Posts: 1919
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Airline Food In The U.S.

Mon Sep 01, 2003 10:23 am

As many of you know airlines In the U.S. are often under looked when it comes to meal service, I have to admit, most airline food in the U.S., In some cases, shouldn't be served because it really embarrasses the airline. But What airlines do you think do a good job? Which airlines are creative? I've heard some good stories about Midwest Express (Now Midwest) but I've heard they have down graded as of late. I remember flying airlines several times, such as AA, and being served "bistro bags" I thought that idea with the little sacks was creative, But in my opinion the sandwiches you find in them look rather gross, and makes me wonder, "Why do they even bother?" I do have some good memories of airline food though, such as with Alaska Airlines. I remember they actually served a very nice well put together sandwich, that looked gourmet. Accompanied by a good cookie, and fresh grapes in a basket with some sort of towel underneath, this is all in coach by the way, and back in 97 or 98. I think that is worth a lot of respect, non the less! I've also heard of other creative Ideas such as with UA, offering (in stead of snack mix or peanuts) Milano cookies for inflight snacks, or Continental with their (as described) "large sandwiches." where other airlines would offer "light snacks." What I am wondering is, what U.S. airlines do you think try very hard with their inflight meal services? Or do a good job? And which ones don't? Thanks, enjoy!
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RE: Airline Food In The U.S.

Mon Sep 01, 2003 10:26 am

You have a question that allows the perfect website. This is one of the best websites on the web and does as good of a job as Airliners.Net for its little section of the hobby. Enter it here-
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RE: Airline Food In The U.S.

Mon Sep 01, 2003 10:31 am

Although the portions of Alaska's main cabin "meal" service have become miniscule, the quality remains very good.
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RE: Airline Food In The U.S.

Mon Sep 01, 2003 10:54 am

L1011 has answered any query perfectly. This forum is great for opinions and ideas regarding meal service, but is extremely accurate and beautifully done. Check it out!
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RE: Airline Food In The U.S.

Mon Sep 01, 2003 11:29 am is the best way to go..... tho Continental's food is pretty decent, so long as it isnt a microsandwich!! They serve food on a lot of routes (and i mean A LOT) that other airlines would serve peanuts on

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RE: Airline Food In The U.S.

Mon Sep 01, 2003 1:09 pm

Folks, I've been a frequent visitor of sense i heard about it so many months ago... This is an opinion post!! hehe, thanks for the help though!
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RE: Airline Food In The U.S.

Tue Sep 02, 2003 1:39 pm

Flying back from NRT-MSP I was in WBC, and they ran out of meals, since I was non-reving I got the coach meal. All I can say is I had no idea what it was (think some sort of a pot roast) but it was nasty, thank god I slept most of the trip and when i woke up they were handing out snacks. The WBC meals were good though on the other legs.
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RE: Airline Food In The U.S.

Tue Sep 02, 2003 1:53 pm

When I flew first class on NW back in July (DTW-TPA) the food was decent. It was some kind of asian chicken salad. A bit bland, but I've had worse. The chocolate cake they gave for dessert was awesome though. I also really enjoy their buttery pretzels.

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RE: Airline Food In The U.S.

Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:31 pm


you want to hear opinions about airline meals on US domestic flights or any flight by a US airline? Will give you my view on both:

On domestic flights in the US, I am always disappointed, although I only travel in First, most of the time on UA, but also some flights with DL and AA.

What strucked me several times was the "choice": at several instances on UA I was sitting not in the first row, and so when my turn came to tell the steward/ess what I would like to eat, my choice was "out". Disappointing at first, BUT then she came back to me some minutes later to tell me that after all I could have my beef/chicken whatever I had longed for because the captain had generously agreed to change his choice. This is a joke!!! Of course airline crews have to eat well, but what sort of service attitude is that to deny passengers a choice of meal because some crew member has taken it before??? I think priority should be given to buck paying passengers, unless the airlines have decided that they no longer need premium passengers thanks to the healthy economic state they are in.

On international flights, I only used UA, again in First. Pathetic, that's all I can say. Lacking any imagination, and the quality was poor when compared to some European airlines (Air France, Swiss, BA), let alone the likes of SQ and CX. Again, I was struck when my question "what wines do you have" was answered by "red and white", but no clue whatsoever whether these would be Californian, Australian, French or whatever, which year, which grape, etc. However, I have to give them a lot of credit for then coming up to me with all the bottles they had so that I can choose from. No European airline would ever have reacted in this pragmatic and charming way.

