Top 10: world’s best airlines for in-flight meals

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (August 14, 2017): Top 10 airlines that serve the best onboard food.

We all like to complain how boring and disgusting airplane food is. There’s even a website devoted to posting passengers’ images of airline food: the good, the bad and – most of the time – the downright ugly. But there are airlines that actually serve delicious food at 30,000 ft, often created by selected guest chefs whose restaurants have received Michelin stars and Gault Millau points. It should come as no surprise that most of these airlines also feature in my top 10 lists of airlines with the world’s best longhaul Business Class cabins and airlines with the world’s most luxurious First Class suites. I hereby present you the 10 airlines that serve the best gourmet food in the skies (according to my opinion & culinary taste).

There is more info below the slide show. Think I missed one? Leave a comment, or take my poll below!

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Emirates regionally inspired menus are all presented on Royal Doulton fine bone china with exclusive Robert Welch cutlery, providing an excellent Business and First Class dining experience. If you are flying First Class, you can enjoy a sumptuous seven-course meal in the privacy of your own exclusive suite. On the A380 aircraft, premium passengers may also nibble on canapés in a wonderful lounge at the rear of the mega-plane. But it’s a royal treatment for all, as Economy may start with slices of smoked tuna served with marinated vegetable salad, followed by charcoal grilled lamb brochette with cinnamon scented sauce, sticky date pudding, cheese, biscuits, and chocolates.

  • Official websiteEmirates
  • Review: read here my review of Emirates’ First Class in an Airbus A380.
  • Review: read here and here my reviews of Emirates’ Business Class in an Airbus A380.
  • Review: read here my review of Emirates’ Business Class in a Boeing 777-300ER.
  • Review: read here my review of Emirates’ Business Class in a Boeing 777-200LR.


Swiss Airlines’ Taste of Switzerland program was designed to highlight different regions of the country on flights throughout the year. First Class passengers dine as if they were in a gourmet restaurant, and enjoy meals inspired by the country’s best Maîtres de Cuisine. Menus change every 3 months and may include dishes such as beef tenderloin with ofetori or Nidwalden-style mashed potatoes made with veal bacon and cheese. First Class meals are also complemented by regional wines, and of course, a selection of local cheese. But also Business and Economy Class passengers rave about food onboard Swiss International Air Lines.

  • Official websiteSwiss International Air Lines
  • Review: read here my review of Swiss’ Business Class in an Airbus A340.
  • Review: read here my review of Swiss’ Business Class in a Boeing 777-300ER.


Famous New Zealander chefs and wine connoisseurs preside over Air New Zealand’s in-flight menus. Fresh New Zealand cuisine – mainly seafood as well as agricultural products like honey, kiwi and sweet potato – are served on elegant crockery, designed specifically for the airline. Air New Zealand also takes pride in serving native wines. If you get thirsty or peckish between mealtimes, there’s a self-service refreshment bar that contains drinks and snacks.



The award-winning on-board chefs and food & beverage managers of the Abu Dhabi based airliner are recruited from the finest Michelin-starred restaurants around the world. Their goal is to offer an inflight dining experience that surpasses that of a five-star restaurant. The Mezoon Grille menu, available to Etihad’s First Class customers only, features a variety of premium produce, including beef, chicken, lamb and seafood, along with a range of delicate sauces, sides and delicious desserts, all of which are prepared to order. Whichever cabin you fly in, you will find that Etihad’s food is delicious and portions are always generous.

  • Official websiteEtihad Airways
  • Review: read here my review of Etihad Airways’ Business Class in an Airbus A330.
  • Review: read here my review of Etihad Airways’ First Class in an Airbus A380.


In First Class, Cathay Pacific was one of the first airlines to have rice cookers, toasters and skillets on board their aircraft, enabling the flight attendants to prepare freshly steamed rice, toasted bread and eggs cooked to the passenger’s liking. Carefully prepared and selected by Cathay’s food culinary team, the dishes in all classes are a celebration of China. Those in the premium seats may see a menu of signature dishes from Hong Kong, such as slow cooked pork with preserved Hakka mustard greens, wok-fried chicken with black bean, or Hong Kong-style curry prawns.

  • Official websiteCathay Pacific
  • Review: read here my review of Cathay Pacific’s Business Class in an Airbus A330.
  • Review: read here my review of Cathay Pacific’s Business Class in a Boeing 777-300ER.
  • Review: read here my review of Cathay Pacific’s Business Class in an Airbus A350.


Given the high culinary standards of the French, it should be no surprise to find Air France on my list of the best food in the skies. With its refined details, considerate service, intense flavors, and porcelain tableware, Air France meal service is a truly pleasant experience. Every 6 months, a different renowned French chef will serve up special dishes on long-haul flights departing from Paris. And frequent fliers do not have to fear repetition as the menus are changed every 10 days.



Turkish certainly knows how to impress its customers when it comes to gastronomy. A chef in starched whites and towering toque greets boarding passengers at the plane door as if to welcome them into a restaurant. The “flying chef” is in charge of all cuisine, for Business Class passengers, served on long-haul flights. Coach flyers can relish starters like olive oil–poached artichoke and entrèes such as grilled beef with creamy eggplant. Even on short domestic flights within Turkey a substantial snack and drink are still offered.



