It would be an understatement to say that airline food has a bad reputation. With a lack of kitchen appliances up in the air, passengers often expect poorly heated foods with limited options. Oftentimes, people with dietary restrictions or allergies are out of luck when they encounter an airline menu with little diversity. Aside from the poor quality, many travelers also complain of the high prices airlines charge for their dining and beverage services. Passengers can easily pay a price equivalent to what they might spend at a nice restaurant. The poor dining atmosphere an airplane makes for (it’s hard to each when you’re elbow-to-elbow with a stranger) also doesn’t help.
Looking ahead to see the menu options an airline offers is a good idea before booking a ticket, especially if you’ll be on the flight for more than eight hours. Poor food options or a bad dining experience can ruin a flight, and to make it worse, you can’t exactly do anything or get something else to eat until you land. Below we discuss the airlines with the best food, based on reviews actual passengers have left. If there’s anything to take away, it’s that travelers should always do research before buying a plane ticket, including looking into what the food situation is going to be like.
Emirates Lets You Eat Well In Economy
Economy is hardly ever known for having great food. Between the high prices and lack of variety, sometimes you’re better off bringing your own snacks versus buying on the flight. But if you’re flying with Emirates, then you’re in luck. Reddit users swear by Emirate’s economy class food (though we’d be surprised if the same doesn’t apply to first-class, as well). “On Emirates, they gave out free pizza, it was pretty […] good,” Priamosish wrote. “They also gave out chicken, mashed potatoes and other stuff for dinner, that was probably the best economy class meal one will get. Afterward, they gave out free full-sized candy bars!” Other Reddit users recommended the chicken tikka and the burritos with guacamole.
Dine Mid-Air With Swiss International Airlines
According to The Luxury Travel Expert, Swiss International Airlines is top-notch when it comes to in-flight dining. The menu changes every three months, which is a plus for avid travelers. It has features dishes like beef tenderloin and mashed potatoes with veal bacon and cheese.
An airline reviewer for the website was impressed that all of the travelers in his party were satisfied with their dining experience with Swiss International Airlines, meaning there’s always something for everyone. “Our travel party had a selection of most dishes and everything tasted great. Even the kids liked the food,” the critic noted. They added that a snack was offered 90 minutes before the plane landed. It included a choice between salad or pasta, both of which were served with a fresh fruit salad.
You’re In For A Treat With The Turkish
Whether you’re flying economy or first-class, it sounds like you’re in for a delightful dining experience with Turkish Airlines. Nik Loukas, a travel and airline reviewer for South China Morning Post, took almost 600 flights in 50 countries and 147 airports to narrow down the best airline food. Turkish Airlines came out on top, and it sounds like their food options only get better the more expensive the ticket is.
“Hands down the tastiest meals you’ll ever have in economy class,” Loukas writes. “They never disappoint, and if you have a chance to fly with them in business class, you are in for a gastronomic treat.” He specifically recommends the Turkish kofta with grilled vegetables with a glass of homemade lemonade (yes – the lemonade is actually homemade!).
Austrian Airlines Offers Bento Boxes
Austrian cuisine may seem boring if you’re not familiar with it, but we doubt you’ll be bored while flying with Austrian airlines. Nik Lousak went on to name the European airline as one of the best in the world, at least where food is concerned. The options are so impressive that you can even order a bento box that is sure to please your taste buds.
“I’ll never forget this fantastic Japanese bento box – sushi, wild salmon avocado tartare, duck breast, chocolate mousse,” Lousak explained. Lousak described Austrian’s food as “restaurant quality,” adding that you can even upgrade your economy class meal if desired.
The Kids Will Love EVA Air
If you’re traveling with kids (or are just a child-at-heart), then considering booking flights with EVA Air. Lousak highly recommends EVA, mainly for their memorable Hello Kitty-themed children’s meal, which he tested out during a flight from Paris to Taipei. The kid’s meal comes complete with spaghetti and meatballs as well as a chocolate cake for dessert.
EVA Air also ranks highly amongst Reddit users. One person recommended their pork dish with rice, describing it as “amazing for an airplane meal.” Another person suggested trying the steamed chicken with vegetables and soy sauce.
Be Treated Like Royalty With Qatar Airways
The Luxury Travel Expert also recommends Qatar Airways for its impressive dining experience. Given that four celebrity chefs curated the airline’s esteemed menu - Nobu Matsuhisa, Tom Aikens, Ramzi Choueiri, and Vineet Bhatia, to be exact – this isn’t exactly surprising. The reviewer for the website noted that they tried Nobu’s meal during a first-class flight with the airline. The menu is already at the passenger’s seat when they board and it features three categories – wine, other beverages, and food. The critic described the meal as “excellent and “delicious.” They also raved over the breakfast they were served the following morning which included a “raspberry and mango smoothie, followed by a selection of seasonal fresh fruits with vanilla pannacotta.” That would definitely make a 12-hour flight better!