The top 10 airline meals
Passengers flying in the United States might be forgiven for thinking onboard meals are a thing of the past, but elsewhere airlines are discovering that the best way to passengers’ hearts is through their stomachs. Even though most U.S. domestic flights no longer provide meals or offer only overpriced sandwiches, on international flights many countries’ airlines are serving up gourmet gastronomical treats. From caviar and Dom Perignon champagne to the culinary expertise of top chefs and onboard rice cookers, airlines are going the extra mile to lure passengers, particularly in their first and business classes.
Every two months, Lufthansa enlists the expertise of a new star chef to prepare its first and business class menus on intercontinental flights from Germany. During the months of May and June, first and business class passengers on Lufthansa can look forward to meals prepared by Swiss chef Reto Mathis. Appetizers on the first class menu include crayfish and avocado timbale with lime crème fraiche. Entrees include traditional Swiss escalope guinea fowl with air dried beef and sage, pumpkin goulash and curd spatzle. German chef Ralf Zacherl has been creating the kid-tested children’s menu since May 2007. Featured here is ‘Tiger’s Tail’ — a rolled pancake filled with chicken and vegetables. For dessert is the ‘Little Martian’: an alien creature made from mousse and strawberry puree with chocolate drops for eyes and licorice sticks for antennae.
9. Austrian Airlines
The upscale Austrian catering company DO & CO creates the meals for Austrian Airlines. An onboard chef adds a gourmet touch to the dining experience, starting passengers off with an ‘amuse gueule’ — an intensely flavored bite-sized morsel of the chef’s creation. That is followed by a selection of appetizers and traditional soups, three options for the main course, and finally cheese, fruits and dessert. The rack of lamb is one of the main course options in business class.
8. Etihad Airways
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways offers more than 20 special meals for those with religious, cultural or dietary needs. Business and first class passengers may dine at any time during the flight, choosing from a la carte or kitchen menus. Reflecting the United Arab Emirates’ traditional position as a major crossroads for trade between different cultures, Etihad Airways’ meals draw from European, Western, Asian and Middle Eastern influences. The dish pictured here, cinnamon rice pudding with sticky toffee sauce, is an example.
7. Cathay Pacific Airways
Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific operates a full kitchen out of airports in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vancouver and Toronto. The flight kitchen in Hong Kong is one of the largest in the world, with specialized sections for Kosher, Halal and Japanese food as well as an on-site bakery. The airline is also one of the first to have onboard rice cookers, toasters and skillets. This business class meal of pork chops, mixed salad and dinner roll is just one of a plethora of options. Vegetarian and religious meals are also offered.
6. Air France
Guy Martin, a Parisian chef and “art of living” consultant, prepares the first class menu for Air France. The airline offers a range of hors d’oeuvres, main courses and desserts, a bread basket, cheese plate and espresso drinks. The plum tartlet is included on the dessert cart, along with other pastries, fresh fruit and petit fours (small cakes).