For those who have had less than stellar experiences with airplane food, take note. Skyscanner released its second-annual European Airline Food Awards this week, aka, which airlines to fly if you actually want to eat your dinner.
The survey of 550 European travelers and bloggers was broken into three categories: "Top 5 Low-cost Airline Food," Top 5 Short-haul Airline Food" and "Top 5 Long-haul Airline Food." Some travelers might be surprised to see Russian carrier Aeroflot on the list, but the menu actually sounds pretty good if we do say so ourselves. And, of course, we'd expect Air France to grace the list given the high culinary standards of the French.
“Airline food used to have a reputation for being bland, but the quality of in-flight meals has improved massively as airlines place greater importance on serving good food at altitude," Skyscanner’s Victoria Bailie said in a press release.
Apparently, as the survey found, it seems airline food is improving as 43 percent of respondents admitted to being envious of their neighbor’s choice of meal.
So, if you don't have a taste for cold rice, fluorescent green soda, plastic-y sausage and solid bread rolls, book a ticket on these food winners:
Top Low-cost Airline Food: #5 Vueling
<a href="http://www.vueling.com/en/vueling-services/on-board-shop/">Menu offerings</a> include: - Vegetable sandwich with pepper bread, egg, tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise - Stockholm wrap with a wheat tortilla around ham, edam cheese and mayonnaise - Serrano cured ham on a baguette - Four-cheese pizza
<a href="http://buyonboard.easyjet.com/">Menu offerings</a> include a daily sandwich selection, British cheddar crackers, Bonne Maman financiers, Starbucks coffee, nut mix, olives and boxerchips
<a href="http://www.monarch.co.uk/faq/flights/food-and-drink/what-can-i-buy-onboard">Menu offerings</a> include: - Traditional English breakfast with British pork sausage, grilled back bacon, scrambled egg, button mushrooms and baked beans - Cottage pie made with Casterbridge beef - Vegetarian roasted pumpkin gnocchi in pimento sauce with Mediterranean vegetables and feta cheese. - Traditional coq au vin with baby pearl onions, pancetta, green beans and roast potatoes
<a href="http://www.inflightfeed.com/airlines/flybe/">Menu offerings</a> include: - BLT sandwich on malted bread - Free range egg and cress mayonnaise sandwich on white bread - Chicken salad with lemon and thyme sandwich - Hot smoked salmon and couscous salad
<a href="http://www.flypgs.com/en/fly-with-pegasus/pegasus-flying-cafe.aspx">Menu offerings</a> include: - Sesame seed sandwich bread stacked with kashkaval cheese, mustard butter and finished with red and green bell peppers and lettuce - Roasted chicken tikka sandwich with chicken tikka sauce, red and green bell pepper, lettuce and tartar sauce on a sesame seed bun - Cheese and vegetable wrap with feta cheese mixed vegetables and mustard-mayo in a wheat wrap - Chicken schnitzel - Mushroom ravioli
Top Short-haul Airline Food: #5 Aeroflot
Check out the economy menu photos <a href="http://www.aeroflot.ru/cms/en/flight/menu_econom">here</a>.
#4 British Airways
<a href="http://www.britishairways.com/travel/meals/public/en_gb">On all of BA's European flights</a> find breakfast with coffee and tea. Complimentary snacks and drinks are served throughout the rest of the day.
#3 Turkish Airlines
<a href="http://www.turkishairlines.com/en-uk/travel-experience/catering-entertainment-seat-cip-lounge#EconomyClass">According to the airline's website</a>, "depending on the flight’s duration range and the route, we serve a hot or cold breakfast or main meal service. Our main dish recipes are drawn from Turkish and World Cuisine and, when offered, have three main course options."
In Economy class, the in-flight service on European flights offers "even greater variety in addition to the extensive choice of beverages with which you are familiar," <a href="http://www.lufthansa.com/online/portal/lh/us/info_and_services/on_board?nodeid=3483949&l=en&cid=1000390">Lufthansa's website says</a>. "Even on domestic flights within Germany you can enjoy a small snack, and on longer flights a hot meal is served." Business class passengers are treated to a "special moment" including snacks like filled wraps, marinated scampi, sandwiches, fruit salad and crispy nuts.