Four celebrity chefs have been chosen to create Qatar Airways’s unique and diverse à la carte Business and First Class menu: Nobu Matsuhisa, Tom Aikens, Ramzi Choueiri, and Vineet Bhatia. Together, they spent months adapting and testing their specialty dishes for Qatar’s customers, taking into account not only flavors and spices, but how the taste buds are altered at 30,000 feet. Be prepared for extraordinary cuisine mouth-watering dishes when you fly Qatar Airways.

  • Official websiteQatar Airways.
  • Review: read here and here my review of Qatar Airways’ Business Class in a Dreamliner.
  • Review: read here my review of Qatar Airways’ Business Class in a Boeing 777-300ER.
  • Review:read here my review of Qatar Airways’ Business Class in an Airbus A330.
  • Review: read here my review of Qatar Airways’ First Class in an Airbus A380.


Singapore Airlines’ stellar culinary reputation is guaranteed by its collaboration with world-acclaimed chefs who own Michelin-starred restaurants, like Singaporean culinary maestro Sam Leong, Suzanne Goin of Los Angeles’ Lucques, Carlo Cracco of the Michelin two-star restaurant of the same name in Milan, and Matthew Moran of one of Sydney’s finest restaurants. The airline is famous for its “Book the Cook” service where you can select your gourmet main course from a premium selection of dishes at least 24 hours before departure. Economy Class passengers also benefit from the airline’s dedication to gastronomy, with appetizers like potato salad with baby shrimp and entrées such as wok-fried chicken and bamboo shoots in sesame oil.

  • Official websiteSingapore Airlines
  • Review: read here my review of Singapore Airlines’ Business Class in an Airbus A350.
  • Review: read here my review of Singapore Airlines’ Business Class in an Airbus A330.


IMHO, Austrian Airlines has its meal service down to an art. First, the food comes from DO & CO, a catering company that has upscale restaurants and cafés in cities like Vienna, London and New York. Then, to make certain the delectable dishes are complimented by the perfect drinks, Austrian Airlines has hired an on-board sommelier to develop wine pairings for its Business Class passengers. And when you need a caffeine kick (and who doesn’t on those long international flights?), you get to choose from 11 different types of Austrian Meinl coffee. So, it’s not hard to see why Austrian Airlines is popular among Business Class travelers.

  • Official websiteAustrian Airlines.
  • Review: read here my review of Austrian Airlines’ Business Class in a Boeing 777.

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  1. Congratulations on a wonderful blog and YouTube channel, your content is unique and extremely valued. Courtesy of you channel, I am looking at booking Soneva Jani in the Maldives next year. I was thinking of pairing the trip to take in Sri Lanka first. Have you ever been/have you any recommendations for Sri Lanka?

    Eagerly awaiting your next video on YouTube!

    All the best


  2. Thank you, Emma, for your very kind message. When you decide to stay at Soneva Jani, let me know before you make any booking since I can get you an upgrade there (read more here: I am going back to Soneva Jani next year, and then continuing from the Maldives to Sri Lanka for my first vacation on the island. I have not been there before, so I cannot really recommend any hotels, but I booked myself in both Aman properties (Amanwella and Amangalla) as well as the hotels of the Resplendent Ceylon group. Kind regards

  3. I have been fortunate enough to try most of these but never in a short enough time frame to accurately compare. I was surprised to read Turkish has a first class though. News to me.

  4. Swiss food is definitely not better than LH. No idea how LX did make it on the top ten but LH not.

  5. Tough call. Probably Qatar business class which was better than many First class including SQ and CX.

  6. I have siblings that live in Europe. Hands down, IMHO, Lufthansa is superb. In fact even though it requires me to layover in FRA, their inflight First Class service is outstanding! I enjoy the First a Class terminal and the private shower rooms to refresh before I continue onto ZRH OR ARN depending which sibling I’m going to. The few times I’ve flown business it was without complaint.

  7. Singapore Airlines in First Class definitely…but their Business Class catering leaves a lot to be desired. Flights out of Singapore fare better in this regard than those from other stations but still there is room for improvement in quality and quantity.

  8. Swiss Is better than Lufthansa but not by much. My recent Experience with Turkish from BKK-IST-ATL was actually below my expectations and I didn’t like the food I got. Emirates and Qatar have had hands down best food on an Airline I’ve ever had. Etihad and Cathay are a close second IMO. I’m excited to try Singapore and Asiana soon, I’ll tell you later. I just tried Iberian’s food. Wasn’t as good as Swiss or Lufthansa or other Euro Airliners but it was better than BA, TAP, and SAS food, IMO. It’s getting major improvements and it’s becoming one of the better airliners in Europe.

  9. Below an interesting counter article re the latest ‘Best airlines’ ratings. I would be very surprised that Lufthansa would make the 10 list since Germans are not really known for their ‘fine cuisine’… Even the Wiene Schnitzel isn’t really German – whereas Sauerkraut und Eisbein are more along German fare. I am ALSO surprised to read that none of the East Asian carriers made it on the list.

    I find this article quite good as a counter balance and offer some perspective from people within the industry, granted, their focus isn’t solely on BC or First Class.

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