April 26, 2014 — Jad Rahme
My latest Middle East Airlines flight from Beirut to London turned out to be much more interesting than expected: The Lebanese airline just released a brand new design for their inflight menu!
You may wonder why a new plane menu would make a flight more exciting. Well, MEA is maybe not the best airline in the world but, it is still my national one and I took many flights with them so I believe it is worth reviewing this nice move they did and adding some suggestions.
Economy Class Menu
As you can see in the pictures, the economy menu is now more like a newsletter which is quite cool because it offers more value and makes it more modern. Made For Brands, the agency behind the new concept and design, went for a flat design, a modern typography and a good ratio of visual elements and nice simple drawings.
They use red, pale blue and pale green across the pages but, the dominant colour is yellow which is not very consistent with the brand identity that already has three colours: Red, green and blue. Maybe they should replace it with one of those three. Also, the fonts they use are nice but, they use three different ones and the purpose of each is a bit unclear which could make it a bit confusing.
The content is quite interesting and it includes: The food and drinks menu in two versions (An extended and an express one), travel tips, interesting facts, quotes and pictures from the MEA archives. That’s a nice way to offer more value to travellers.
However, the translation annoyed me for some reasons. I find it very weird. The Arabic version and the English/French versions of the menu are quite different! The content of the two versions is completely different except for the menu. Plus, the drinks menu is not available in the arabic version and I don’t know why the English version is entitled “Economy Menu” while the Arabic one is just a “Menu”. I don’t know what’s the logic (or the absence of logic) behind the translation but, I would expect them to offer the exact same content in different languages.
Cedar Class Menu
The business class menu has a more “quite” design which is maybe more adequate to the cedar class customers but, I believe they could add some colours. On this one, they kept the regular menu layout which is not bad and the cover showcases the work of a Lebanese artist called Samir Sayegh. I don’t know if they will change the cover design every now and then and feature other artists. I think it would be nice if they do so. I’m not a big fan of the artwork they chose here for the only reason that it gives a vintage image to this new menu but, that’s of course matter of personal taste.
Here they don’t offer any content in addition to the menu. I do understand that they are not doing a newsletter for the business class as they did for the economy but, maybe adding a nice quote would be appreciated. And here also translation inconsistency: There is a sentence in English about an express meal proposition that’s not translated in Arabic and French.
The Online Platform Promotion
On both menus they added a section to promote the airline’s online platform (see pictures above and below). Similarly to the lack of consistency in the translation of the economy menu, the promotion is different in the two menus: In Economy they only state that you can do online check-in and check timetables while in cedar class they add that you can also use it for ticketing, online flights (I don’t know what that is by the way), services and check special offers. I think that those additional features are not exclusive to business class customers so why don’t they promote them in the economy menu too?
Now to link to their website, they just added a QR code. The main issue here is not that there are very few people who scan them, it’s the fact that there is no internet connection on MEA flights. Some would argue that there are apps that can scan QR codes from pictures so people can take a picture of it and check it upon arrival: If regular QR scanning is barely happening would you expect people to go further? Also worth noting that no one is going to keep the menu, everyone will leave it on the plane (of course there may be few exceptional cases). If you want to keep the QR code keep it but, at least add a proper URL.
They also added an invitation for feedback about the new design with two Twitter handles (they don’t mention it’s Twitter maybe they should) and two hashtags: One for MEA and one for the design agency. The call for feedback is great but, why two hashtags and two handles? I think they should only keep the MEA hashtag (#meaifs) and handle (@meaifs). The agency can add its handle next to its signature if they want to.
All in all, I really liked the new MEA menus! It is true that I had some remarks but this is just feedback and propositions. I hope they will take them in consideration. A very interesting idea by Made For Brands and a great move by Middle East Airlines!
I would also love to hear your thoughts on the new menu so please feel free to comment below.
About Jad RahmeThe guy behind this blog. Passionate about Marketing and Technology. Recent MSc Strategic Marketing grad from Imperial College London.
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