Travel the World
10 Airlines With the World’s Most Decadent Plane Food
Allow these airlines to transport you to a place of blissful gluttony, where gourmet treats and fine wines abound. Never pack a boxed lunch again, and instead, kick back and indulge in these first-rate meals sandwiching your trip.
Sushi on a plane? Yes, please. The laundry list of international top-tier chefs behind Singapore Air has compiled a menu that would rival your local five-star eatery. With choices ranging from roasted rack of lamb with natural jus, roasted vegetables and creamy garlic mash to roasted sea bass with wilted spinach and glazed crab-mashed potatoes to pecan-crusted veal with red onion marmalade and candied sweet potatoes, it’s a wonder you’d do anything on their First Class flight besides chomp ’til you drop.
This culinarily-inclined airline just opened a non-stop flight from Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport to Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, so getting pampered the Turkish Airlines way has never been easier. They specialize in extending your cultural experience with “welcome aboard drinks” and fresh Turkish coffee and Turkish Delight (a sweet rosewater-based gummy treat) paired with ever-evolving, seasonal and, of course, gourmet dishes. Voted Europe’s Best Airline at the 2013 Skytrax Passengers Choice Awards, their concept of a “Flying Chef” harkens back to the idea that comfort and class are the recipe to an unforgettable meal – even above the clouds.
For an airline serving a location as culturally and gastronomically diverse as Australia and the surrounding Pacific areas, you’d expect their in-flight selection to reflect tastes as broad as the eye can see. This is precisely the case with their sample menu from Australia to Los Angeles, boasting pan-friend blue-eyed fillet with black bean and chilli, fragrant rice and gai lan, and linguine with roasted butternut pumpkin, spinach, pine nuts and sage butter. They pride themselves in cooking everything fresh on board instead of simply reheating it.
What can you expect from the airline that received the Skytrax award for best business and first-class accommodations? Some impeccable fare to the tune of a region-specific vintage wine and champagne list and a menu that rotates depending on departure location. On the Emirates airline Brisbane-to-Singapore itinerary, for example, tuck into Asian-accented braised beef rib and stir-fried lobster in black bean sauce. Salivating yet? They promise their seven-course lunch and dinner menu – served on bone china tableware on tables adorned in fine linen – is on par with that of a five-star restaurant.
In Israeli culture, Pinterest-worthy breakfasts are the norm. Start your day – or hop on the breakfast-for-dinner bandwagon – with herbed gouda, tzatziki with sweet potato fritters and fine salmon caviar. One of this airlines main courses, the shakshouka – an egg stew poached in tomato sauce, chili peppers, onions and cumin – is served in individual searing-hot pans. To add to the already-intoxicating experience, internationally-recognized wine expert Yair Haidu creates an extensive wine list in-tune with the seasons. Last year, they won three prestigious prizes in the Cellars in the Sky competition for their brands hailing from kosher Israeli wineries.
Their sample menu will ensure you never want to land. Get your protein fix the luxe way with seared beef tenderloin with watercress butter, crab cocktail, and lobster slaw. Even dishes that appear simple on the menu come to life in elaborate arrangements. But vegetarians shouldn’t feel left out: In 2009, the airline partnered with Hiltl, the first vegetarian restaurant in the world, to develop inventive meat-free meals. Of course, a proper Swiss Air meal isn’t complete without their selection of Sprüngli chocolates and Appenzeller cheeses.
The four celebrity chefs (each with at least one Michelin star under their aprons) behind the Qatar Airways bites carefully consider how our taste buds alter 30,000 feet in the air. Feast on an Iranian mixed grill of lamb chops, kefta meat and chicken tikka with broad bean saffron rice, oven-roasted mustard and dill salmon with pine nut rice, yellow dal and shredded cucumber and carrot salad. Their wine committee, including two International Masters of Wine, meets twice a year for a blind tasting, so you know the sauce is up to date.
Aboard B.A., you’ll likely never want to land after gorging on their host of fine cheeses whose descriptions are as melodic as they are indulgent: Blacksticks Blue, “a soft, blue-veined cheese with an outstanding creamy, smooth yet tangy flavour” and Quickes Farmhouse Cheddar, “spicy, caramel-flavoured with a buttery texture” complement dishes like mint, dill and lemon-cured Shetland salmon gravlax with vegetable caviar, fillet of beef with herb crust, summer vegetables, char-grilled fondant potatoes and a horseradish dill and chive sauce. Top it off with a predictable (yet oh-so-necessary) dessert of fresh-baked scones topped with clotted cream and strawberry preserves.
No sad and cold boxed pad Thai here. Royal First and Royal Silk class passengers have the option of ordering specialized meals 24 hours before their flights, where Thai award-winning chefs meticulously concoct upscale renditions of your favourite Oriental, Thai and classic Continental dishes like barbecued duck and green and massaman curry. Feast on the more mainstream likes of lobster Thermidor, grilled beef steak Rossini, pan-fried scallops Provencale and more.
You know you’re in store for a relaxing flight on board this Hong Kong-based airline that boasts a total passenger consumption of 1.65 million bottles of wine in 2013. Ease pre- and mid-flight jitters with their Louis Jadot Meursault 2011 hailing from Burgundy, France, home to some of the finest Chardonnay in the world. Cathay calls themselves one of the pioneers of in-flight rice cookers, skillets and toasters, so take advantage of fresh a la cart Chinese delicacies like chicken with soy sauce, steamed rice, shiitake mushrooms and spring onion.