17 Airline Snacks We Want to Eat Right Now
Airlines have a bad rep for crushed peanuts and Styrofoam trays of flavorless blah—if you’re lucky to get fed at all. But savvy carriers still pushing the snack trolley have traded bland basics for a taste of the exotic and local.
Korean Air’s shrimp crackers, piquantly salty with a briny aftertaste and shaped not unlike a giant battered prawn (if you squint hard enough), are an addictive intro to Seoul’s seafood-centric cuisine. And Hawaiian Airlines’s addictively bold Furikake Kona Chips, sprinkled with a Japanese condiment staple (crushed sesame, seaweed, sugar, salt, and dried fish), offer a taste of the islands’ East-West cultural mash.
Some refreshments are emblems of the carriers themselves: Swiss International Air Lines distributes milk chocolate to departing guests, and Turkish Airlines delights with (what else?) sticky cubes of pistachio-studded Turkish delight. And Delta, by stamping its name into more than 90 million Biscoff cookies a year, has turned a caramel-flavored Belgium specialty into an all-American treat.
And is there anything more on-brand that JetBlue’s Terra Blue potato chips? Like the unlimited seat-back entertainment, the airline’s serve-yourself snack basket is an exercise in restraint. (But nobody’s judging if you swipe a bag for a post-flight snack.)
Whether it’s a quick regional trip or an ultra-long haul, there’s something about cruising altitude—and late afternoons—that makes us want to munch. Here are the airline snacks you won’t want to miss.
Dried Natto, Japan Airlines
The fermented soybean known as natto is salty and crunchy just like the Planters peanut of plane rides past—just a bit less ballpark and a whole lot more sour (not to mention Japanese).
Cherry Ripe Chocolate Bars, Virgin Australia
If a cherry and a Mounds bar joined the Mile High Club the result would be Australia’s oldest and most quintessential candy bar, the Cherry Ripe, a chewy cherry-and-coconut-filled addiction coated in a thin layer of dark chocolate. Other sugary Aussie delights include Natural Confectionery Co. jelly snakes and Spotted Cow cookies.
Snack du Jour, Air Tahiti
The carrier’s Snack du Jour mixes up crunchy cheese sticks and sesame crackers in coach. If you’re flying first, Air Tahiti kicks the packaging up a notch and adds in premium nuts.
Havanna Alfajores Cookies, LAN
Unwrap the colorful foil to experience a Latin American specialty: sweet dulce de leche wedged between two delicate almond-flavored cookies and dipped in either a white or dark chocolate glaze. (Argentina flights only.)
Achiras del Huila Biscuits, Avianca
It was nearly impossible to find this thick, cheesy biscuit outside of Colombia—until LAN popularized the snack and travelers began smuggling extra bags home in their carry-ons.
Nongshim Shrimp Crackers, Korean Air
An acquired taste for some, these French fry–looking crunchies shouldn’t be confused with your standard potato treat: Nongshim’s prawn crackers are prepared with flour and ground shrimp. (Sorry, vegans.)
Chewy Sweets, British Airways
Whether you get a Banana Skid, a Refresher, or a handful of Snap and Crackles, these chewy vintage candies from London are passed out as a sugary finale to every flight.
Terra Blues Potato Chips, JetBlue
Slightly nutty and arguably more attractive than the standard spud, the blue potato chip has been catapulted to cult status by JetBlue. We always manage to pack away a few bags on a transcontinental flight (and stow a few more for later).
Biscoff Cookies, Delta Air Lines
In Belgium, this slightly gingery, caramelized-flavored shortbread (called speculoos) is eaten to honor St. Nick at Christmastime. On Delta, this cookie sweetens even Styrofoam-cup coffee (and the carry-on of many a traveler).
Tamari Almonds and Uglies, Qantas
Australia’s other favorite airline takes an international approach to its snackables: the almonds are roasted in Sydney with rich Japanese tamari (wheatless soy sauce), while Uglies, the knobby chocolate nuggets packed with honeycomb crumbles and wheat crunchies, are Irish imports. Deliciousness knows no nationality.
Turkish Delight, Turkish Airlines
Supremely soft and sticky, these famous Middle Eastern confections (known locally as lokum) are covered in fine powdered sugar and loaded with chopped pistachios. Rosewater, orange, and lemon are the most common flavors, but sometimes you’ll get a heady herbal hit of mastic.
Sweets Cone, Air France
For the indulgent snacker, Air France’s gourmet cone of confections (designed by Eugeni Quitllet) is perfect for your cross-continent flight. Find everything from nougat to caramels and gummies tucked inside, plus a small oshibori towel for sticky fingers.
Furikake and Sweet Potato & Taro Chips, Wasa Ranch Popcorn, Hawaiian Airlines
Move over, movie-theater butter and simple sea salt: we love the tropical twists Hawaiian Airlines takes with traditional snacks. Popcorn gets a wasabi and ranch coating while locally made Kona Chips get doused in furikake flavoring (a dry Japanese condiment combining seaweed, bonito, sesame, sugar, and salt). Locally grown speckled sweet potatoes and purple taro are addictive crunchers, too.
Macaroons and Salted Caramel Popcorn, Virgin America
Virgin America is loading its snack trolleys with local artisanal goods from its San Francisco home base. Think 479° Sea Salt Caramel popcorn, Hail Merry gluten-free chocolate macaroons, and Krave Basil Citrus Turkey Jerky.
Milk Chocolate and Tea, Swiss International Air Lines
Snacking on SWISS is a classy affair. Enjoy fresh herbal teas blended in the Alps (“Gentle Blue” Earl Grey, Camomile Orange Blossoms) and the most quintessential of all Swiss treats: a tiny bar of branded milk chocolate. Be sure to grab a few more as you depart.
Lollies, Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand gives passengers their own exclusive lollies (that’s candy for you non-Kiwis)—kids love ’em, and sucking on them keeps your ears from popping under pressure during descent. The real treat? Flight attendants often ask children on the plane to help them distribute the colorful hard candies, which come in a variety of flavors including orange, lemon, peppermint, raspberry, strawberry, and lime.
Patatas Fritas, Iberia
You say potato, Iberia says patata. But it’s the packaging that makes these thick-cut chips special. A decorated box arrives promptly as you settle into your seat—best paired with a large glass of vino rojo.