Easily the worst thing about flying is the food. Can’t we all agree on that? I mean, you’ve already been pushed and shoved, strip-searched and been forced to breath excessive amounts of chemically oxygen for hours on end, but to add insult to injury, now you’re being served what smells like baby poo and looks like vomit for lunch. Ick.
In the grand scheme of things, most airlines still have not figured out how to give their guests a decent meal. It seems like it shouldn’t be that hard, after all, right? It’s just warmed up food. Well, there are at least a few airlines out there that have got it right, with delicious and healthy meals that also taste good. Oh, and they look pleasing too! Because, we all know, once you open that gross tin container and take your bun out of a plastic bag, you’ve pretty much lost your appetite altogether, right?
So in the interest of sparing your stomach, here are the top 10 best rated airlines for good in-flight meals.
Cathay Pacific - This Hong Kong airline is always highly-ranked for just about everything, and its meals are no different. Every Cathay Pacific plane is outfitted with toaster ovens and rice cookers, so things are all prepared fresh, and they keep a rolling stock of fresh fruits and snacks available throughout every flight to keep your tummy happy. They also serve a selection of excellent wine vintages and champagne. Mmm.
Singapore Airlines - This airline has been lauded for its customer service and neatly-dressed flight attendants, but the food is also stellar. They have employed a panel of international chefs (including British star Gordon Ramsay) and wine consultants to create their menu, and even in economy class, you’re treated to meals like sauteed prawns with steamed asparagus and Singapore noodles.
Turkish Airlines - Bet you didn’t know Turkey had its own airline, but they do and the food is excellent. From choices like their fresh Mediterranean salad to the Hindu meals served on flights to India to the fresh cheeses and choice wines - you won’t go hungry on a Turkish Airlines flight.
Emirates - Your stomach will thank you for flying with this Dubai-based airline, which offers entrees such as smoked tuna and lamb marinated in Arabic spices and served over fresh broccoli. For a snack, they’ll bring you cheese and crackers and for dessert a special sticky date pudding. And this is all in economy class. Furthermore, the wine list on board any Emirates flight is a surprising mix of French, New Zealand and Australian vintages.
Malaysia Airlines - This airline employs a specially-trained chef to create all of their menu options and they have won several culinary awards, including a Skytrax Signature Dish award for their Satay and the Favourite Airline Food award from Smart Travel Asia. Among their offerings? Black pepper lamb shank, North Atlantic baked cod and an Australian cheese plate.
Air France - Is it any surprising that the French national airline would be good for food? Still, Air France manages to capture a little of the French culinary tradition of excellence in their own on-board meals, which range from steaks to traditional French meals, all served with a fresh bread basket. If you are a premium economy passenger, you are also treated to a 24-hour t buffet of deliciousness that includes mini-sandwiches and Häagen-Dazs® ice cream. Yay!
Thai Airways - If there is any airline you want to fly first-class, it is Thai Airways, which offers you a choice of 22 different meals, which can be chosen through an online ordering system prior to your departure. Um, wow. Economy passengers don’t get the shaft though, either, with choices like shrimp in Thai dressing with asparagus tips or beef Rendang with white rice and peas. Sounds good to me.
Japan Airlines - How about sushi on your flight? Japan Airlines’ Executive menu (shown above) features dishes like tuna or squid sashimi, braised bamboo shoots, Soba noodles, while their economy class garlic tomato chicken or Soba noodles aren’t too shabby either. And everyone gets complimentary mineral water and free-flowing snacks on long-haul flights.
British Airways - This one was a surprise to me, but as it were, BA has become fairly well respected for their meals. A typical economy class meal on a long haul flight consists of a fresh Greek salad with feta cheese and chicken with boiled carrots, potatoes and vegetables. But the real stars are the “Club” class meals, which feature fresher ingredients and silver service, as well as access to a full-service snack bar stocked with mini-sandwiches, wraps, salads and even on-request hot meals.
Virgin Atlantic/America - Virgin America has been consistently voted as one of the best airline meals in the U.S., and its international partner, Virgin Atlantic, offers a similar amount of quality with their airline meals. How about a bagel with raspberry cream cheese, a tapas plate or a turkey Caprese sandwich? A champagne cocktail or a Hornitos margarita? Not only that, but you can order all of your meals from a touch screen at your seat. Um, yes please!