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Who Makes The Best And Worst Airplane Food? (PHOTOS)

Posted: 01/19/2012 6:00 am

When you're cruising at 600 miles an hour, gazing at the beautiful, puffy white clouds outside your window, the dining options don't always match the view. Flying at a high altitude is one thing, but eating an in-flight meal that's of equally high quality? That's hard to find.

We've made the search for fine airline dining a little easier by rounding up airlines with some of the best -- and worst -- food. Come onboard and take a look through our slideshow of airlines, each judged on a scale of 1 (stick to the complimentary peanuts) to 5 (worthy of first class).

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  • Singapore Airlines

    <a href="http://singaporeair.com" target="_hplink">Singapore Airlines</a> promises in-flight food worthy of the golden days of travel. The airline sells its own cookbook, "Above and Beyond," which features recipes by its own consulting celebrity chefs, including TV's "MasterChef" Gordon Ramsay. Meals include the crab curry patta, an infusion of coconut and mint chutney with pot-au-feu beef, for some delicious, beefy, crabby goodness. <a href="http://http://www.yelp.com/user_details?userid=8S8C4fvLm05HoKhbuiiHBw" target="_hplink">One Yelp reviewer</a> gave the airline high praise: "Passengers were fed an entire three meals within each flight, with the meals being so sumptuous that, by the 2nd mealtime, I was unable to finish all of my food." <strong>Rating: 5</strong> <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dongkwan/261599031/" target="_hplink">Photo</a></em>

  • Virgin Atlantic

    The menu for <a href="http://http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/gb/en/the-virgin-experience/upperclass.html" target="_hplink">Upper Class</a> passengers at Virgin Atlantic provides an enjoyable dining experience for fliers who are willing to pay a little extra. Entrees include traditional lamb and rosemary pie with dill-infused mashed potatoes, roasted carrots and cabbage, as well as the oven-baked cod with a sun-dried tomato and basil pesto, served with roasted new potatoes, wilted baby spinach and red onion and Dijon salsa (pictured). <strong>Rating: 4</strong> <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nikonvscanon/4486839484/" target="_hplink">Photo</a></em>

  • American Airlines

    In addition to serving its own food, <a href="http://www.aa.com/i18n/travelInformation/duringFlight/dining/dining.jsp?anchorLocation=DirectURL&title=dining" target="_hplink">American Airlines</a> offers Boston Market sandwiches -- like a chicken sandwich made with all-natural white meat chicken, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and Dijon-mayonnaise on an artisan roll with chips -- on flights more than three hours long. Early risers can choose from a roasted turkey and cheddar cheese sandwich, a breakfast snack tray (bagel chips, cheese spread, craisins, almonds) and a breakfast biscuit with turkey, cheddar cheese and a sliced tomato. Transcontinental fliers can pass the time while enjoying a lamb shank with tomato sauce or lasagna with mushrooms and sausage. <strong>Rating: 3</strong> <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/wordridden/3385888188/" target="_hplink">Photo</a></em>

  • Air Canada

    According to <a href="http://http://www.airlinequality.com/Forum/air_can.htm" target="_hplink">a reviewer on Skytrax</a>, Air Canada's food is "overly salty, greasy and overcooked," with menus that feel uninspired and overall just plain sad. What's even more alarming is that one person <a href="http://http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/30/feedback-the-worst-in-flight-meal-ever/" target="_hplink">commented on <em>The New York Times</em></a> with a horror story: "My highlight was last week, on an Air Canada flight from JFK to Calgary. I had a chicken sandwich, when I bit on something that I first thought was a bone. It turned out to be a staple. I was just glad it was me and not my four-year old who had to experience this." <strong>Rating: 1</strong> <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalleboo/5797109515/" target="_hplink">Photo</a></em>

  • Aeroflot

    "The food was gross," according to <a href="http://http://www.yelp.com/biz/aeroflot-russian-international-airlines-beverly-hills" target="_hplink">one Aeroflot customer</a>. However, the airline <a href="http://http://www.russianaviation.org/index.php/aeroflot/846-aeroflot-in-top-5-ranking-best-cuisine-on-board" target="_hplink">ranked fourth</a> for in-flight meals, according to a recent survey by international flight comparison site Skyscanner, so there's some debate as to the quality of the grub. The main dish served on the flight to Washington sounds tasty: marinated grilled beef medallions with roasted sweet peppers and carrots, served with Madeira sauce. <strong>Rating: 3</strong> <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/saschapohflepp/974486388/" target="_hplink">Photo</a></em>

  • Alitalia

    Rack of lamb in a hazelnut crust. Perch fillet with sage sauce. Swordfish rolls with Pantelleria capers. <a href="http://http://www.alitalia.com/US_EN/your_travel/class_services/magnifica_business/index.aspx" target="_hplink">The menu</a> sounds good, but words can be deceiving. One reviewer on Skytrax.com was less than pleased: "The menu sounded fantastic and the crew did their best to offer good service, however, that did not make up for the poor quality of the meal, which was cold and tasteless." Despite its award for the "Best Airline Cuisine" by the American monthly Global Traveler, Alitalia's food doesn't live up to its reputation. <strong>Rating: 2</strong> <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/conbon/408939346/" target="_hplink">Photo</a></em>

  • United/Continental

    An airline's ability to offer alternative meals, such as vegetarian options, can play a critical role in whether the food is a cut above the rest. Continental doesn't appear to deliver in this category: It "offers vegetarians...a slab of unflavored tofu sitting on top of lima beans and corn...for breakfast!!! Awful...just awful," according to <a href="http://http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/30/feedback-the-worst-in-flight-meal-ever/" target="_hplink">one reviewer on The New York Times</a>. It's also hard to provide fliers with decent seafood, so we question <a href="http://http://www.continental.com/web/en-US/content/travel/inflight/businessfirst/menu/iahgru.aspx?menuMonth=201201" target="_hplink">Continental's offering</a> of "pan-seared turbot fish and grilled shrimp with lobster Newburg sauce." <strong>Rating: 1</strong> <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/brettlider/186484346/" target="_hplink">Photo</a></em>

 

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