Back in the early 1970s, UK charter airlines started using seat back catering to provide food for their passengers. This meant less galley space was required on board, resulting in the ability to add more passenger seats.

Since we no longer have seat back catering, it is safe to say that the concept did not catch on. It is an interesting idea though, so let’s have a look at it.

Seat Back Catering

A charter airline called Court Line introduced this concept to the masses. There were two slots in the back of the seat in front of you, one with the outbound meal and one for the return meal.

Initially they were not locked, so hungry people could eat both meals. Later on, rudimentary locks were installed, however with a little determination it was possible to steal and gobble down the food intended for the return passenger.

Salads and sandwiches were the usual staples, and airlines such as Dan-Air London also offered this type of catering. A small pellet of dry ice was put into the compartment for the return meal to try to keep it fresh.

Food hygiene was apparently an issue and the whole concept was gone by 1975. I know I probably wouldn’t be pleased to find the passenger on a previous flight had eaten the food intended for me, especially on a four hour flight from the UK to the Canary Islands.

Overall Thoughts

There is a picture of the seat back catering on this web site dedicated to Dan-Air. You can also read an article about it, which has some interesting quotes about the concept.

Considering how slim seats have become, I think it’s safe to say we won’t be seeing it on a flight anytime soon. It’s an interesting piece of airline history though.

Did you ever experience seat back catering with the UK charter airlines? What did you get and what did you think of it? Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Michael Bernhard on via Wikimedia Commons.
Dan-Air image by Piergiuliano Chesi via Wikimedia Commons.