In a nutshell, it seems to me that food as such does not have the same prominence in the US than, say, in Europe (OK, I am from France, that may be going to extremes), and the attitude and knowledge of cabin personnel clearly reflects that. That is not a value statement, but simply observing cultural differences
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RE: Airline Food In The U.S.

Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:44 pm

From my experience, airline food in economy on US domestics (when you get any) is, well, interesting. But it's usually fresh and edible, if not inspiring.

Many years ago, an Australian domestic airline (TAA), introduced an alternative meal concept. Instead of the hot (economy) lunch or dinner, you could have a "club snack" of open sandwiches, cake, fruit, cheese, crackers and small bottle of wine, all presented in a nice picnic basket arrangement. It became more popular than the hot "chicken or fish or beef".

The current Qantas "boxed" meal is a pale imitation, but I wish someone somewhere would re-introduce the club snack concept, even with a charge for the wine.

It would even be an acceptable Business Class meal, with free wine.


"...every aircraft is subtly different.."
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RE: Airline Food In The U.S.

Tue Sep 02, 2003 9:18 pm

TNBoy - the boxed meal has now been disposed of on Qantas flights (Qantas agreed it was a mistake - so do I) - Hooray!!. Wine and beer is complimentary on all CityFlyer (Flights between most main capital cities) services after 4pm on weekday flights.

At least there are a few things to munch on as I was sick of just getting a small pack of Pretzels on American Airlines even on some flights of 2 3/4 hours in length - that is shocking - is that the norm guys!!!
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RE: Airline Food In The U.S.

Tue Sep 02, 2003 9:37 pm


The cockpit crew meals are catered separately from the passenger meals.They will get a choice, for example ,of chicken or pasta..And what they get is what they get..They don't get to "choose"from the Passenger count before hand.What the F/A did was to ask the Capt or whomever to change because the F/A wanted to offer you a choice .
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RE: Airline Food In The U.S.

Tue Sep 02, 2003 11:11 pm

THe meals you get on most domestic carriers in hte US are paltry to say the least.

Everytime see a SKYCHEFS truck, I have to laugh since chefs, they are not.

Now when I flew Qantas in 6/2001, there international service and domestic service was miles ahead of any US carrier.

Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
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RE: Airline Food In The U.S.

Tue Sep 02, 2003 11:26 pm

I gotta say...i've flown to HNL quite a few times this year and out of the airlines that do that market...Aloha has the best food. A bit on the small portion size BUT i really enjoyed it (especially my warm chocolate chip cookie prior to landing)! keep up the good work AQ!
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RE: Airline Food In The U.S.

Tue Sep 02, 2003 11:33 pm

Crew meals are not included in the passenger count. The entrees are the same, and they get 1 of each choice in the front cabin. On longer flights where there are more choices you can play around a bit and rob peter to pay paul so to speak, but the cockpit HAS to be offered 2 different entrees. I can understand your frustration in not getting a choice, and to be honest, having to tell a first class passenger there is no choice is embarassing. On AA we take preferences FWD to AFT on even numbered flights and AFT FWD on odd numbered flights, so that hopefully at least one of the flights if not both you will get a choice. BTW this procedure came about when smoking was offered, and smokers never got a meal choice..
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RE: Airline Food In The U.S.

Wed Sep 03, 2003 2:08 am

I am always amazed about the scrutiny of airline meals.
It's not some God given right you'll get anything at all.
Eat before you leave...or take your food with you. Full stop.

"...the f/a didn't know anything about the wines..." <----gimme a break..who the shit cares? Even up front you are only guaranteed passages...not some culinary experience. It's takes a pretty small mind to worry about the kind of wine being served at 40,000ft (like it would taste the same, anyway??)

That being said...I'm sure that 90% of all the meals leaving any major airport or made by the same taste variation, is at best, dubious.

Be a food and wine snob all you want...on the ground. In the are, it's only a courtesty that you are being fed at all....not a committment
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RE: Airline Food In The U.S.

Wed Sep 03, 2003 2:23 am

unfortunately, most passengers complain about the quality of the food if/when they do get it on the flight, and then complain when there is no food at all.

i think the in-flight meal purchases are a better option for both passenger and airline, and if that isnt an option, get what you want in the terminal beforehand.
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RE: Airline Food In The U.S.

Wed Sep 03, 2003 3:03 am

What always made me wonder was how on some flights you actually had a choice, while on others, it was no choice. I think the idea of buying you meal inflight gives a better choice, but they need to lower the cost a bit. $8 for a sandwich is a bit high, even if the sandwiches are from some high-class catering company. At times I wished I would have bought something from one of the resturants on the concourse than eat the inflight meal..

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