Inflight Meal Sales for At-Home Dining
Continue to Deliver ANA Hospitality
During the Pandemic
Supported by our loyal fan base, ANA Catering Service
creates a silver lining via the imaginary travel experience.
Do you miss traveling? Or simply flying on an airplane? Our ANA Catering Service (ANAC) can bring you the inflight travel experience without leaving the comfort and safety of your home. Japanese residents can purchase a set of 12 inflight meals for 9,000 yen through the ANA Trading online shopping site, A-style or Rakuten to add some variety to their meals with authentic 5-Star in-flight dishes from ANA.
We spoke with Daichi Haraki, of ANAC, on the popular dishes and how this idea came to fruition.
Q: How did ANAC start selling inflight meals online for at-home dining?
In 2020, our inflight meal production volume went down 90% due to COVID-19. We needed to do something to stay afloat. For years, we have been receiving customer requests to sell inflight meals online. We were also seeing conversations on social media about how much people miss flying and eating inflight meals. So, we connected the dots and decided to start selling frozen inflight meal sales in December of last year.
Q: What is available for online purchase?
Our goal is to make our customers feel like they are onboard one of our flights and experiencing our trademark and award-winning Japanese hospitality again, so we are selling food that is identical to the dishes we offer in the Economy class cabin. Everything is exactly the same from the taste, containers and even the plating. We package them as Japanese meal sets, western meal sets, meat dishes, seafood dishes, and even the unique dishes from specific routes such as those to Sydney and Honolulu. I’d say beef hamburger steak with demi-glace sauce is the most popular dish.
We also offer the dishes that won public votes in the past. The best way to eat those meals is to let them defrost in the refrigerator for 24 hours, then place them into the microwave.
Q: How many meals have you sold so far?
As of July 2021, we’ve sold 900,000 meals amounting to 75,000 orders. This has helped to improve our revenue situation.
Q: What kind of feedback have you been receiving from customers?
We are surprised by how well the meals have been received. They have even been featured in magazines. In the beginning, we sold out almost immediately, and we were faced with the challenge of keeping up with demand.
Specifically, we hear comments on how juicy the beef hamburger steak is or how moist and delicious our rice is. People say it is hard to believe they are frozen meals.
Unlike when serving the meals inflight, we cannot see or hear customers’ feedback directly, so we utilize social media to search for comments and feedback. We are taking many hints from them.
Through social media, we receive words of encouragement and support from our customers. It feels great to be connected with them through this new medium. That encouragement keeps us going.
Q: Why do you think the meals are well received?
The pandemic made people realize that they really miss flying and the entire experience that comes with it.
Initially, our loyal fans helped us spread the word about the sale of inflight meals. People are cheering for us to overcome this trying time and are buying our products to show their support.
I also think convenience is definitely one of the reasons why they are popular. The meals can be prepared easily for lunch while many people work from home.
I’ve heard some parents are packing them as school lunches for children, which was unexpected and exciting.
We enclose message cards from our cabin attendants or ground-handling staff with the meals at times. We believe that is another way to express our hospitality and appreciation.
“Thank you for purchasing our inflight meals! We hope you are spending your days at home with smiles… Looking forward to seeing you onboard soon! – ANA Cabin Crew”
Q: Are there any other items available online to enhance the at-home inflight meal experience?
We are now selling inflight meal trays and tableware packaged with the meals. We saw on social media that some people wash the meal containers, reuse them to pack their own food and enjoy imaginary inflight meals. We thought, “How interesting! Why don’t we offer the entire set then?”
Q: Do you plan to keep selling the inflight meals online even after the pandemic calms down? Any plans to expand the sales to overseas markets?
Yes, we will continue as long as there is a demand from customers.
There are no plans for overseas sales, but we would certainly like to explore the possibility. We are confident in our products. We won the “Best Business Class Onboard Catering” at the SKYTRAX World Airline Awards in 2019.