Best and worst airline food

I don’t know about you, but I look forward to meal times during flights. Not only does it pass the time, but I am always excited to receive the little trays and finding out what is in each of the compartments. If you’re like me, airline food can really determine the whole flight experience, so today I am breaking down what I think are three of the best and worst airline meals.

One of the worst airlines in the world, according to Skytrax, is the North Korea-based Air Koryo. Its overall quality has given its label as a ‘1-star airline’, which certainly applies to their food too. In fact, their food is notoriously terrible that LA Times coins the term ‘legendary Koryo burger’. Yes, the only thing they’re known to serve passengers are burgers, and these are not juicy, decent-tasting burgers, but a slab of dry meat and a tiny piece of lettuce in between two buns.

Next up on the list is Ukraine International Airline, whose in-flight meals are not included in the ticket fees, which means that you must pay to get the standard tray of food. The meal itself isn’t that much appealing either, despite Ukraine’s well-loved culinary heritage, and a lot of passengers have complaints about them being unappetizing and inedible. An example includes a strange chicken burger drowned in orangey sauce, low-quality dessert and a small side of salad. Talk about a bad flight indeed…

Air China is also quite reputable for its not-so-tasty meals. While they still provide a variety of international options in addition to traditional Chinese food, many passengers have complained about the poor quality. Deemed mediocre at its best, at least Air China does offer salad, fresh fruits and bread in addition to the main course.

Moving on to the best airline food, the economy class meals of Thai Airways have won multiple awards for a reason. Although delicious international options are also offered, most of their meals are inspired by Thai cuisine, including pad thai noodles, various Asian rice dishes and curries for their main course. In addition to the main selection, there is always some kind of salad, bread with butter and either fresh fruits or dessert. What is even greater, they make sure to support local farmers by using seasonal ingredients and fresh produce. Vegetarian and allergen-free options are also available upon request when booking.

Another award-winning airline meal is provided by Turkish Airlines. On shorter flights, the meals usually include Mediterranean sandwiches, starters and desserts, while on long-haul flights there are an array of dishes from across the globe cooked from fresh, seasonal ingredients. The range goes from international and continental breakfasts, Greek coffees to more local dishes like kebabs, kuru fasulye beans and sweet baklavas – the sort of street food you would find in Turkish cities like Istanbul and Ankara!

Finally, we have Qatar Airways. This luxurious airline provides in-flight meals that are tailored according to the destinations, so that passengers can taste authentic local cuisine even before landing. What’s unique about Qatar is that they serve their meals in 99 percent recyclable trays, cups and boxes. There is always an option from three main courses and a lighter choice, as well as a fresh salad or hummus dip for starter. Their specialties include meat or vegetables with rice, Malaysian curry and Indian pakora. Passengers can also request for meals for vegetarians and gluten-free alternatives.

So, how have your in-flight meal experiences been? Which airlines do you think have the best and worst food?

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Erica Thejab

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May 2022
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