10 Airlines Offering Real Food You'll Actually Want To Eat

Many wonderful airlines are serving legitimate, easy-to-identify items, that aren't reserved just for first and business class. Here are ten we'd happily dine on.

In this modern age, you should be thankful for airlines that offer free peanuts, pretzels, and soda without charging you an arm and a leg. Unless of course you are referring to ever shrinking leg space, in which case, you are out of luck.

With most American carriers, even when you can get a real meal (as opposed to a “snack box”), what arrives is a far cry from anything other civilized cultures would call a “meal.”

But it’s not like that everywhere. In fact, many wonderful airlines are serving legitimate, easy-to-identify items, that aren’t reserved just for first and business class. Here are ten we’d happily dine on.

1. Emirates


Now that is a mile-high breakfast of champions! Photo: Sarah Ackerman / Flickr

Middle Eastern food is the main attraction for this Dubai-based air conglomerate, with tastes like feta, fig, and truffle honey to send your sense soaring. If you’re a baller who happens to fly first class, you’ll also toast their Dom Pérignon pairing menu, which lets you sample a selection of canapés with a vintage 2003 Rosé.

2. Singapore Air


Noodles and rice? You spoil me. Photo: Karl Baron / Flickr

With the ability to pre-order your meal, you won’t be forced to choose between the lesser of two evils while stuck in the sky. In fact, many compare Singapore Air’s made-to-order entrees to dining at a fancy restaurant.

3. Turkish Airlines


There are, like, three full courses! Photo: M + A / Flickr

This airline recently hired 400 in-flight chefs to make sure their fleet was on fleek regarding palette, presentation, and preparation. This attention to service ensures that everything comes out hot and fresh when you order it—and that your eggs are extra fluffy.

4. Virgin America


Nobody’s skimping on the fillings for this turkey wrap. Photo: Jason Lam / Flickr

While most high-ranking airline meals come from international carriers, Virgin America puts their domestic flights on the map. You can order impressive dishes like beef bulgogi on a bed of coconut jasmine rice from the seatback entertainment screen and enjoy upscale snacks from Dean & DeLuca.

5. Korean Air


Not too shabby with that chicken and rice! Photo: Yoshi Nagasaki / Flickr

With their “Farm to Fly” program, Korean Air scores massive points for offering fresh produce and proteins in their meals. And even economy travelers have tasty options, including a cold bibimbap with rice or noodles.

6. Hawaiian Airlines


So chill and refreshing—just like Hawaii! Photo: IslandsR4Me / Flickr

You’ll say “Aloha” to Hawaiian Airlines Signature Chef Series, where the Pacific-based airline allows local gourmands to take your taste buds to paradise. As a bonus, Hawaiian Airlines is also the only domestic airline to offer a complimentary meal to all classes.

7. Cathay Pacific Airways


You’ll fall swiftly into a comfortable food coma after this bad boy. Photo: Matt_Weibo / Flickr

The Hong Kong-based airline has partnered with a top-notch group of chefs from around the world to give you a flavorful first class experience. With gourmet takes on everyday dishes like grilled cheese and consommé, there’s plenty to sink your teeth into.

8. All Nippon Airways


There’s a lot going on here—and I like it. Photo: Agus Sutanto / Flickr

All Nippon Airways wants your to experience a “Taste of Japan” before you even set down in the Land of the Rising Sun. Their menu includes options ranging from beef to eel and leaves customers feeling both full and satisfied.

9. Thai Airways


You won’t have any room left for snacks! But you should load up on them, anyway. Photo: Agus Sutanto / Flickr

A huge component of Thai Airways philosophy is a royal treatment for all their passengers. The food doesn’t hurt either, as even economy flyers can enjoy authentic Thai dishes like pad thai and chicken curry.

10. Air New Zealand


Carb loading in flight and in style. Photo: Robert Young / Flickr

With award winning wine consultants, it’s amazing more passengers don’t drink their dinner on Air New Zealand. But it’s their business class menu that outshines most other airlines first class offerings – just check out the Moorish chicken with saffron spiced tomato broth.