The Best International Airlines for Food
“When you board Turkish Airlines,” one T+L reader wrote, you’re greeted by an on-board chef and the smell of “delicious, baking bread.” That’s more than you can say for some restaurants.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Airlines were rated for a number of qualities, including their in-flight cuisine. And many voters remarked that the food wasn’t just edible—it was delicious and memorable.
Like Turkish Airlines, which was praised for having “unbelievable,” traditional Turkish food, readers raved about the meal service on Virgin Atlantic Airways. “I was served wine in a real wine glass,” marveled Olavee Valentino. “Dinner was [like a] five-star or Michelin-star-rated restaurant.”
While some airlines are agonizing over the cost of a bottle of water (we’re looking at you, Spirit) others have hired official sommeliers to build incredible wine lists. Qatar’s Master of Wine, James Cluer, has even hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro just to make sure his Château Dereszia Hungarian Tokaji 2006 was still perfectly sweet and effervescent at altitude.
If you’re traveling with one of the best airlines on the planet for food, you may even find yourself excited to be woken for that odd, late-night meal. Whether it’s a regional delicacy (prawn and vegetable tempura) or just plain fancy, these are the airlines raising the bar on in-flight dining.
No. 10: Thai Airways International
No. 9: Virgin Atlantic Airways
No. 8: Japan Airlines
No. 7: All Nippon Airways
No. 6: Turkish Airlines
No. 5: Cathay Pacific Airways
No. 4: Qatar Airways
No. 3: Etihad Airways
No. 2: Emirates
No. 1: Singapore Airlines
For 21 years in a row, Singapore Airlines has won over travelers with its meal service. Thanks to a pressurized tasting room, the long-haul carrier can guarantee that every dish of roasted chicken and pak choy or wanton noodle soup with honey-roasted pork—even at 30,000-feet—tastes just as their international panel of chefs intended. Travelers flying in Premium Economy class or higher can even select their main course from an extensive menu prior to boarding. Travel + Leisure readers said you can expect “First-class treatment [even] in the economy cabin,” and delicious “yes, that’s right, delicious,” on-board fare.