Flower Power

Flight of Fancy

What: Gourmet meals to take aboard airline flights
Who: Richard Katz and Alan Levin of SkyMeals LLC
Where: Santa Monica, California
When: Started in 2002

On a recent flight from paris to Los Angeles, Richard Katz, 51, and Alan Levin, 59, feasted on a smorgasbord of delicacies they'd brought aboard with them. While satisfying their hunger, the pair noticed jealous looks from other passengers--and saw a business opportunity.

But don't think of SkyMeals' ready-to-eat fare as typical airline food. Rather, SkyMeals cooks up tasty, gourmet dishes such as Seared Ahi Tuna or Chicken Breast Mediterranean and delivers them directly to customers' Los Angeles-area homes or offices prior to their flights. Because the entrées hover between $25 and $30, the company targets businesspeople who are dissatisfied with airline food and are willing to pay extra for restaurant-quality fare. And now that 2003 sales are expected to exceed six figures, the partners hope to expand their business to other major airport hubs such as those in Atlanta, Chicago and New York City.

Katz says their service hearkens back to the travel heyday of the '50s and '60s, when taking a plane was considered luxurious. Though white tablecloths and silver cutlery are out of the picture, Katz hopes their gourmet meals will renew a sense of in-flight indulgence: "[We thought] we could do a little to bring that back."

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This article was originally published in the May 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Flower Power.

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