There’s nothing worse than paying top dollar for a little in-flight luxury, only to be served a drying bagel with a side of rubbery cheese for your lunch. With four million meals being eaten up in the clouds every day, it’s no wonder that airlines are turning to gourmet in-flight meals when it comes to tempting premium passengers.
From providing a taste of the country’s regional produce to rivalling five-star restaurants, airlines are pulling out all the stops to overhaul the image of in-flight food and create something truly tempting. We have rounded up the best airlines providing delicious in-flight dining experiences, so you can make sure your next journey is as enjoyable as it is important.
Air Canada is taking the lead in overhauling Canadian in-flight dining, with the expert help of Chef Hawksworth. He has created a gourmet selection of seasonal dishes that taste delicious even at 40,000 feet, saying: “I look forward to giving passengers a small taste of my restaurant here in Vancouver and taking my personal culinary philosophy to new heights with Air Canada.” On long haul flights passengers can enjoy an after-take-off cocktail service, followed by a starter, main, cheese board and dessert. The best dishes on offer include the poached chilled prawns, fennel, orange and celeriac puree main, the Alberta AAA beef tenderloin main, and Chef Hawksworth’s signature dark chocolate fondant.
With the motto ‘Exclusivity born of tradition. Excellence born of passion’ you’d expect Lufthansa’s Business Class Restaurant Service to be a very special in-flight experience, but its quality still might take you by surprise. You are welcomed by a personal flight attendant, who welcomes you as though you are in a five-star restaurant, before serving you delicious food on high-quality china tableware. The menu changes every two months to reflect seasonal produce, with a focus not just on individual dishes, but also the overall harmony of the menu. Highlights of the Autumn menu include filet of salmon with remoulade sauce and potato salad starter; braised beef roulade with Brussel sprouts and spätzle main; and Bavarian cream with marinated strawberries dessert.
SWISS has turned to the expertise of its home country’s chefs in order to give its business class passengers the very best taste of Switzerland. Menus are based on traditional Swiss recipes, with the aim of allowing passengers to “Experience the cultural heritage of a country through unique taste experiences”. Dishes are made with fresh, regional produce, and can be combined with Champagne or other fine wines.
ANA boast that they are connoisseurs of in-flight fine dining, with master chefs, beverage specialists and dedicated ANA chefs all working together to make in-flight food truly enjoyable. Serving Japanese cuisine, international cuisine, or local cuisine depending on the flight route, ANA has enlisted wine tasting experts specialising in each cuisine to provide pairing recommendations worthy of a top restaurant maître d’. The ‘Light Dishes’ a la carte menu on offer is also worth sampling, with the pork shabu-shabu rice bowl and choice of ramen particularly stand out.
With a reputation for promoting national products, it is little wonder that TAP’s business class menu features the culinary stars of the region. Traditional Portuguese cuisine is given a contemporary twist by top chef Vitor Sobral. Starting with an amuse bouche, the menu includes five heavenly courses, with a surprising variety of choices for starter and main. Highlights include a smoked halibut starter; a partridge with marchand de vin sauce main; and the strawberry soup dessert.
United’s collaboration with The Trotter Project, which carried on the legacy of Chef Charlie Trotter, has been instrumental in their reimagining of the in-flight dining experience. Chefs from across the globe have contributed to the expert crafting of United’s premium business class menu, making for a delicious addition to any journey. Highlights include a goat cheese and fig starter; a flat-iron steak with grilled broccolini main; and the signature United ice cream sundae with six topping choices.
When it comes to short haul flights, Eurowings’ food offerings really can’t be beaten. Teaming up with Brotzeit to revolutionise in flight food, their snacks and sandwiches give a delicious taste of the region that still taste good up among the clouds. Offering more than the usual dry, white bread, Eurowings offer sandwiches on rye breads, pretzel bread, and wholegrain, depending on which loaf most compliments the sandwich filling. A particular highlight is the Purpurbrodt Tilsiter, which combines Tilsit, cream cheese, grape sauce and mustard oil on wheat and rye bread, to create a surprisingly delicious in flight snack.
MyAustrian partners with Do & Co, one of the world’s best caterers, to provide the most tempting of inflight meals. For the Austrian business class, they have created a variety of multi-course menus with the best fresh ingredients available. What’s more, each aircraft has its own ‘Flying Chef’, who puts the final touches on your culinary treat. Not only do they serve an excellent selection of national and international wines, MyAustrian also offers a selection of ten freshly prepared Viennese coffees.
Chloe Ravat is the Marketing Communications Manager at PartnerPlusBenefit, a loyalty rewards scheme for business passengers aboard 10 of the world’s leading airlines.