service at 35,000 feet.
New Heartier Healthier Fare
Four different menus rotate monthly and vary by region. A typical domestic first-class menu includes fresh seasonal fruit, hot soup served in Continental’s signature crock, choice of two entrees and dessert.
New hot gourmet sandwiches such as roast beef and oven-roasted turkey with gouda cheese on marble rye bread; chicken fajita wrap with cheddar cheese, onions with tricolor peppers; or turkey and ricotta calzone with spinach and roasted red peppers, are now being served on a typical flight greater than two hours.
Customers on lunch flights are also able to opt for a salad entree and customers flying at dinnertime may choose a hot entree bowl. Salad entrees include seasonal greens topped with shrimp, chicken sate, Roma tomatoes and pecans; Mesclun greens topped with grilled shrimp, red onion, oven-roasted yellow tomato and cherry tomato; or romaine salad with herbed chicken breast, cherry tomatoes, pecans and goat cheese. Some of Continental’s new hot entree bowl choices include beef short ribs served with mashed potatoes and Parisian carrots; mushroom ravioli with sauteed spinach and creamy marinara sauce; or breast of chicken with Thai curry sauce over vegetable fried rice.
New Fine China Adds Elegance
Continental’s new menus are served on fine china. Meals are also developed to balance equipment using the same type of china at each meal service, reducing complexity and excess inventory costs. For example, a small side bowl to serve seasonal fruit on a breakfast flight is also used to serve a fresh side salad on a dinner flight, effectively returning the dishware back to its originating kitchen. Improved efficiencies throughout the system allow Continental to focus spending on the food rather than spending resources on equipment management.