The 13 airlines with the best (and worst) food

Depending on which of these airlines you fly, you may get served a delectable meal on bone china or a snack box of junk food.

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Airlines with best and worst food
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Airlines with best and worst food

BEST: TAP Portugal

Portugal’s national airline flies to numerous European and other international destinations, and meals are included on all flights for all classes, with the size depending on the length of the flight. What makes TAP’s food so yummy is a menu that focuses on Portuguese products and traditional desserts, including delectable meats and cheeses and endless wine from the Douro Valley. The cuisine is well-rounded and authentic, and there are options for vegetarians and vegans, too. Find out the 8 secrets airline gate agents won’t tell you.

BEST: Emirates

It comes as no surprise that Emirates makes the list of best food options: The airline, based in Dubai, is known for its luxury; fly first class and you’ll enjoy a seven-course spread. In business and first class, meals are served on Royal Doulton fine bone china with exclusive Robert Welch cutlery. But even economy fliers get enjoyable bites, like slices of smoked tuna served with marinated vegetable salad, charcoal-grilled lamb brochette with cinnamon-scented sauce, and sticky date pudding.

BEST: Swiss International Airlines

Swiss Airlines offers the Taste of Switzerland program, which highlights different regions of the country through food. In first class, passengers can expect a gourmet dish inspired by the country’s Maîtres de Cuisine (essentially food historians). Although menus rotate every three months, much like a farm-to-table restaurant, a sample dish is beef tenderloin with ofetori (an egg dish) or Nidwalden-style mashed potatoes made with veal bacon and cheese. Find out the 13 surprising things your airline knows about you.

BEST: Singapore Airlines

It’s no surprise that Singapore Airlines, which dubs itself “the world’s most awarded airline,” has a top-notch culinary reputation. In fact, the airline has collaborated with chefs who own Michelin-starred restaurants, including Singaporean culinary maestro Sam Leong, Suzanne Goin of Los Angeles’ Lucques, Carlo Cracco of the Michelin-two-star restaurant of the same name in Milan, and Matthew Moran of one of Sydney’s finest restaurants. The “Book the Cook” service allows first-class passengers to select their gourmet main course at least 24 hours before departure, while economy class passengers can expect appetizers like potato salad with baby shrimp and entrées like wok-fried chicken and bamboo shoots in sesame oil.

BEST: Lufthansa

The largest German airline, Lufthansa focuses its cuisine on flavors of the European continent and the Mediterranean. Economy passengers will be delighted that their cuisine isn’t a mere afterthought to their higher-flying counterparts. In fact, the airline is known for providing nourishing snacks and meals, including crispy croissants, juicy fruits, rich soups, and even Bavarian beers. Travelers with various specific dietary needs are taken care of with menus that include gluten-free meals and low-cholesterol foods. Check out these 16 air travel tips to know before your flight.

BEST: Asiana Airlines

One of South Korea’s two major airlines, Asiana Airlines capitalizes on the country’s foodie-mecca status. The catering team behind the airline brings fliers downright delicious tastes from Gangnam’s piping-hot popular food courts and Seoul’s barbecue joints. Economy passengers will love the Korean noodles, spicy soups, Japanese-style dishes, and fresh vegetable salads. Check out the 18 things you should never do on an airplane.

BEST: Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines provides passengers with a taste of Turkey that’ll get fliers excited about the country before landing. Economy class passengers are served fresh Mediterranean sandwiches, entrées like satay chicken with grilled zucchini and tomato, hummus, cold and hot continental breakfast, and rich and gritty Greek coffees.

BEST: Delta Airlines

Delta earns a spot on the best-airline-food list for its commitment to healthy eating, having teamed up with Luvo, a food company that offers a variety of healthy frozen meals, including high-protein, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. The yummy choices include the sesame grilled chicken wrap, Mediterranean veggie wrap, and the tapas snack box, which is GMO-free.

WORST: Spirit Airlines

It’s no secret that Spirit Airlines is a no-frills airline, but just how disappointing is its food selection? The short answer is that you’d do well to bring your own food and drink. Most of the snack options on board are packaged junk food, such as the 440-calorie banana-nut muffin, or a snack box of Wheat Thins, almonds, Oreos, Welch’s Fruit Snacks, and more. Find out the foods you can—and can’t—bring on board an airplane.

WORST: Hawaiian Airlines

Although Hawaiian Airlines is one of the last U.S. carriers to serve free hot meals and offers a wide range of onboard snacks to buy, such as the “Pau Hana Cart” in economy class, the airline’s food is high in calories and offers a low nutritional profile. In fact, the average meal contains nearly 970 calories!

WORST: Aeroflot

Russian airline Aeroflot isn’t known for a lot, but it certainly gets a lot of attention for its terrible food. Fliers have called the cuisine bland, with poor preparation that often results in meals that are either under- or overcooked. As for the presentation, it looks more like slop than anything you would want to eat. Is your go-to airline safe? These are the top 20 safest airlines in the world.

WORST: Ryanair

This budget airline doesn’t impress its customers with impeccable food. In fact, despite appetizing menu picks like ham-and-cheese croissants, Mediterranean paninis, and sweet-and-sour chicken, you’ll have a hard time identifying the meal you get. Here are 4 secret ways to get a better airline meal.

WORST: Frontier Airlines

Penny-pinching carrier Frontier Airlines doesn’t even offer nutritional information for its in-flight food offerings, which makes the healthfulness of the meals questionable off the bat. The limited snack menu includes junk food like Twizzlers, Chex Mix, and Pringles. The bottom line? Bring your own food—just make sure it’s not one of these 10 foods you should never buy at the airport.

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