October 08, 2012

The MEA Cedar Business Class to Europe on the A330 Airbus


Welcoming: 3/5

Food Temperature: 9/10

Ambiance / Music: 6.5/10

Menu Choice: 2/5

Food Taste: 21/30

Architecture / Interior: 7/10

Food presentation: 7/10

Service: 7/10

Value for money: 6/10

We are proud to have the official Lebanese airlines become a part of the Skyteam alliance. Since my last article, I'll be honest and agree that MEA is improving its services a lot. They are on the right track towards entering the Skytrax top 100 airlines of the world. Bravo.

I decided to write my personal encounter describing the Cedar Business Class on the Airbus 330 plane of the Lebanese official carrier - and this is just following my experience during another Skyteam member's business class - I must say, the experience is positive. If you haven't tried it yet, discover those detailed pictures and enjoy your next fly. Leaving Beirut, direction London to attend the Food Bloggers Convention, I tried the breakfast on this huge plane and on my way back from Paris the following week, lunch was on the menu.

The breakfast menu:

  • A milk chocolate square produced by Patchi for MEA.
  • Professional and sealed individual salt and pepper shakers.
  • Halloumi and Kachkaval cheese with cucumber, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, carrots, walnuts and a dried apricots.
  • Natural honey produced by Raidy.
  • Strawberry jam produced by Kassatly Chtaura.
  • Labneh with olive oil carefully served and beautifully decorated.
  • An exotic cup of mixed fruits cut in cubes.
  • Lurpak butter.
  • A choice of Kneffeh and omelette. The Kneffeh is really one of the best I have had in Lebanon, It's delicious and extremely tasty yet not heavy at all. More importantly for me, it doesn't cause heart burns. I have been eating it for many years now and it's still as good as the first day.
  • Orange juice, coffee or tea.
  • They use plastic cutlery on the London rout only because it is requested by the UK authorities for security, but on all other routes, MEA uses their MEA very nice signed silverware collection. You can check the pictures on the Paris route.

The lunch menu:

  • Fine freshly roasted nuts by Al-RIFAI
  • I had some red wine, a choice between Karam winery, Kefraya and Ksara. I believe that Karam is the best choice to have. A wine full of taste and that is far better than the other two.
  • Appetizers include smoked salmon or Foie Gras de Canard and a fresh salad of green French lettuce, Parmesan cheese with yellow and red peppers.
  • Desserts are nice on MEA: A choice of cheese, cheese cake with red fruits and sorbet.
  • A good choice of French bread that were way too chewy for my taste. I asked them to confirm that they were fresh, as I am sure they are not. But the Beurre d'Isigny butter is tasty.

As for the main dishes, unfortunately the same menu proposed for the last couple of years includes three different possibility covering all tastes; Tournedos Sauce Poivre Vert, Crevettes Sautées Sauce Au Curry, Poulet Roti Creme Epinards.

Although I would like to see a change on the menu, I can't deny that the food is tasty and I always enjoy eating on board MEA flights.

The Pluses:

  • A big screen with a complete entertainment system, enough to entertain you on a couple of hours trip from Beirut to Europe.
  • A wide and relaxing cabin.
  • A wide choice of multi-language newspapers.
  • Soft and tender cover offered in wrapped nylon.
  • Stereo headphones.
  • A head cabin that speaks a perfect French, doing her job with the utmost professionalism. A really unique woman whom I really appreciated but forgot to ask about her name.
  • Hostesses ready for any request waiting to come.
  • An improved service
  • I like it when they pass with the wide choice of cheese and desserts.
  • Lunch finishes with a choice of coffee or tea and some cognac presented with a Lebanese mignardise produced by Perle for MEA.

The Minuses:

  • No refreshment kit was offered in this flight considering that the MEA usually distributes some.
  • Hostesses can be more friendly but believe me they are improving a lot... Just give them some time.
  • Air France offers a bottle of water for every passenger, I like that. I think they should do the same.
  • When chocolate is offered in a luxurious environment, it should be a dark one. Considering that Patchi does offer some good dark chocolate, its a shame not to let the world know about them. I would reconsider that if I were them.
  • Like I mentioned above, the same exact menu has been served for the past decade if not more. The omelette, same Kneffeh same chicken, same pasta. Please we beg you to be more creative. Please change!

I didn't understand:

  • Why did we have milk chocolate from Patchi for breakfast and Monbana dark for lunch?
  • Why are all ingredients local supporting Lebanese producers except their oil which is French? We do have multiple choices of good oil choices in Lebanon.
  • The average Lurpak is served on the way out of Beirut and Beurre d'Isigny butter on the way back?

Time to land. When the hostesses pass with the hot napkins, you'll know that landing is in 35 minutes.

Good luck and again bravo for being part of the Skyteam alliance.





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