Meals on Planes

After a long break because of Covid, my work traveling has returned with a bit of vengeance to make up for lost time. Since I get a fair amount of my meals on planes as I left on my last trip I took a picture and I thought I would start a thread on the food we eat while traveling on planes.

I had a last minute trip that I made to the other coast. As this was a longer trip, travel policy fortunately allows me to be up front. Flew out on Delta.

I had the shrimp salad for dinner. Actually better than I expected. Shrimp was well seasoned and not overcooked. There was a little bowl of fruit that was tasteless. For dessert the cheesecake with fruit compote was very good. Not too cheesy or sweet which is the way I like it. Had a Chardonnay with dinner followed with the usual Woodford Reserve bourbon.


The trip was very short. Fly out one night. Sleep. Run around to meetings and then head back to the airport to get the last flight before the gap the leads to the red eyes. Headed back to NYC on American.

A salad which I ate and then realized I had forgotten to take a picture. So the spot north of the little shrimp plate is where the salad was. The shrimp was on a little bed of slaw. Rubbery. Short rib with a sort of spicy mac n cheese. The mac n cheese was the best part. Decent Pinot for the wine. The flight attendant cleared the tray and I was getting ready to settle in for a little nap and then she came back with dessert. A sherbert or cheese course were the options. I went with the cheese.

Was okay. Would have thought they could have had a more interesting set of cheese.


I was cautioned early on to avoid seafood on planes.

Only exception I recall was when Emirates was serving lobster tails and I couldn’t resist (but I was on a personal trip not a work trip, so while food poisoning would have sucked, it would not have derailed anything).

I’ve been carrying my own food on planes for years, because the offerings whether in coach or business / first are just not reliable I’ve had inedible food in First on United and fantastic food in Economy on Singapore.

Back in the day when I was doing 1-day west coast roundtrips (7am out, redeye back), the meal was easily skipped in lieu of a real dinner before the airport.


I prefer one day trips too to avoid losing too much time. My usual trip is the first flight out around 6:30 and the flight back at around 4 which means I get back home around 1 am. Usually have enough time for a meeting or two and lunch. People think I am nuts but I like to sleep in my own bed. This time I had to go the night before as I was starting meetings at 8:30.

I hear ya on getting better food before getting on the plane but sometimes you just don’t have the time.


Yeah. My schedule used to be a meeting before lunch, a lunch meeting, an afternoon meeting or two, and an early client dinner before the redeye. 5 meetings was a very productive day.

(When I moved employers, a new colleague pulled me aside to request that I not tell people my travel schedule, because he just couldn’t do it. He explained that he was older, needed to fly out the evening before to get a full night’s sleep, and couldn’t do a redeye at all anymore. So I told him he need not worry about being “outed” — I’d just go along with his preferred schedule instead of mine. Much healthier.)

Maybe it’s some kind of weird food insecurity, but even if it’s a sandwich and fruit / chips from the airport, I always pick up something. Too many delays and too many flights with nothing edible.


professional seat tester here . . .

I was going to say do indeed make a photo-log/blog of ‘meals-of-the-present’ - which lasted for one post, because the second post . . . been there, been done that . . .

as much as I dis-do fast food, I have been known to stop on the way to the airport to satiate the need to even consider 36k feet+ airplane food.
in (upgrade) top tier, I’d say the food was reasonably non-barfable, but not really anything “good” - that was some years back, I see not much has changed . . .

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Highly recommend Turkish Airlines First Class. My best airplane food experience, ever.

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Our experience is that a particular onboard meal is a function of several variables such as which caterer does which airline use at which airport, before you get to airline’s “reputation” or marketing strategy or meal cost budget for your flight. Two big food service operators are Gate Gourmet and LSG Sky Chefs. Airlines do advertise their beverages, such Delta’s Woodford Reserve “competing” with United’s Buffalo Trace, so while a round trip’s catering may be wildly different for the two flights, you can usually count on your drink order.


As far as cattle class meals (are they included in your query?) go, the best - and by best I mean relative to the endless parade of “variations” on chicken or pasta was on recent flights in PremiumPlus on United, which seems to be a kind of biz class light: actual plates, cutlery, glasses, etc… Food was flavorful & a curry actually had some heat to it (and half a sliced pepper on top which I ate with gusto).

Other than that, the 2 or 3 times I was randomly upgraded to business class. Filet mignon with spinach, good salad & dressing.

The best plane food I have generally had was on Olympic & Singapore airlines, even lowly cattle class.

When was this?

I had heard stories of Cathay and Singapore from my dad’s years of extensive travel, but never flown any Asian carriers myself until last year. Singapore blew me away. You can choose every meal from a menu with several options as soon as you book your flight: I think it was 3 or 4 meals over 18 hours. They ranged from good to excellent, as did the service.


Also with those giant chunks, there’s rarely a knife provided.

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  1. I think I still have the little turquoise plastic salt and pepper shakers somewhere.

Neither Cathay nor Singapore has ever fallen short in food, beverage, and service offerings.

We’ve been around long enough to experience the CAB deregulating domestic fares and the airlines making the transition from competing on amenities to competing on price. On one Chicago to West Coast trip, somehow we were seated in front for dinner that was rack of lamb carved on the service cart, . . . never again the likes of which would ever appear.


Maybe I should start a new thread, “food I’ve had on long Bus trips. I could compare the Club Sandwich I ate in Houlton ME, (not very good) to the KFC I got in Houghton Lake MI, (salty.)


This is one of my fav websites, they’ve been going since 2001–

If you use an ad blocker be prepared to close the nag screen every time you click a new review. I don’t mind that…ok, I am annoyed but just accept it. What’s more annoying is it auto-scrolls multiple images in a review & no way to shut that off in browser settings.

From the mid 70’s to late 90’s I was often in the air – for college & friend visits & then for biz. I was completely clueless about airline food & just accepted whatever they had. Usually ate it all too-- I suspect food insecurity there-- like “OMG, this will the only food for X HOURS!” :scream: :grin:

There’s no TK first class.
But yes, I’ve found their catering to be among the (much) better options available. It’s a company called Do & Co; I think they’re from Austria?

Airline meals? My ears are burning.

As long as the flight safely lands at its intended destination, that’s the goal, right?
Edible airline food is just a bonus.

Years ago, I started to order the Hindu meal on flights where I knew the usual offerings were odious to my palette. Although Delta once gave me an anomaly consisting of two slices of mandarin orange, and a cube of couscous, ordering the Hindu meal is usually a safe bet.

As for airlines in economy class where the food is more digestible than not, Turkish Airlines has been the most consistent in my experience.

In business (or those two times, first class), Turkish Airlines, and both Japanese carriers have done it well.

For airline lounges, Emirates’ home base versions are a culinary tour de force … as far as lounges go


Wow, nice spread! We mostly grab a bite at the airport, given the usually abysmal plane offerings. Even a lowly sandwich will be better than most anything offered aboard.

At least in Europe, many of the airport hubs have supermarkets. I believe they were mainly for the airport employees, who before taking that all-too convenient public transportation back home, could get shopping done while “at work.”

Regardless of where I’m flying/which class I’m in, a trip to the supermarket nearly always precedes a flight! How about for you, over in Germany? Same custom?

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Not really. I tend to opt for one of the many (chain :frowning: ) bakeries and grab a nice Baguettebrötchen with salami & cheese, or an Eibrötchen :slight_smile: