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.
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.
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.
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!