Airline food has been the butt of many a joke since Jerry Seinfeld’s iconic sketch about the subject aired on Saturday Night Live in the early ’90s. As much as we like to laugh about it, the truth is that poor-quality food has the potential to make or break an air travel experience. While most plane food leaves much to be desired, some airlines take a more serious approach to their culinary offerings, providing passengers with delicious meals that wouldn’t be out of place at upscale restaurants. Read on to learn more about which ones.
If there’s one country whose airline we’d expect to have top-quality food, it’s France. In traditional French fashion, the ingredients used to prepare Air France meals are carefully selected and locally sourced, with Michelin-star chefs commissioned to oversee development and serve on designated “tasting committees.” And, because it’s France, all meals are served with a side of bread, cheese, and complimentary wine.
Emirates is best-known for the distinct beige and red uniforms donned by its flight attendants, but its meal offerings are proof that the airline is committed to more than just fashion. All passengers are provided with multicourse meals inspired by the culinary traditions of the region, many of which also happen to be vegetarian. Those in first-class also have the option to enjoy bottomless champagne free of charge.
Travelers heading to or from the Land of the Rising Sun with Japan Airlines can look forward to enjoying thoughtfully-crafted meals designed to highlight the flavors of the country’s cuisine. Many are developed by celebrity chefs using local ingredients like fresh fish, seaweed, and seasonal vegetables, though business-class passengers have the option to choose a “Western-style” meal if they prefer. Japanese meals are served in bento boxes with a pair of chopsticks and a little red origami crane—a symbol of luck and hospitality.