Singapore Airlines introduces guaranteed meal choices for passengers in First and Business Class

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No more praying your option doesn't run out on your next premium cabin SQ flight.

A classic first world dilemma faced by many an SQ premium traveler is whether to Book the Cook or chance it with the inflight menu. Fortunately, Singapore Airlines recently started making inflight menus available on its website a couple of months beforehand, which alleviates some of the FOMO.

Seared Black Cod Fillet a la Nicoise | Photo Credit: Raymond Wee

The airline’s now gone one better by allowing passengers in Suites, First and Business Class to pre-select their main course from the inflight menu up to 24 hours before the flight’s departure. This means no more “sorry, we ran out of that option”, which I’ve admittedly never faced on SQ before.

What’s the difference between pre-ordering your meal and Book the Cook?

Wait a minute, you say. I thought SQ already allowed premium cabin customers to do that. Isn’t that what Book The Cook is all about? That’s a good question, and here’s a comparison table for those of you who are confused:

  Pre-order Meal Book The Cook
Available out of All destinations ADL, AMS, AKL, BCN, PEK, BNE, CBR, DXB, FRA, HKG, IAH, LHR, LAX, MEL, MXP, MUC, JFK, CDG, PER, SFO, ICN, SIN, SYD, TPE, HND, NRT, WLG, ZRH
Cabin Classes Suites/First & Business Class* Suites/First, Business and Premium Economy Class
Selection Options 3-4, depending on location Up to 68, depending on location

*Premium Economy will be added “in the near future”

In other words, pre-selected meals are meant to provide some certainty on routes where BTC is not available. Singapore Airlines now flies to ~62 destinations, and although BTC has expanded to cover 28 cities, that’s still less than half of the overall network. Certain long haul routes like MAN, FCO and IST still don’t offer BTC, and given the flight time I imagine most people would like the assurance of getting a meal they enjoy rather than what’s left.

Current BTC destinations

FYI: If you’re flying out of a destination that also offers BTC, you’ll still be able to BTC as per normal.

How do you select your pre-order meal?

Singapore Airlines says the inflight menu is available for selection from three weeks up to 24 hours before departure. In practice, however, I’ve found it available even before the three week mark.

I’m flying to Bali on 14 January on the first leg of my honeymoon, and when I bring up my booking I can already see the inflight menu options:

Here are the three options available on SQ942, a 9.05 am departure out of SIN:

And here’s what Matthew sees on his flight from PEK-SIN:

Adding photos would be nice, but I understand the constraints- the appearance of the dish can depend heavily on what’s seasonally available, and caterers need the flexibility to swap things out as needed. The last thing they’d want is some customer kicking up a fuss because the meal doesn’t look like the website picture.

Conclusion

Shi Quan Wei Mei | Photo Credit: SQ

This is a great move for both SQ and its passengers- the airline hedges against potential over/undercatering, and passengers get their meal choice guaranteed. Be sure to check out this option on your next premium cabin flight, as well as our BTC wiki which crowdsources images of the various offerings available out of Singapore!

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Damian

Over cater you end up with wastage, under cater you get passengers complaining that they paid thousands for a ticket and can’t get a meal of their choice? Benefits both the airlines in cost management and reduces passengers satisfaction. A great move imho

Ken

Hi Aaron.. Have you actually tried it? I’ve been trying for days now.. selection done.. “Save & Exit”.. then “Sorry but we are unable…”.

Frustrating…

Ken

I recently tried both the Thai and Chinese versions of cod for the first time, and must say that I was very impressed with the perfect timing of the doneness of the fish.. the rice, both, were meh…. but both fish were indeed excellent! ?

Kenneth Teo

I’ve tried it on my trip back from BKK. The crew will confirm your order when you board 🙂

SG GOOD LIFE

I’ve experienced not getting my selected meal because I was seated at the back on one of my business trips back to Sg from Bangkok. It was quite disappointing so this is a refreshing surprise!

Benjamin

To me, its just a move to reduce costs.
Spun with a lot of nice marketing.

So imagine you and another pax are in 1st class. The plane just needs to load the 2 confirmed meals… Instead of potentially 2 BTCs and 4 menu choices.

I paid/redeemed for First Class seats… I deserve to be fickle and spoilt

CK Khoo

I once flew back from Osaka and sat at the last row of Biz, only to be told that there weren’t anymore of the Kaiseki jap bento sets (usually only found on SQ-Japan flights). Made a din with the chief steward (“boss”) and they somehow rearranged some hastily patched up combi, which was really disappointing. So I now learnt to sit right in front of Biz. In fact, besides ensuring the first pick at the choices, there is also extra legroom … BTW, just came back from Shanghai and the Shi Quan Wei Mei set menu (in your pic) was… Read more »

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