I’ve always thought that airplane food had a notoriously bad reputation among flight passengers. Inedible mystery meat? No thank you. Packaged food that’s been in a carton for who knows how long? I’ll pass. But in the past several years, airline companies have made efforts to revamp their menus to fit the changing food preferences of consumers and increased emphasis on an enjoyable onboard dining experience.
Airlines made these changes across the board, not just for higher-paying first-class passengers. They’ve improved in-flight cuisine to reflect the flight’s origin or destination, freshness/in-season availability and consumers’ demands.
Last week, we lived off of airplane meals as we made our three-day trek from Atlanta to Bangkok, with stops along the way in New York City, Narita and Manila. I thought the airplane food was worth sharing with you all, so here’s what we ate on flights across Asia.
Delta Airlines flight from ATL (Atlanta) to JFK (New York City)
Because this flight was less than two hours, we had our option of pretzels or Biscoff cookies with a soft drink. Typically, Delta flights that last more two hours offer economy class passengers these complimentary snacks plus other food available for purchase.
Delta Airlines flight from JFK (New York City) to NRT (Narita, Japan)
The first-class menu for this nearly 13 hour flight was spectacular. Passengers could choose to dine from the Western menu or Japanese menu. We ate off the Western menu, complete with a three-course dinner curated by chef Michelle Bernstein. Cocktails were available as well as wine pairings hand-selected by sommelier Andrea Robinson. (Can I have your job please?)
The appetizer was a shrimp salad with cocktail sauce served on a bed of avocado and red onion slices. A mixed green salad and a creamy corn and poblano soup were up next. Then, passengers who selected the Western menu had their choice of scallops, beef tenderloin or chicken as the main course. Corey’s proscuitto-wrapped scallops were delectable, as they were paired with succotash. My beef tenderloin was quite possibly the most juicy and buttery piece of meat I’ve had in a while. I was very impressed with the temperature and thickness of the meat, too.
Later on the flight, we had our option of a snack. Corey and I both chose the fruit, cheese and cured meat plate with a glass of wine. Breakfast consisted of a gruyere and proscuitto omelette with hashbrowns, fruit and asparagus. Everything was fantastic, and it was such a memorable experience.
Phillipine Airlines flight from NRT (Narita, Japan) to MNL (Manila, Phillipines)
To my delight, this four-hour flight came with a complimentary meal. The main cabin passengers had their choice of a Japanese and Filipino dish option with a complimentary non-alcoholic drink or beer/wine. We opted for the Japanese chicken curry with beer. The Japanese chicken curry was flavorful and filling, but we weren’t too sure what the side dishes were (besides the obvious fruit slices and salad).
We’re not too sure why we were given lighter-flavored beers (I had San Migs and Corey had Coors Light). Either way, I could have passed on it, because San Migs tasted a lot like water.
Phillipine Airlines flight from MNL (Manila, Phillipines) to BKK (Bangkok, Thailand)
Our final flight of our nearly 72-hour journey ended with beef or pork stroganoff (with rice instead of noodles), bread and a mayo-based vegetable coleslaw. None of this is pictured here because we barely had any leg room or arm room to reach for our cameras or phones. It was tasty, albeit a little salty, and the coleslaw wasn’t my favorite. At the end of the meal, flight attendants passed out individual portions of Magnolia Ube ice cream. Though it took a few minutes to defrost to an edible temperature, the Fruit Loops-flavored ice cream was a welcomed treat after a long journey.
Though we ate well on all of our flights, I was ready for our food adventures in Thailand.
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten on an airplane?