August 17, 2022

Emirates has recently changed its caviar policy for first class passengers for the better. This is noteworthy for two reasons — both for the policy as such, and for how rare it is for an airline to make a genuinely positive yet potentially expensive soft product improvement.

Emirates catering more caviar in first class

There are certain things people have come to expect in the world’s best first class products, and that includes great champagne and caviar.

Caviar obviously isn’t cheap, and airlines serving caviar in first class all have policies around the service of this. Some airlines have a strict policy of only giving passengers one serving of caviar, even if there are extras. Other airlines allow crews to offer extra caviar at their discretion, if there are leftovers.

Emirates has a dine on demand menu in first class, meaning that you can (in theory) order as much as you’d like as often as you’d like. Emirates has caviar on the menu in first class on a vast majority of long haul routes, and for a long time it was at the crew’s discretion how much caviar passengers could be served from the available inventory.

Well, the airline seems to realize how much first class passengers enjoy caviar, and has just made its policy surrounding this much more generous:

  • Emirates now has an official policy of accommodating multiple caviar orders per flight, subject to there being enough; this means you can order it multiple times, or ask for a double portion
  • Emirates has greatly increased catering of caviar, to the point that there will typically be three tins of caviar loaded per first class passenger
  • Ultimately the tins of caviar cycle through the system, and any leftovers will be put onto other flights, so I assume that Emirates isn’t expecting all the caviar to actually be consumed

Emirates’ first class catering can be hit-or-miss, and I tend to think the two best things on the menu are the caviar and the mezze. So if you’re on a long haul flight and want to enjoy caviar a couple of times, you don’t have to feel sheepish about asking.

Emirates’ beautiful caviar presentation

Emirates deserves credit for this

I think there’s a broader point to be made here about airlines investing in soft product. All too often we see airlines claim to make “enhancements due to customer feedback.” You know, customers want fewer pillows, less food, etc. Airline executives will go to some wild lengths to justify service cuts.

While there are lots of things I’ll criticize Emirates for (like the carrier’s 777 business class), I’m consistently impressed by the way in which the airline actually modifies its product based on the things that people enjoy, especially in first class. The airline is constantly updating its first class service procedures and offerings, and it’s not to cut costs, but it’s to improve the experience.

The airline very closely tracks consumption patterns in first class, and updates the product accordingly. It’s pretty great to see airline product people say “hey, our first class customers really seem to enjoy the caviar service, let’s offer them more of that.”

Emirates’ incredible new 777 first class

Bottom line

While Emirates has long offered a caviar service in first class, the airline is now taking it to the next level. The airline is increasing catering of caviar, so that passengers can order it multiple times during the flight (or just order double portions).

Regardless of how you feel about eating caviar as such, there’s no denying that this is an impressive passenger experience investment.

What do you make of Emirates’ first class caviar changes?

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