In PAL`s Junior Jetsetter program, kids rule!
Take a roomful of finicky kids. Feed them airline food. Airline food? Somehow, the notion of serving fare infamous in culinary lore for being dull and uninspiring (rubber chicken, anyone?) to a pack of hungry, hard-to-please tykes seems quite risky.
It was a challenge Philippine Airlines gamely took on recently. The flag carrier held a food-tasting session for its new Junior Jetsetter meals, its inflight menu for young flyers, and sitting in judgement were perhaps some of the toughest food critics anywhere - a restless bunch of 4- to 12-year-olds.
“This activity allows our young customers a direct hand in defining our Junior Jetsetter product, giving us the needed inputs for its enhancement,” noted Joy Lynn Pasiliao, PAL assistant vice president for Products.
More than 20 kids, their parents in tow, attended the affair, including seven of the youngest members of Mabuhay Miles, PAL`s new frequent flyer program. Among them were 10-year-old Mio and 8-year-old Melissa Borromeo, accompanied by their dad, Frank Borromeo.
Twelve-year-old Kyle and 9-year-old Stephanie Alimurung came with mom Peachy Sacasas Alimurung. Nine-year-old Roman Recto kept a watchful eye on 4-year-old brother Juan Luis, while mom Cinthy Tambunting Recto happily looked on. Going solo was 6-year-old Vernon Huibonhoa, seen having a blast with newfound playmates.
The highlight of the party was the sumptuous buffet prepared by the team of PAL executive chef Jon Hollands, which pulled out all the stops to create mouthwatering dishes prepared to the exacting standards of the youthful gourmets.
Five buffet tables were laid out with breakfast, entree and dessert selections for the guests to taste and evaluate. The results would eventually be incorporated into the new Junior Jetsetter menu.
Donning chef`s hats and linen serviettes, the kids set about sampling and rating the dishes, while PAL facilitators took note of every comment and suggestion - well, as we`re dealing with kids here, make that every burp, slurp, finger lick and lip smack.
After two hours of seemingly non-stop munching, it was time to pass judgement. The verdict? High marks all around. Breakfast favorites were hotdogs, medallion pancakes and assorted fruit crêpes. Tops in the hot meal selections were crispy fried chicken rolled in corn flakes, mini pizzas and bite-size burgers. And for dessert, chocolate fudge cake, peanut butter cheesecake and assorted cookies were runaway winners.
“This session is part of our continuous effort to invest in the future, knowing that these children will grow up to become part of our core passenger market someday,” said Felix Cruz, PAL vice president for Marketing Support. “It gives us an opportunity to connect with our customers - young or old, big or small - and update ourselves on their changing tastes and preferences.”