Flights are fun. I’ve been flying in aircraft ever since I can remember and now, fortunately, I’m in a field that allows me to travel. I’m a music producer and a keyboardist. While gigs and after parties seem like the best part, believe me, I enjoy the flying part of it too. (Subject to no delays and no crying babies on board).
And one of my favourite aspects of flying has to be in the in-flight meal. While to many people the thought of airline food is not fun, to me it’s amazing. Food while travelling at 900 kmph at an altitude of 30,000 ft, what’s not to like?
Needless to say, there are times when you’re not in luck and end up being served stale idles or an undercooked egg. Or worse, you’re flying a low-cost carrier, and all that’s available are cold sandwiches and samosas. *shrugs*
So when I spoke to Meghana about my love for airline meals and, she suggested that I compile a list of my top 10 airline meals till date and use my family’s aviation background and my travel experience in suggesting a few tips on how you could look forward to airline meals just like me!
Dinner – Thai Airways. (Economy)
Breakfast on Air India. (Economy)
While the national carrier may have it’s flaws, it usually trumps when it comes to food. Lacking presentation? Maybe. But the scrambled eggs were perfect (you’d be surprised how easy it is to get that wrong), a medu vada and some aloo (potato) masala. Accompanied by fruits and bread.
Breakfast on Jet Airways. (Economy)
I still don’t recall the name of this non-vegetarian breakfast, but it was probably the most filling breakfast I ever had in an airline! It was a paratha wrap of sorts with an egg, chicken and some veggies. That and some curd, no bread, no fruits yet no complaints.
Dinner on Air India. (Economy)
On my return from Kochi to Mumbai, the flight may have been delayed by an hour but the dinner surely compensated for some of that. Biryani flavoured rice with chicken Chettinad curry, and aloo (potato) masala served with cucumber salad, before kheer and bread! I don’t think I even spared a single grain of rice despite eating before the flight.
Breakfast on Vistara. (Premium Economy)
The newest full-service carrier in India backed by the Tatas is trying hard to keep a good name when it comes to food. Maybe that’s why even a seemingly simple breakfast of eggs, sausages and baked beans tasted so good! The accompanying fruit cake was a good break from the regular bread. Curd, fresh fruit and juice filled the remaining spots on the breakfast tray.
Late night snack on Air India. (Economy)
Breakfast onboard Jet Airways. (Economy)
Yes, I’m used to morning flights, and I don’t hate them! (No, it’s true) And a good breakfast always helps in making me less grumpy. This was one of those! Masala scrambled eggs, veg cutlet and potatoes in a tangy sauce.
Lunch on board Air India. (First Class)
On one of my trips back from Singapore I was lucky enough to gorge on this delicious meal. Although I opted for the egg fried rice with Thai seafood curry in red sauce, the lovely air hostess made sure I try out the dal makhani and roti too! Accompanied with some chocolates, veggies and phirni (from the Indian menu option) this has to be amongst my top 3!
Lunch on Jet Airways. (Economy)
While this roti was not unto the mark, the rest made up for it! Spinach and corn with rice and one of the best chicken curries I’ve had. And not to forget that cake which melted like candy floss!
Dinner on Air India. (Business)
For me, the national carrier tops the list. A three-course dinner starting with grilled chicken salad with olive oil dressing was accompanied by probably one of the best dinners I’ve ever had and not just in an aircraft! Grilled Pomfret in lemon butter sauce, sautéed veggies and potatoes along with garlic bread. Dessert was Mango gateaux and some freshly brewed cappuccino!
Personal tips on how you can improve your airline meal experience.
– Pre-booking meals with dietary restrictions.
Full-service airlines offer you the option of pre-booking meals with dietary restrictions such as low carb, diabetic meal, low protein, jain, etc. On international flights when flying an international airline, pre-booking a veg meal is a must if you need such a meal!
– Getting your food earlier than others.
Pre-booked meals with dietary restrictions are handed out before the regular service starts, so that’s another advantage. Also while flying international airlines, if you’re a vegetarian make sure you pre-book it!
One of the main reasons airline food tastes bland is because it’s prepared to keep everyone in mind. Don’t hesitate in asking for some extra salt, pepper or fresh lemons to season your food as per your liking because they do have those.
Lounge access is usually reserved for Business and First Class passengers, but today most top banks offer credit/debit cards which have lounge access. This is useful when flying low-cost airlines. Lounges offer free breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks throughout the day and often taste good. You might want to fill up on lounge food if you’re anticipating in-flight meals not to be good or just get some sleep once on board.
– Food preferences for First/Business Class.
Airlines offer a host of options if you’re flying First or Business class, especially in international sectors. And if you are, make sure you inform them about your preferences.
Avijeet Satapathy who believes in one life, many dreams is a music producer and gets excited by the very mention of food. A self-taught cook and an aviation enthusiast. You follow his journey on Instagram and Twitter to see what this dreamer is up to.