<a href="http://www.flysas.com/upload/international/SKI/travel_info/cloudshop/CloudShop_Winter2012.pdf">Menu options</a> include: - Wholegrain sandwich with crispy green salad and various fillings - Snack platter with cold cuts, cheese, olives and bread - Potatosalad marinated with sundried tomato pesto (nut-free), grilled chicken breast, crispy romaine salad and grilled pepper tapenade - pastries
Top Long-haul Airline Food #5 British Airways
In <a href="http://www.britishairways.com/travel/world-traveller-seating/public/en_gb">Economy class</a>, flyers receive a three-course meal. For <a href="http://www.britishairways.com/travel/cwinflightdining/public/en_gb">Business class passengers</a>, in addition to the chef-crafted menu, there are hot whole wheat wraps, freshly cut fruits, handmade shortbread from Devon artisan bakery Teoni's, boxed mini pastries from Beckleberry's, ice cream from the London-based Ice Cream Union, traditional British sweets and Cadbury chocolate <a href="http://www.britishairways.com/travel/first-dining/public/en_gb">In the First class cabin</a>, flyers can choose from among the catch of the day; bistro fare like salads, soups, pasta and hot sandwiches; afternoon tea with sandwiches and pastries; and full or continental breakfast.
#4 Air France
In addition to the provided meals, Economy class passengers can <a href="http://www.airfrance.us/US/en/common/resainfovol/achat/menu_a_la_carte.htm">upgrade to an a la carte meal</a>, like an organic dinner. In addition to the meal, flights from Paris include a self-service buffet offering sweet and savory treats, fresh products, mini-sandwiches and Häagen-Dazs ice cream. <a href="http://www.airfrance.us/US/en/common/guidevoyageur/classeetconfort/business_restauration.htm">In Business</a>, meals begin with amuse-bouches, and continues with various appetizers and a salad. Four main-course options are available followed by a dessert trio, fruit selection and sorbet. <a href="http://www.airfrance.us/US/en/common/guidevoyageur/classeetconfort/premiere_restauration_airfrance.htm">In First Class</a>, travelers begin with a cocktail and amuse-bouches, followed by soup, a main course, a selection of cheeses and a basket of bread. For dessert, there's a dessert created by Lenôtre, fruit and ice cream or sorbet.
Within Europe, Economy passengers can purchase sandwiches, muffins and chocolate through the <a href="http://www.flysas.com/upload/international/SKI/travel_info/cloudshop/CloudShop_Winter2012.pdf">Cloud Shop Cafe</a>; Economy Extra, a light meal and beverages; and Business includes a hot meal and beverages. On intercontinental flights, Economy class is served dinner (breakfast is served on overnight flights; passengers can also purchase food during the flight); Economy Plus is offered snacks, an appetizer, a choice of two entrees and dessert; Business class is offered a three-course meal, cheese and dessert, as well as an all-flight-long buffet.
In First class, <a href="http://www.aeroflot.ru/cms/en/flight/culinary_highlights">offerings might include</a>: -Marinated grilled beef medallions with roasted sweet peppers, carrots and haricots verts in Madeira sauce - Braided puff pastry with salmon, spinach and fried mushrooms, roasted sweet pepper, zucchini and baked tomato topped with gremolata, served with sour cream sauce - Sheremetyevo-style chicken breast stuffed with mushrooms, with roasted sweet pepper, broccoli and saffron rice
Like Air France, KLM also has an <a href="http://www.klm.com/travel/us_en/prepare_for_travel/on_board/dining_on_board/alacarte_menu.htm">a la carte menu</a> for Economy class, with options like: -Filet of plaice with Hollandaise sauce, mashed potatoes, blanched sugar snaps and carrots - Sushi, wakame seaweed salad and lightly smoked salmon with wasabi mayonnaise - Beef Rendang, a slightly spicy Indonesian beef stew with basmati rice and sliced green beans with a side of spicy sambal sauce Otherwise, there is the choice of two hot meals. <a href="http://www.klm.com/travel/us_en/prepare_for_travel/on_board/dining_on_board/dining_in_business_class.htm#richmedia">Business class</a> receives an appetizer, choice of main dish, choise of dessert, a selection of cheeses and a glass of port or dessert wine. On flights to India, China, Korea and Japan, meals inspired by the destination are offered. Think curry with chutney, raita and chapati en route to India, for example.