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Oct 19, 2006 07:06 PM

Best COACH airline food?

Not the kind you carry on yourself, which airlines have the best food in Y class?

I'm between JAL, Korean Air and United for my upcoming int'l trip...

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  1. If those are your choices, JAL. Dial down your expectations.

    2 Replies
    1. re: PeterL

      The good thing about the Japanese airlines (at least, I seem to remember both JAL and ANA doing it) is that, in addition to whatever generally not-so great hot dish they serve, they usually serve cold soba with it, so you can make a meal of that.

      Plus, otsumami beats peanut-less pretzel mix for a snack.

      1. re: Debbie M

        On most Asian airlines, you can ask for instant ramen. Often better than the prepared food, if only because we can all remember back to our college days when instant ramen tasted oh so good compared to dining hall food.

        And if you really sweet talk a flight attendant, you might be able to get some of the ramen they serve in business and first class. You know, the kind with all the great rehydrated meats and veggies, and better spice packets.

    2. A good resource is (I thought you'd already know this site). Extensive photos that people posted of their airline meals. You'll have to scroll through looking for the flight segment most similar to yours, and ignoring the 1st and Business class meals but I'm sure you'll find some recent meals on those airlines, for the segment you'll be flying.

      BTW I agree JAL is prob the best bet out of those 3 if you're not bringing your own food.

      1. JAL would be my recco, KAL won't be grilling on the plane and I know way too much about what goes on in the UAL kitchens. Call up and see if there are any special meals available.

        PS. bring your own.

        1. Call me crazy, but I used to love almost ALL airline food. It seems now the a la carte menu thing means a cold pre-prepared sandwich with soggy bread with a fancy name like- Southwestern Chipotle Wrap.

          Gone are the glory days of the breakfast omelette that was almost too hot to bite into, that even though it was probably made with eggs from a carton and lots of PAM seemed to hit the spot, since you had jumped out of bed at 4 AM to make a 6:30 flight, which didn't get off the ground till 7:30 and by the time they reached cruising altitude and got to your section of the plane to serve that slippery omelette oozing cheezy (was it chedder, or jack- who CARES) goodness, it was probably 9 and you had been up 5 or 6 hours and it tasted like heaven in a foil wrapped basket.

          Another favorite was the lasagna, for most of the same reasons that I liked the omelette.

          I once thought I was being sneaky and getting a "better" meal by requesting kosher (I'm a complete WASP by the way- Oy ve!) only to watch with jealous eyes as my neighbor sunk his spork into his foil wrapped lasagna.

          I'm not sure that this was the essence of the original post, but it spurred a wave of nostalgia in me....

          1 Reply
          1. re: neurogeek

            The omelets were th reason I carried the little mini bottles of Tabasco. It pretty much made any airline breakfast item palatable. (Except the corn flakes)

          2. Are you really picking an airline based on the food? Since airline food is bound to be mediocre to bad, I should think service, comfort, price, etc. would be bigger concerns, in which case I'd definitely avoid United. I always pick something cold up at the airport to avoid putrid hot meals on planes. Often the smell alone from the stuff coming down the aisle makes me want to puke.


            4 Replies
            1. re: Peter Cherches

              I base whole vacations on food, whay not start with the flight? Of course I always stop by Darby Dan's before leaving out of SFO, or Sorrento's before leaving LAX. I'll be experimenting with banh mi next time I go out of OAK.

              1. re: Peter Cherches

                I'm with you, ICK. To me "best airline food?" is like asking "cosiest prison cell?"

                1. re: Peter Cherches

                  It's coach. It's not going to be comfortable no matter what I do. Service on international flights is usually the same anyway, and the prices are all pretty much in line with each other.

                  I have had good food in coach -- Air France, for example, and Swiss International. Korean Air had bibimbap in coach which was as good as any bibimbap I've had on the ground in LA or SF. And yes, it's totally the idea of picking the least of several evils -- I don't expect to eat WELL, but I'd like to at least be able to eat.

                  It's a sixteen-hour flight, so I'm going to be fed twice (or three times if you count a snack) and yes, eating as well as possible is important to me.

                  Sorry I can't afford $4K for biz class or $13K for first class... I guess I'm not as successful as the rest of you. Maybe when I'm older I'll be able to drop the price of a car on a flight to Asia.

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    Das Ubergeek, let me state first off that the First Class air fare overseas - in any direction - is staggering when you're paying the tarrif out of your own pocket. Secondly, I am not a shill for the airlines.

                    The last several times I have flown overseas, it has been First Class on a couple of different airlines, all courtesy of free miles from my Alaska Airlines credit card's never-expiring mileage program (no, I don't work for them either, I'm a happily retired Food Historian/teaching chef).

                    Over the year(s), I put every single purchase on my credit card which accumulates miles. Yes, every single purchase - college tuitions to dry cleaning - and the total racks up to equal First Class tickets on British Air Phoenix-Heathrow or LAX-Paris.

                    Last year's British Air is hands down my favorite deluxe experience and the only time I can honestly say that I was loathe to get off the plane. Both the food and service were extraordinary.

                    When I don't have enough miles for these glamorous trips, I pay for coach seats (credit card, of course) knowing that my $$$$s are adding to the total necessary for another wonderful flight. (I had a lovely coach experience on a JAL flight LAX-Tokyo and would opt for JAL again, unless Alaska was flying the same route.) Alaska Airlines is likely not the only provider of never-expiring miles but it is what I have and use.

                    Good luck on your upcoming trip and please post your eating experiences.