Airline Food – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Everything About Airplane Food

Last updated on Sep 5th, 2023 by Heena Ganotra

Let’s admit it, airline food doesn’t have the most stellar reputation. When it comes to it, most people think of peanuts, pretzels, and stale meals. Fortunately, things are changing and airlines all over the world are working to improve overall service quality. Some of these improvements to ensure you no longer have to ask, ‘can I take food on domestic flights?’ Let’s explore everything you need to know about airline food:

What’s the Deal With Airline Food?

While this isn’t the case all the time, airplane meals can be unsatisfactory sometimes. There are a few reasons why airline food might not taste great. 

  • It’s cooked at high altitudes and that can have an impact on the flavour and texture of the meal.
  • Most meals, especially Economy airline food, are often mass-produced and not made fresh. That can make the meals appear stale or bland.
  • Airplane food is served in small portions, so you might not be getting enough to really satisfy your hunger.
  • Most airlines focus on food items that are easy to pack and transport, instead of thinking of how they would taste.

These are often the reasons why airline food may taste bad. It’s not always the case, especially these days. Many airlines have started to focus on providing better meals, especially to long-haul passengers.

Companies Offering Good Airplane Food Menu

If you’re looking for an airline that offers great food, you’re in luck! Some carriers are known for their fantastic meal options and variety. You don’t need to power through lacklustre meals on your journey. In fact, many airlines are now offering gourmet food options to their passengers. Here are a few of the best:

1. Air France

Unsurprisingly, Air France offers a variety of gourmet food options, including Michelin-starred meals. France’s National Carrier is known for its wide selection of delicious meal and snack items. You get a meal regardless of your destination or travel class. You can enjoy free food on long-haul flights or purchase alternatives. 

2. Emirates

Emirates is well-known for its service quality and the plane food certainly doesn’t disappoint. Emirates offers a wide variety of international cuisine options, including dishes from Michelin-starred chefs. They offer a full-plate with fruits, crackers, salad, and cheese! Emirates also offers great tea due to their partnership with Dilmah Luxury teas.

3. Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways is also well-known for its quality of service so it isn’t surprising that the airline has a good in-flight menu. It offers passengers a chance to sample cuisine from around the world, including Michelin-starred dishes. There’s also a gourmet vegan menu available for people with different food requirements. All items are freshly prepared to deliver the best taste and texture.

4. Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines is well-known for its in-flight meals and service quality. It also offers offers a wide variety of gourmet food options, including Michelin-starred meals. Their chefs consider different factors affecting the meal’s taste and texture, including air cabin pressure. This ensures all meals taste good. The meals are filling and delicious at the same time, which makes Singapore airlines inflight menu very appealing.

5. Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific offers a good selection of meal options so passengers get a chance to sample cuisine from around the world, including Michelin-starred dishes. You can enjoy delights like seasonal food, snacks, sweets, and tasty beverages. You will get a full meal during meal times on your Cathay Pacific flight. 

6. Qantas

Qantas Airways has a very comprehensive inflight menu, one of the most comprehensive provided in the industry today! For flights from India to Australia, Qantas offers specialized meals to suit the Indian palate. There are also plant-based meal options and food for special dietary requirements available. 

7. Virgin Australia

Do you get food on Virgin flights? Yes. The airline offers great food options and a comprehensive menu. You can purchase dishes you like and enjoy a full meal onboard. Water, tea, and coffee are complimentary on Virgin Australia flights. 

8. Air New Zealand

New Zealand’s national carrier doesn’t shy away from great food. You get to sample New Zealand’s fresh and innovative flavours on your journey. You can also enjoy some of the unique wines available onboard during your trip. 

These are some of the biggest airlines that offer some of the best airline food. Don’t worry! You won’t need to deal with bland flavours and unpleasant meals while you’re travelling with these carriers. 

Food to Bring on an Airplane

If you’re still worried about meals and think you won’t be full with just airline food, we have a few tips on what types of food to bring on an airplane. When bringing food on an airplane, it is important to consider what types of food will be the most comfortable and easy to eat while sitting in a small space. Airplane food can be notoriously unhealthy and expensive, so packing your own food is often a healthier and more budget-friendly option. Some good food options to bring on an airplane include: 

  • Snacks that are easy to eat with your hands, like granola bars, trail mix, or dried fruit
  • Fruit that doesn’t need to be peeled, like apples or bananas
  • Comfort foods that are easy to eat with a fork or spoon, like pasta, rice, or soup
  • Sandwiches or wraps that can be eaten with your hands

Avoid bringing food that is messy or difficult to eat in a small space, like chicken wings or sushi. Also, be sure to pack any necessary utensils to have a comfortable experience. You can also pack some chocolate, candies, and chips. Make sure you’re not packing something too salty, spicy, or odorous. 

Can You Take Food onto an International Flight?

