Airplane food gets a bad rap. It always seems to arrive at our tiny plastic tables in a state of despair: dehydrated from the altitude, filmy, and generally some unappealing shade of brown. But certain airlines are working hard to shake that reputation, enlisting the help of renowned chefs, restaurants, and hospitality groups. Before you book your next trip, have a look below at a few of the air carriers taking meal service to the next level.
Delta Air Lines
Starting March 1, Delta Air Lines is pairing up with legendary N.Y.C. eatery Union Square Café (one of Danny Meyer’s esteemed restaurants) to provide flyers with high-quality Italian-inspired dishes created under the culinary direction of executive chef and partner Carmen Quagliata. The menu will include meals like beef short rib stracotto, classic roasted chicken breast, Gulf shrimp and polenta, and baked paccheri basil cream pasta. “At Union Square Cafe, we use the freshest ingredients that we can find from local farmers at the greenmarket located just steps from our front door,” says chef Carmen. “The beauty of working with Delta is we get to share our market-driven approach with international travelers. For Delta’s guests, we’re featuring produce and meats from the same farmers who serve our restaurant.” The partnership applies to passengers flying in the Delta One cabin on select transatlantic routes to Europe.
Singapore Airlines, known for its crazy-luxurious suites (featuring hand-stitched leather armchairs in addition to a bed), pulls out all the stops when it comes to meal service. The company’s International Culinary Panel boasts celebrated professionals like Alfred Portale, the “pioneer of New American cuisine" and chef of famous N.Y.C. eatery Gotham Bar and Grill; Michelin-starred Italian chef and TV personality Carlo Cracco; and French chef and restaurateur Georges Blanc, who has earned three Michelin stars and four toques from the esteemed French restaurant guide Gault et Millau.
Cathay Pacific Airways
International air carrier Cathay Pacific Airways teamed up with the prestigious Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and its Michelin-starred chefs to “create a unique inflight menu featuring contemporary fine-dining with a classical twist” the airline says. The menu, which has included dishes like terrine of foie gras with winter truffle, home-smoked salmon with crab meat and caviar, and fillet of lemon sole enriched with a buttery Grenoble sauce, is offered to passengers traveling in first class on flights to Hong Kong, London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, and Milan.