What do you miss most about air travel? Is it the thrill of the take off? The excitement of stepping off the aircraft and arriving in a new country?
Or perhaps you’re daydreaming about something more unexpected – airline food.
Assuming that would-be-fliers might be missing fine dining at 30,000 feet, Finnair is bringing a taste of air travel to the ground.
In a new business venture, the Finnish airline has started selling ready-made meals inspired by its Business Class offerings in a grocery store in the city of Vantaa, Finland.
Head to K-Citymarket in Vantaa’s Tammisto neighborhood over the coming weeks and you can purchase pre-packaged reindeer meatballs, smoked char and chanterelle risotto and other Finnair meals.
Marika Nieminen, VP of Finnair Kitchen, tells CNN Travel the initiative aims to satiate the appetite of Finns who’re missing air travel – and allow the airline to bring back some of the Finnair Kitchen staff who were laid off when the pandemic hit. Nieminen says they’ve been able to rehire roughly 10 employees for the project.
Finnair tested the concept internally first, selling the food to airline staff.
When that proved popular, the airline took the idea to K-Citymarket in Tammisto, Vantaa. The grocery store is located super close to the Finnair Kitchen headquarters.
After launching the meals in Vantaa on October 15, Finnair plans to expand to other K-Citymarket stores across Finland, and maybe even beyond.
The airline reckons its specialty food options – contemporary Nordic offerings infused with a Japanese flair – could have an international appeal too, although Nieminen caveats it’s still early days.
“The quality of the food is really something that we are proud of,” says Nieminen.
Finnair was also keen to give passengers who usually opt for Economy plane tickets a taste of the Business Class experience.
Currently, there are two main course options available to buy daily – and each weekend there will be an appetizer on offer too.
The menu will change every two weeks.
For this fortnight, the main courses are 12,90 euro (roughly $15) and the starter is 5,90 euro ($6.90).
When CNN Travel spoke with Nieminen, only a couple of hours after launch, she said 100 meals had already been snapped up.
Other airlines have also been experimenting with bringing the airplane experience to grounded aviation fans.
Qantas recently put several bar carts that were recently removed from 747s on sale, stocked with alcohol, first class pajamas and other goodies. They’ve since sold out.
Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines launched a pop-up, aviation-themed restaurant at Singapore Changi Airport, creating a dining experience on board an Airbus A380. Initial reservations were snapped up in 30 minutes.