If you’re flying internationally with food, there are a few things you need to know. Let’s look at the factors you need to consider:

  • 1. Check the rules of the airline you’re flying with. Some airlines have restrictions on what kinds of food you can bring on board. 
  • 2. Make sure to pack food that is non-perishable and doesn’t need to be refrigerated. 
  • 3. Try to pack food that doesn’t have a strong smell. This will make it more comfortable for your fellow passengers.
  • 4. You will need to make sure the meals remain within the prescribed weight and size limits. 
  • 5. Don’t pack anything that isn’t allowed as these items will be tossed out during the security check in.

If you’re flying to a country with different food customs, it’s a good idea to research what kinds of food are available at your destination. This way, you can pack food that you know you’ll be able to eat. It’s also a good idea to pack snacks that you can eat on the plane. This will help you stay comfortable and avoid getting hungry during your flight. Some of the food you can take on international flights include:

  • Fruits, nuts, and dried fruits
  • Sandwiches
  • Granola bars and trail mixes
  • Chocolates and candies
  • Finger foods that can be packed easily

You may also want to look at the regulations of your destination country before packing any food items. 

Is Airplane Food Healthy?

Airplane food has been getting a bad rap lately, but is it really all that unhealthy? Sure, airplane food may not be the most gourmet meal you’ve ever had. But it’s not exactly fast food either. In fact, most airplane meals are made with fresh, healthy ingredients. The main problem with airplane food is that it’s often high in sodium. This is because airlines need to add salt to their food to help prevent food poisoning. So, if you’re on a low-sodium diet, you may want to avoid airplane food. Other than that, there’s really no need to worry about the healthfulness of airplane food. So go ahead and enjoy your next meal at 30,000 feet!

Can You Take Food on Domestic Flights?

Yes, you are allowed to bring food with you on a domestic flight. Most airlines don’t have any restrictions on food, so you can bring whatever you like. However, keep in mind that food can be a hassle to travel with. It can be messy and take up a lot of space, so it is best to pack light. Also, be sure to pack any perishable items in a cooler with ice packs. We recommend following the same tips we offered for international flights above. Carry items that are easy to pack and eat. Most people prefer fruits like grapes, apples (if you’re comfortable eating the skin as well,) strawberries, etc. You can also pack sandwiches and granola bars to ease hunger pangs.

Unique Approaches to Plane Food

You can enjoy many unique and interesting approaches to food onboard. Many airlines have started to offer tailored dining services to entice more passengers away from the competition. Here’s a look at some options:

  • 1. Buffet Style – Airlines offer a variety of food that is both healthy and tasty. There are usually options for both breakfast and lunch, as well as snacks throughout the day.
  • 2. A La Carte – On select airlines, you can order a la carte food from a variety of restaurants. This can be a great way to get a taste of the local cuisine without having to spend a lot of money.
  • 3. Themed Dinners – Airlines often have themed dinners that are cooked by celebrity chefs. These are often high-priced but well worth the experience.
  • 4. Inflight Bars – Many airlines have in-flight bars that serve alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. This is a great way to relax after a long flight.

These are just some of the many interesting experiences you can have. Some airlines also try to introduce passengers to new cuisines. For example, if you’re on an Air India flight from Sydney to New Delhi, you may get to sample some delicious Indian dishes.

Now that you know what to expect from airline food, you can plan your trip accordingly. What’s most important is to remain healthy and avoid food that may upset your stomach or impact your health. 

FAQs

Q. Why does airplane food taste bad?

Ans: Airplane food tastes bad because it is often mass-produced and unsuitable for high altitudes. Many airlines also don’t use fresh ingredients, which can make the food taste stale. 

Q. Is food free on airplanes?

Ans: This depends on the carrier you choose. Some airlines offer free meals while others don’t. It also depends on the class you travel to. In most cases, premium classes will offer free meals. 

Q. Can you take snacks on a plane?

Ans: Yes! You can take snacks on a plane, just make sure the snacks are suitable for air travel and fit the regulations. 

Are you ready to travel now that you know what you can eat onboard? 

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However, if you are still in Australia and aren’t planning to board flights to India yet, you can satiate the cravings of your Indian heart by treating yourself to Hindustani dishes in AUS itself. Some of the best Indian restaurants in Australia that you can try are as follows –

Hope you enjoy the food and get to experience the authentic spices of Indian food in India soon! 🙂 

About Heena | View Posts

A writer by both passion and profession, Heena Ganotra is "half agony, half hope" but all heart. And oh, she has been a book lover from the start! Her love for books is what convinced her to make a career in the wonderful world of words. She loves what she does and is out-and-out a satisfied soul with a wish to spread happiness and kindness in abundance. Insight- Some say she is living the best life anyone could because she reads, writes, travels, and makes merry. They’re right because what else does one really need! :)

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