A lot of these sumptuous photos were taken from first class and business class flights, but even the economy class meals have improved in recent years.
I can remember a time when we all dreaded meal time during flights. How those times have changed! These days, while none of us expect a gourmet meal (at least not in the cheap seats, anyway), we still expect a certain choice and variation in our meals, all the while accompanied with drinks. It is also the norm on full-service airlines such as Singapore Airlines (pictured above) to be given bread roll and butter for starters (as well as fresh fruit), and a chocolate bar or even a small pot of ice cream for dessert!
In economy class, the meals are brought to you on a trolley which is usually tended to by one cabin crew member, although on some airlines two members will share the trolley, with one handing you the meals and the other one taking care of the all-important drinks. If you are sitting at the wrong end of the cabin insofar as the meals are distributed from the other end, then you may not get your first choice meal. I suffered this once on a Korean Air flight between Hong Kong and Seoul, where all the “western” options had run out by the time they came to me, and I had to try to endure the cumbersome bibimbap instead, which is a Korean dish (and I don’t like it). The stewardess was apologetic but then looked on in horror as I tried to make the bibimbap – I must have looked like a complete novice!
By the time you get to business class, you will undoubtedly be receiving a higher quality of food, and this will include snacks that are prepared hot, rather than a bar of chocolate or a bad of crisps. For example, airlines may specially cook some satay or banana fritters, and I have even heard of some airlines offering fresh seafood inbetween meals!
It is in First Class, however, where the real airline food standards are met. The above photos, courtesy of Lucky over at One Mile at a Time, are from Korean Air’s amazing first class Kosmo Suites, and as you can see meal times are sure something to look forward to on longhaul flights! The desserts in particular look like something you would find in a top Korean restaurant in Seoul!
Arguably the best airline for catering would have to be Garuda Indonesia. The Indonesian flag carrier has got a very impressive reputation for its first class meals, with some people now even going so far as to say that maybe it’s a little too much. Garuda may have surpassed what is expected of them in terms of meal quality, but the passengers who pay for first class fares deserve to have their expectations exceeded.