Has in-flight food improved since The Jet Age?

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  ekond111 28 Oct 2011
at 11:06

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  • Anonymous

    Business Traveller is currently researching a feature on the future of in-flight food in business and first class cabins, and we’d love to hear the thoughts of our readers.

    How has in-flight food improved over the years, or do you think the best days of in-flight meals are behind us?

    What is the most memorable in-flight meal you have experienced?

    What should the in-flight meal of the future consist of?

    And to whet your appetite, we’ve found a website collated by Northwestern University, with a digital archive of in-flight menus from 1929 to the present day – more details can be seen here:



    Lobster Terrine with a glass of Pol SWC 1986 on Concorde in about 2000.


    The good days have gone. only ones I still enjoy are long haul first on Asian carriers particularly Jl, NH and CX.


    I agree, although there are some encouraging trends:

    1. Better steam/induction ovens that retain moisture
    2. Lower cabin pressure in aircraft improving taste
    3. Middle Eastern carriers becoming more dominant, who manage to deliver high quality catering on a large scale, especially Emirates
    4. Also, my favourite trend is offering onboard chefs and catering managers, I believe the best of this is seen on Etihad business and first.

    The situation is not completely hopeless…


    Food offerings until recently were pretty dire. Of late, there has been a move away from the traditional favourites of steak, chicken and salmon, to more novel, fresher and healthier options in the premium classes

    Asian economy offerings are particulaly attractive, but sadly, economy European food offerings are virtually non existant. Offering a dognut and watered down coffee is not a meal – or even a snack come to that.


    Since the death of silver service and carving beef at your seat side The quality of First catering has plunged. Club world has been dire but even my recent CX business meal was awful. QF business catering is excellent with plated meals on decent sized plates.

    Kids meals in any class are horrible.

    iMHO the one highlight remains BA breakfast in first. I can’t think of ever having a poor one. Recent HKG cw was also very good but they need to do something about presentation in cw. Those little bowls are useless.

    Interesting article in highlife about flying to Paris in 1927. it took 2.5 hourse and the 18 on board got a full meal and bar service…..the article goes on to state…….it is a far cry from today’s luxury airbus! …….if only there was catering at all.


    Binman – hope you are having a good time, wherever you are. Enjoy spending time with the kids…….they grow up so fast!

    In 1927, I am sure the pax enjoyed the food as a way to pass 2.5 hours. Today from London, with a Paris run taking a mere 50 minutes or less on a good day, there really is no sufficient time for any decent catering service.


    …Certainly the quality of catering has become ‘streamlined’ in the last 30 years…does anyone actually look forward to a meal on a plane anymore…

    MS you are indeed lucky to get a ‘watered down’ coffee on European routes…I usually get a ├žup of some brown stuff…could be coffee …could be tea…it’s an airline secret…

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