Redefining In-Flight Catering

Bulk Packaging of In-Flight Catering Entrees

inflight catering packaging options

Can you imagine working at a restaurant where each table had a specific request for how they wanted their meal plated? That is the everyday reality for an aviation caterer. Chefs working for private jet caterers are trained in all aspects of aviation catering, and the variability of packaging requests are just one of the many facets that are part of normal operations.

While there may be specific individual requests, there are standard ways in which we package catering. The pure definition of “bulk” is to package the catering in a way that allows the crew to build the final product with the “mise en place” that is delivered. When it comes to bulk packaging entrees, there are a couple of options for the corporate flight attendant to consider:

  1. Bulk packaging – Packaging of like items (a meal) together to allow for assembly later.
  2. Bulk Individual packaging – Packaging of items together based on individual portion.

Examples of bulk packaging for four entrees would entail:

  • Proteins and sauces packaged together. Typically, sauces are kept with an entree so it is easy to identify which sauce goes with what protein. This is especially important if there is a selection of fish, poultry or beef.
  • Next, vegetables are packaged together.
  • Last, the starch is packaged in separate containers.

The advantage of bulking meals in this manner is that it allows the crew member to have a menu with a variety of proteins, but keep the vegetables and starches consistent throughout the meal period. The crew member can also control the heating times of the separate components of a meal.

Examples of bulk individual packaging for entrees simply be that each meal is packaged together and that only one bulk pan (and the associated garnish kit) is used to construct a meal. The key here is that there is one container per passenger for the oven/micro and one container of garnishes.

Depending upon the flight time, the cabin crew member in charge of arranging in-flight catering may decide to use a variety of options to facilitate the meal service depending upon the number of passengers. For a short dinner flight, the cabin crew member could order the starting salads pre-plated, while ordering the entree in bulk. This combination of packaging options would allow a faster start to the service, and provide adequate time to plate the entree and dessert as the meal period progresses.

The mission of a private jet caterer is to ensure the cabin crew member has all of the tools for an exceptional onboard catering experience. Knowing the different packaging options is just one of the ways this is accomplished.

Examples of bulk individual packaging are shown on our Flight Attendant Resources page, along with many other helpful tools.


If you have any questions regarding how to package a meal for a flight, please do not hesitate to contact

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