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Airline Food: The good, the bad and the ugly

David Ross

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4 hours ago, rotuts said:

And they have The Clipper :




FDR took it.


Indiana Jones took it


before my time


I didn't take it.


My Loss,

...and a woman I worked with was a stewardess on the clipper when she was younger.  She actually had to hide the fact she had gotten married until she began to show with her first child.  She was a gteat resource for a bunch of papers at the library for me as she was a primary source.

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Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.


Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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12 hours ago, heidih said:

Ha! 1965- the beginning of charter flights to Europe. I think we had to bring our own  - no food service that I can recall...


Hey, I took a charter flight to Europe in the 1960's.  Dinner and wine were exceptional.  Never mind that my friend and I had had a full dinner and more than a little wine at JFK before boarding.


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Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward


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This is an interesting discussion thread at flyertalk.com with the menus from hundreds of flights and dozens of different airlines.  There are both older and newer menus and each post has the aircraft type and destination info.  Not a lot of pictures but interesting menus.  There is also a section of flyertalk.com for trip reports from frequent fliers that does show some photos of what airlines are currently serving.  Most of it looks awful with the exception being on long-haul international first class.


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when I was in HS, mid-60's  I became friends w one of my father's graduate students


as he was an avid wood-worker as I had that interests in JH and HS.


his wife was a stewardess , and also " single '  she was on a United route that was coveted :


SFO to Hawaii.   she fit the " certain mold '  what was determined back then for United Stewardess's


the route was coveted for time considerations , layovers and passenger types in first class .


there was  a fringe benefit :  all the macadamia nuts you could carry off the plane 


more or less.  macadamia nuts were rare on The Mainland  , unless you had a United Connection .

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Reminds me of a story.    I had a roommate who was the world's biggest ditz.     Very bright, but her mind on the moon or Mars.    She asked me for a ride to her flight attendant interview at SF airport.    She got the job and told me, "If you're ever on one of my flights, I'll give you the best service you'll ever have."    I responded, "If you find me on one of your flights, just let me know before we take off so i can get off the plane."

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eGullet member #80.

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I was in airline management for 28 years for Horizon/Alaska.  The most senior flight attendant I supervised had started working for Northwest "Orient" in 1957.  She was in the group that was forced to quit if they got married or pregnant.  Some years later she came to work at Horizon in the early 1980's.  She was part of a lawsuit claiming they were wrongly terminated on marriage. It got all the way to the Supreme Court and the NW Flight Attendants won a large compensation. She had tons of photos, old menus and great stories to share.  I remember a photo of her with her crew that flew on the DC-6, (not a jet), from Seattle to Honolulu.  Now that was some trek.  And all the wonderful food went along in those days.

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@chefmd - the first class lounge pictures are another post where we need a "WOW" response button!  


@rotuts - I remember those macadamia nuts!  Growing up my parents best friends were a couple I envied so much.  She was a travel agent, so got free rooms everywhere in the world and he was an executive with United.  Part of his job was flying on every Washington Redskins flight.  He also had seemingly unlimited mini packets of macadamia nuts.  I'm not sure which I envied more!  It was my first exposure to them and I was forever hooked. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here's an article from the October 17 Washington Post about airline food. It's pretty basic, but I was stunned by the info and pics about AeroFarms, toward the end of the article.



Sometimes food on a plane sets the tone for your trip, like a baguette and wine on Air France or an ube pastry on Philippine Airlines. Sometimes food on a plane absolutely fails to do that, like the ambiguous goo an airline served to me as “pasta” on a flight to Chile.


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"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1


Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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@Alex  Great article.  In the late '60s I used to fly between Ottawa and Toronto, which is a short hop.  Without fail, a hot meal was served with real silverware, china, etc.  I don't know how they managed it, but they did, every single time.  Flying to Eurooe you'd get dinner and breakfast, and a snack in between if you so desired.   What gets me now, though, is paying for a seat.  My husband and I travel together and to make sure we sit together, we pay to reserve two seats.  I mean, really?  It's not as though you can stand on the way to wherever.

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  • 1 month later...

I’m flying tomorrow on United from EWR to SFO, business or first class (this flight has no distinction between the two). 
  I called United via our mileage plus card to see if they could tell me what the meal would be. 
   That said I will be pissed if they serve the usual “cold duck” appetizer, the basic salad (which I will eat) and the choice of fish or chicken. And our course the usual ice cream sundae. 
  Having had laser gum reduction surgery On Monday I can’t eat a lot of things. Otherwise I’d get a nice fat burger from the airport to go. 
 I probably should have asked for a kosher meal. 

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Oh the worst ever was LAX to SYD on United with an 8 month old. Asked the hostess to heat a formula bottle I had on ice. She said "no just tuck it between your breasts" Huh!?  The grown up food - not worth the tummy space...

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I've had fish/seafood on some flights in SE Asia and they've been quite good.  I was surprised how good the calamari and shrimp dish that I had on Singapore Airlines (in Economy) was... both were perfectly cooked.


In about a month, my wife and I will be heading to New Zealand, via Singapore - yes, it's really out of the way, but the flight was less than half the price of going via Air New Zealand.


