The Future of Onboard Dining: Trayless Concepts

Leisure & Smart

Meal trays are almost part of the furniture on flights. Passengers have come to expect their meals to be served on plastic trays with small portions.

Typically, all courses are served together with the passenger being presented all their food (and drink) at once.

The question is: how can airlines improve their ways of serving food?

More and more airlines are coming up with ideas to elevate their passengers’ dining experience, with fast and more efficient food service. After all, an enjoyable and timely onboard meal makes the flying experience more comfortable and memorable.

That is why trayless concepts are becoming more prevalent and are on the rise.

In this article, we will explore the concept of modern and innovative trayless concepts. We will also talk about their implications on the airline’s approach to improving food serving and presentation for their passengers.


What is a trayless concept?

A trayless concept is generally used to improve dining in economy class. The idea offers an alternative to the usual single tray service. Instead of the typical tray set-up, passengers receive their meals in single-use boxes or serving dishes.

This way, the food can be split up into a series of meal courses, prolonging the anticipation of what’s to come.

And if the idea of the food not having a ‘base’ feels strange to you, trayless concepts are usually served on napkins.

Let’s now look at the benefits…


1. Speedy service

Food service can take up a lot of time onboard. Meal trays add to this because they often do not fit easily into the trolleys, making it tricky to get them in and out quickly. Trayless concepts eliminate this problem, as individual boxes or servings can be taken out of the trolley efficiently and speedily, allowing more face-to-face time with the passenger.


2.Space saving

Trays take up a lot more trolley space than you realize. They can be clunky and cause more problems space-wise when cabins need to utilize limited space in a smart, compact way. Individual serving dishes take up far less space in the trolley, as they are stacked compactly inside the drawers.


3. Reduction in carbon footprint

As a plus point, the reduction of space being used inside a trolley means that it could potentially reduce the number of overall trolleys being used in the cabin. As a result, the cargo weight will be lower and this leads to a reduction of fuel and emissions.

Trayless concepts can use sustainable materials to minimize an airline’s carbon footprint. Take a look at some of the materials we use in our dining and service products for some inspiration. Additionally, check here to see how SPIRIANT collaborates with sustainable packaging producers all around the world.


4. Higher meal selection and bigger portions

With a trayless concept, you will not be limited to the space that typical meal trays offer. Instead, you can serve as many courses as you like. Naturally, this also allows for bigger meal portions leaving passengers satisfied and happy.


5. Brand interaction and customization

Trayless concepts can be more easily customized compared to traditional meal trays. When you go trayless, your individual serving plate can be customized with logos, taglines, brand colors…whatever is in line with your brand. Click here to gather some inspiration on how this customisation coould look like.


All of these benefits give rise to the fact that trayless concepts are cutting-edge and at the forefront of the future when it comes to onboard dining.


The verdict

Trayless concepts offer a range of benefits to airlines, passengers and crew. They allow airlines to tackle space issues, customer satisfaction and cost obstacles.

At SPIRIANT, we have various customizable trayless concepts that we can help you to implement. We look at multiple points of interest, including branding, airline culture, and destinations to help you decide which trayless concept is right for you.

Undeniably, trayless concepts are the future. Who can argue with the benefits?

Do you want advice on trayless concepts? Contact us at

Share This Story

Back to Blog Home