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Are These the 6 Best Airlines for In-Flight Dining?

Are These the 6 Best Airlines for In-Flight Dining?
Jennifer Billock


In-flight meals are reaching new heights with fancier and tastier menus on these international airlines.

Rubbery chicken and stale sandwich bread are a thing of the past. From Michelin-starred chefs to gourmet catering, plane food has launched into a new culinary realm. These are the best of the best airlines for a delicious in-flight menu.


Every class on an Emirates flight is able to indulge in local, seasonal menu items. First Class may be getting wild Iranian caviar and braised beef served on bone china, but the chef crew doesn’t skimp for Business (try the prawn biryani) or Economy class (smoked tuna or lamb brochette, anyone?) either. The airline has a carefully sourced wine list to accompany each menu, as well.


The other flagship airline carrier of the United Arab Emirates is also lauded for its innovative and delicious menu. A wide selection of meals, vintage wines and hearty portions put these meals at the top of the list. The kitchen staff is recruited from top international restaurants and put though training emphasizing the interplay between wine and food.


Australia’s Qantas partners with an award-winning restaurant in Sydney to bring air travelers the best possible meal. Even in economy class, flyers can choose their meal online beforehand from a selection of items like Wagyu beef, yellow curry barramundi and spiced lamb koftas. Domestic flights enjoy the dining perks as well with a bigger selection and higher quality food.

Virgin America

A groundbreaking airline needs a groundbreaking food service, and Virgin America is pulling that off. Food is no longer served when the crew decides—guests can order on demand from their seat’s touchscreen. And although all the meals are sourced locally and farmer fresh, first class passengers get the best of the best: coq au vin, braised short rib, bibimbap and more.

Singapore Airlines

Meals on these flights are dedicated to honoring the regions to which the airline flies, taking into consideration season, culinary influences and the beauty of nature. Menus are tailored to the whims of the chefs (who hail from eight different countries) and three wine consultants are on hand to pick the best pairing. On top of all that, Singapore Airlines has an extensive special meal menu for dietary restrictions and a robust children’s menu.

Air France

Passengers on Air France flights are offered a selection of five menus: the menu of the day, the ocean menu (seafood and vegetables), the Italia menu (a medley of Italian tastes), the une sélection LENÔTRE menu (a handcrafted meal by chefs at a prestigious French restaurant) and the tradition menu (traditional favorites of French cuisine). And that’s just the economy class!

[Photo: Emirates]

View Comments (9)


  1. piotrger

    December 31, 2014 at 1:29 am

    And how about Turkish Airlines? LAME article…:-S

  2. orbitmic

    December 31, 2014 at 4:11 am

    I don’t mean to sound overly critical, but frankly, this looks like a largely random list to me! I have no idea how on earth Virgin America has made it to the list (if dine on demand is indeed the reason, plenty of other airlines do that too, if it is because it is arguably the least bad of US airlines catering-wise, I’m afraid this is still nowhere near good enough to make the cut internationally), nor why NH did not, QR is typically better than EK, and OS, TK, or AZ and IB in J probably deserve to be there if EK and AF are. I like QF but the new J menus feel limited compared to what they were.

  3. emma dog

    December 31, 2014 at 11:15 am

    You’ve got an interesting list and I’m unclear of the criteria you’ve used to determine the six best airlines.

    You’ve missed other airlines that are recognized for good inflight food: Cathay, ANA, and JAL for starters. Turkish has won awards for their in-flight meals. Thai won this year’s world airline awards for economy catering. Asiana is also frequently cited for their inflight meals.

  4. edgewood49

    December 31, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Having flown EK in November LAX-Dubai FC I fully agree that their food service in FC is far beyond anyone else I have flown over the last forty years of flying domestic and international.

  5. weero


    January 1, 2015 at 2:32 am

    Is this a serious article? Or has it been polled at a single location, say a gate in Dubai?

    Two British cuisine carriers on that list? It reminded me of the colloquial joke of the past that “Qantas is the safest airline in the world … if you don’t eat their food”.

    Then two halal food carriers on the same benchmark? Sure everyone’s taste is different but the food is a strong reason for me not to travel on a Middle Eastern carrier.

    No objections to SQ and AF but the rest seems extracted from a backpacker survey.

  6. OnePassenger


    January 1, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Qatar hands down!

  7. Progrowth

    January 3, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    I don’t know why Virgin America is on this list either, the food on my flight LAX – FLL on December 29 (FC) was awful. The two FC passengers in front of me sent theirs back!

  8. respectable_man

    January 3, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    Yet Air France serves (disgusting) instant coffee in Economy.

  9. Transpacificflyer

    January 4, 2015 at 3:10 am

    Has the author flown on Air France recently? I have. In the past week I had 4 alleged meals on business class long hauls, none of which was comparable in quality or palatability with some of the worst of North America’s airlines. Does the author even know that Air France serves instant coffee? I was shocked to be served ill tasting instant.
    Yes Air France serves some excellent baked goods in the air, and its wine list is always decent, but otherwise, its food is terrible and an embarrassment to french cuisine. No other airline puts its desert or 2 chunks of cheese on the business class main meal tray as does Air France .

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