Singapore Airlines has a new thing - not only do flights leaving out of many airports have a "book the cook" where famous chefs design a meal - this makes like 8 choices, on top of the 3 choices for the standard inflight menu.  You choose your dishes in advance - up to 2 days in advance or something like that.  The last flight we did over teh summer we did that, but the problem was that we had no idea what the inflight menu would be... Now, you can choose between book teh cook and the inflight menu - they tell you those choices in advance as well... So that's like 11 choices for each meal, in Economy! (well technically it's Premium Economy, but on the direct flight from NY area to Singapore they only have Biz and PE).

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I slept through breakfast and have no regrets. We were delayed by less than 2 hours so we had breakfast at the SF Giants bar and a couple of drinks and I slept 90% of the way home. We were lucky not be delayed longer. 
   That said they didn’t offer the “wraps” on either flights. Kinda of annoying. Those business class transcontinental flights aren’t cheap and they let economy plus use the bathrooms which meant lines and people bumping into me and waking me up. 


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  • 4 weeks later...
On 12/3/2019 at 12:41 AM, MetsFan5 said:

Those business class transcontinental flights aren’t cheap and they let economy plus use the bathrooms which meant lines and people bumping into me and waking me up. 



They let people use the bathrooms??!!  


How dare them!

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Recently came back from New Zealand, via Singapore with Singapore Airlines.  About 30 hours of flying each way.  Singapore Airlines (SA) had great service and good food, as in the past.  We flew Premium Economy, which is the lowest fair class in the direct flight from New York to Singapore (there's only biz and PE), which then put us in PE for the Sing-NZ flight, which has 3 classes.  As I've stated before, there are a ton of meal choices on SA - in addition to the 3 inflight choices (which I was able to choose from in advance on their website/app), there are also about 8-9 choices that can be used on any flight from their "Book the Cook" series, which you order in advance on the website/app.  On my last flight to Singapore, I chose 100% book the cook, but this flight, I mixed and matched.... So, without further ado...


The menu:






All flights started with:



I chose green tea, but you could have had your pick of beverages to go with your snack.



This was from book the cook, herb roasted chicken with potatoes, veggies - quite good - everything was well cooked, except the broccoli, which I didn't touch - not because of how it was cooked, but because it was broccoli.  Broccoli is to me as corn is to @liuzhou.



Dessert after lunch.



Someone, I don't know whether it was teh in-flight staff or the caterers (they flight attendant said it was the caterers fault) made a mistake and made the Baked 3 cup chicken the lunch dish - but I had preordered it for dinner.  So, when dinner came around, they did not have it prepared - so I was forced to choose another on the fly.  I got the prawns with potatoes and veggies in a light cream sauce.  It was tasty and the shrimp were perfectly cooked, even though the potatoes and veggies were a bit redundant, and I was looking forward to the 3 cup chicken.  The flight attendant evidently relayed the situation to the head flight attendant, who came by and apologized profusely and then offered me a SGD$75 gift certificate good for anything in their shopping catalog, valid for a year. I initially refused it saying that it wasn't a big deal, but he wouldn't take no for an answer.  I wound up using it on a gigantic bottle of flaxseed oil capsules on the last leg of my return journey.


Random snack:


Pizza and tiramisu.  The pizza was serviceable but the tiramisu was really good.



Singapore to Christchuch (NZ):






Hainanese chicken rice (from book teh cook)... complete with chili sauce and sweet soy sauce.  chicken was super tender and very tasty but the bok choi was not, unfortunately - it looks to have died a long time ago.


I wound up not getting the mid-flight snack as I was sleeping - by that time, we had already gone through an 18 hour flight and a 2.5 hour layover in Singapore, plus the time to get ready and to the airport in NY early enough, we had been up for probably about 24+ hours at that point.



Breakfast before landing in Christchurch - cheong fun with siu mai.  Quite tasty - even the croissant was good - light and flaky.




Edited by KennethT (log)
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The return journey - Christchurch, NZ to New York, via Singapore:






Mee goreng with shrimp/squid.  As before, teh seafood was cooked perfectly.  The mee goreng had a really good flavor - a little spicy and lots of spices used.



Dessert served after lunch



Ravioli bolognese - the meat sauce was quite good, and the pasta was nicely done - not mushy at all.  The appetizer shrimp glass noodle salad had a vietnamese flavor to it.  The dessert was also really tasty.


Singapore to NY:







Chicken biryani (book teh cook).  My wife had gotten this on our last trip and really liked it, and I can see why - it was really good.  Better than most biryani I've had in NY, I'm sad to say.



Stir fried chicken with garlic chives.  This was also really tasty - chicken was boneless dark meat - noodles had a good texture.  The croissant was really good, and the fruit was really good too - there were some chunks of pineapple that I was savoring...



Coconut mousse and passionfruit puree - I must have had 3 or 4 of these - if you took it out of the plastic cup and put in on a plate, you would think you were in a restaurant.  The mousse had a great coconut flavor and was light and airy and the puree on top was sour in a really good way.



Mid-flight snack...


Edited by KennethT (log)
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