Inflight delights: Our top five airline meals you’ll actually want to eat

By Tanvi Gupta
Tanvi is a graduate of the National University of Singapore, proud proponent of equal rights for all, and a self-proclaimed 'successful' content writer. Spending her time watching K-dramas, planning future travels, or scouring through doggo memes on Facebook, she is actually not an adventure-seeker and would not be seen jumping from a plane with a parachute anytime soon!

In the past, inflight meals never offered much more than a salty snack or a lukewarm meal that did little to inspire your taste buds. However, as long-haul flights become more and more popular, some airlines have made a concerted effort to up their food game. These days, flying no longer needs to be taxing and usually has plenty of creature comforts on offer!

Whether you’re on a quick domestic hop or an overnighter to the other side of the world, you don’t need to dread meal times anymore – plenty of airlines these days offer something tasty, nutritious and, dare we say it, enticing. So check out our picks of the best airline meals out there, so you don’t have to pack a snack.

Austrian Airlines

Now, you may not automatically get the best in-flight meal with Austrian Airlines, but if you do a little prep before your trip then you’ll be thanking yourself later. For breakfast, without any pre-planning, you can look forward to a yummy slice of cake which, by all means, is fine. However, if you pay to upgrade your meal, you can feast like royalty. There are 9 different meals to choose from, ranging from hot and cold breakfast options to kids’ meals and sushi bento boxes, all costing you only EUR 15.00 per meal.

We recommend opting for the hot breakfast which comes with fresh fruits, homemade muesli, scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, sautéed mushrooms, sun-ripened tomatoes, potatoes, a croissant, oven-fresh bread, and fresh orange juice. Phew – we’re not sure they could fit any more on the plate!

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Thai Airways

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If you like Thai food, then you’re in for a treat when you fly with their national carrier. The meals in economy are award-winning dishes inspired by the flavours of Thailand. Seasonal and fresh produce is sourced from the Royal Projects in northern Thailand, which are farmed sustainably and provide a livelihood for local Thai farmers. Make sure to listen out for the choices on offer for the main course – our favourite is the green curry, served with a fresh salad, fresh fruit or dessert.

If Thai food isn’t your thing, don’t fret! Thai Airways also offer options from around the world so you can enjoy some home comforts even when you’re cruising at 10,000 metres.

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Turkish Airlines

The in-flight dining experience starts as soon as you board the plan with Turkish Airlines when a chef greets you as you board the plane. If this isn’t a strong enough indication that the airline takes its catering seriously, perhaps the menus which are handed out before departure will convince you. Each passenger has a starter, a main and dessert, with fresh bread also being served separately and even if you’re only flying domestically, you’ll get a Turkish mezze to tuck into.

Before take off, check out the little paper cup containing a piece of Turkish delight and to top it off, complimentary drinks, including a small selection of wine, beer, and spirits, as well as delicious homemade lemon and mint cordial, are offered throughout the flight.

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Korean Air

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Just as with Thai Airways, when you fly with Korean, you’ll dine like a true local. For breakfast, instead of an omelette, you can expect Korean style porridge with a side package of furikake (dry Japanese seasoning) which you’re supposed to mix in for a warming and delicious wake-up. For dinner, you can choose Bibimbap, a traditional Korean dish comprising of mixed vegetables and rice. On the tray, you also get a hot seaweed soup which is seriously good!

One of the other major perks of Korean Air is the complimentary alcohol on board. As well as a range of soft drinks, you can choose from the specially selected list of wines, from regions including Chile, Australia, and France.

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Cathay Pacific

Airline food on Cathay Pacific
Photo | Cathay Pacific

For those of you who like to travel luxe, Cathay Pacific have recently announced that they are upgrading their premium service. The biggest shift will be the new a-la-carte menu, with up to three appetizer and six main course options per flight. Meals will be hand-delivered by crew members, rather than via the carts and trolleys, and for those who don’t want to be disturbed, you can request the “Room Service Breakfast” and check breakfast options on a form.

These changes are slowly being rolled out by Cathay and plan to be offered on all long-haul flights by mid-2019.

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*Note: These rates are based on search queries made on kayak.com.au on 19 June 2018. The prices are quoted in AUD. Flight prices are based on results for a return economy flight search. Hotel prices are for double occupancy and include taxes and fees. Prices are subject to change, may vary, or no longer be available

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