Airline food upgrades turning in-flight dining into a gourmet experience

TERMINAL U looks at what a number of airlines are doing to improve your high-altitude dining experience.

Airline food & drink upgrades that are turning planes into restaurantsLet’s face it, airlines are not usually renowned for serving up Michelin-star worthy meals.

But a handful of major airlines are trying to put some excitement back into in-flight food, with a new menu of options for passengers at the front and back of the plane.

TERMINAL U looks at what a number of airlines are doing to improve your high-altitude dining experience.

To fly, to serve…you good food

Airline food upgrades turning in-flight dining into a gourmet experience

British Airways passengers with World Traveller Plus (premium economy) tickets will be pleased to know that their meals have just been upgraded. The irony of paying extra to sit a cabin up from economy, only to be served the same food is not lost on BA it seems. Expect a business class dining standard, as passengers can now order one of two meal options from Club World menus in their seat – at no extra charge.

While BA long-haulers in World Traveller cabins (economy) don’t need to starve as the ‘tuck boxes’ – a unique snack service to BA offered on flights over eight and a-half hours – have made a comeback. Peckish economy passengers on long flights can now help themselves to sweet or savoury treats from the open tuck boxes in the galley.

British Airways’ Club World (business class) passengers shouldn’t feel left out, as their menus now feature ‘umami’-rich flavours which are said to tantalise the tastebuds. Umami-rich foods provide a more savoury taste and are present in foods such as soy sauce, seaweed, mushrooms, tomatoes and parmesan cheese. The focus on umami foods came about after BA challenged Michelin-star chef Heston Blumenthal to produce the ‘ultimate’ in-flight meal through a series of in-flight taste tests.

Restaurant in the sky

Airline food upgrades turning in-flight dining into a gourmet experience

September 9: Dimitri Demjanov, owner and chef of Estonian restaurant 'Gloria' prepared and served dishes from his menu on Estonian Air’s Tallinn – London service. Source: Estonian Air

If you’ve ever hankered for a restaurant quality meal on your flight, Estonian Air might be as close as you get to ‘real’ airline food that is locally sourced. Over the next 12 months, Estonia’s flag carrier will be serving premium passengers dishes prepared by 12 restaurant chefs on its flights. The airline has called its new catering initiative ‘Restaurant in the Sky’, as it partners with a different national restaurant every month, refreshing its menu every time.

Would you like it fried, poached or boiled?

Airline food upgrades turning in-flight dining into a gourmet experience

Middle-Eastern airlines are already renowned for their high standards of service, and it looks like it’s about to get even better. Abu Dhabi-based carrier, Etihad Airways says its Diamond first class passengers can enjoy a truly personal, “five star” high-altitude dining experience from October, when top chefs will be cooking made-to-order meals from scratch on board select flights. The carrier says the service will be fully available at the front of the cabin by the year-end.

A sugar ‘high’

Airline food upgrades turning in-flight dining into a gourmet experience

Finally, for those of you with a sweet tooth…

Qantas’s budget airline, Jetstar has announced it will offer Krispy Kreme doughnuts for purchase on board certain domestic flights.

What are you looking forward to?

Which of these food upgrades are you looking forward to most? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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