In a move to further enhance the in-flight experience of its passengers, Delta Airlines, on 14 March, 2017, announced the introduction of one-of-a-kind Alessi-designed service ware at 30,000 feet.
The airline has partnered with a globally renowned design company Alessi to curate a modern, stylish and functional collection of service products and tableware.
Created and inspired by six renowned designers, the Alessi for Delta products include flatware, crystal glassware, new bone china, stainless steel serving pieces, tabletop accessories such as napkin rings and salt and pepper shakers and trays.
According to Delta, the Alessi pieces will appear in its premium cabins, including Delta One and First Class from April 1, 2017 and in Delta Premium Select from late 2017.
That brings us to the pertinent question; will Delta bring the Alessi Service wares to Africa?
While they pay the most money on flight tickets and taxes, African passengers have been known to accuse international airlines of poor and discriminatory treatment including substandard on board products which are inferior to those on similar intercontinental services.
Delta is not left out in these bitter complaints by African air travellers. The airline currently flies from Atlanta and New York-JFK to a number of destinations in Africa including Lagos (Nigeria), Johannesburg, South Africa (via Dakar, Senegal) and Accra, (Ghana).
Delta's African passengers especially those travelling between Atlanta and Lagos, Nigeria, have been known to complain about delta's hard and soft products on the service including the equipment itself. It will be understandable if they view the promised Alessi service wares with a pinch of salt.
It is reassuring and encouraging, however, to know that Delta has been making very frantic effort to improve on its hard and soft products offerings on its African services. The effort has yielded some desired fruits.
In February, 2017, Delta’s Commercial Director for East and West Africa, Mr. Bobby Bryan, noted that as a global carrier, the airline listened to its international customers to shape the carrier’s product and services to offer what they wanted.
In showing commitment to Africa, Delta now offers African menus on their services between Africa and the United States. Additionally, Nigerian movies are currently being rolled out across its in-flight entertainment system which will be completed in April.
Announcing the introduction of the Alessi serviceware, Allison Ausband, Delta’s Senior Vice President – In-Flight Service said “The Alessi for Delta collection is part of our continued investment in delivering a world class, global culinary experience that will elevate our customer inflight dining experience to new heights. At Delta we know that every aspect and detail of the travel experience matters, and partnering with Alessi allows us to bring an uncompromising level of elegance and service to the on-board experience.”
Expectedly, Delta's business class customers on African services are eagerly waiting for the promised world class, global culinary experience that will elevate their inflight dining experience to new heights.
Whether or not Delta will live up to its promise of serving its African menus to Africans on the much touted one-of-a-kind Alessi servicewares as from April 1 remains to be seen. Hopefully, they won't disappoint.
Chidozie Uzoezie is an aviation enthusiast, a frequent flyer, a freelance writer and a travel blogger. He is the editor and the publisher of The Afritraveller. He blogs and writes mostly about aviation, air travel and airlines products and services, especially with respect to passenger experience, #PaxEx. He is also the creator and the admin of the African Aviation Group on Facebook.