Grab-and-go food might take to the skies post-pandemic


  • Image via Collins Aerospace
  • The M-Flex Duet
The air travel industry is showing signs of a rebound, but it might not look the same when it returns.

While still well below 2019 numbers, the data. shows that air travel is returning. Even as some of the moves by airlines over the past year are beginning to be rolled back, other practices look to be forever changed. Onboard snack and beverage service has been suspended by many airlines last year but has since resumed on select flights. Still, some industry insiders are looking for ways to move beyond the old routine of being served by flight attendants in the aisle.

Collins Aerospace is looking to capture the grab-and-go trend while providing needed flexibility with its new M-Flex Switch bar-lounge concept.
Airline industry news site, Runway Girl Network, spoke with representatives from Collins announcing the new way of vending food for airline passengers. The Switch model holds catering trolleys while also providing grab-and-go capabilities. It utilizes previously unused space near doorways.

“Traditionally, the space needed to add this type of service area meant sacrificing seating for the airlines which could mean an annual revenue loss in the millions per twin-aisle aircraft,” explained Collins Aerospace Research & Development Director Jefferey McKee. “Our team has created a brand new concept that benefits both the passenger and the airline by offering new amenities in the cabin with minimal to no seat reductions.”

Don't expect to see these grab-and-go stations on puddlehoppers. The new M-Flex Switch is designed for long-haul flights where traditional food and beverage service may not be offered. On daytime return flights, the plane could easily switch to full-service catering.

Even before the pandemic, studies were showing grab-and-go was desired by many travelers. For some hotel brands, who switched to grab-and-go models during the pandemic, the change is likely permanent.

Moving forward, one of the biggest lessons 2020 may have given us is the need for flexibility and ease to adapt quickly. Hotels were able to provide this adaptability far easier than airlines, but if concepts like this prove successful, that may soon change.

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