The Best Domestic Airlines for Food

Virgin American Food
Photo: Courtesy of Virgin America

For years travelers have been waxing poetic about the Golden Age of travel, when airplanes were luxurious and flight attendants served real, plated meals. But if our readers’ reviews are any indication, we may be returning to a time when airlines care about the onboard experience. Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, Travel + Leisure asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe—to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities,islands, cruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Airlines were rated for a number of qualities, including food. And the votes rolled in for airlines that still know how to treat customers right when it comes to food service. Travelers flying with the best airlines for food in the country can look forward to more than really sad breakfast sandwiches and or a candy bar in place of dinner. Now, these top-rated carriers are tapping celeb chefs for restaurant-worthy menus, curating award-winning wine lists, and serving regional specialties that will transport you to your destination before you’ve even left the tarmac. On Alaska Air, for example, you can experience the Pacific Northwest by enjoying a drink from a local distillery while on your flight (think: Alaskan Ice Bay IPA, Sun Liquor gin). Hawaiian Airlines, similarly, “offers a travel experience that is filled with ‘aloha,’” said one pleased World’ Best voter. Another reader agreed. “After expecting the usual fare of a tiny bag of stale peanuts, we were ecstatic over the food service. It was delicious and served with a smile.” Even if you’re not dining on china in First Class, a complimentary soda or snack can go a long way in distinguishing a greedy, budget airline from a reader favorite. “No extra nickel and diming…AND they somehow had it in their budget to give free sodas,” said one T+L reader about his or her experience with Southwest Airlines. “Why can’t other airlines do this?” Read on to see the complete list of America’s best airlines for food. You may even work up an appetite.

01 of 09

No. 9 American Airlines

American Airlines Food
Courtesy of American Airlines
02 of 09

No. 8 United Airlines

United Airlines Food
Courtesy of United Airlines
03 of 09

No. 7 Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines
Courtesy of Southwest Airlines
04 of 09

No. 6 Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines Food
Courtesy of Delta Air Lines
05 of 09

No. 5 Sun Country Airlines

Sun Country Airlines Food
Courtesy of Sun Country Airlines
06 of 09

No. 4 Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines Food
Courtesy of Alaska Airlines
07 of 09

No. 3 JetBlue Airlines

Jet Blue Food
Courtesy of Jet Blue
08 of 09

No. 2 Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines Food
Courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines
09 of 09

No. 1 Virgin America

Virgin American Food
Courtesy of Virgin America

Readers applauded Virgin America for its unique approach to service: you can order your desired snacks and meals via the seat-back entertainment system. The San Francisco-based carrier was also celebrated for having the healthiest food onboard a domestic flight. “The food on this airline should be a model to other domestic airlines,” said one very satisfied T+L reader. Snacks are hyper local (San Fran’s own 479° Popcorn) and way more exciting than a bag of crushed pretzels.

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