The tastiest airline food to enjoy this summer

Scones with clotted cream, a full Irish breakfast and a Nando’s snack box: Decent airline food is finally taking off

  • Neil Simpson discovers how to get the finest food and drink on offer at 35,000ft
  • BA is offering a scone with jam and cream as part of its afternoon tea picnic box
  • Celebrity chef James Martin has spiced up Thomas Cook’s in-flight menu

Every week our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week he discovers how to get the finest food and drink on offer at 35,000ft.

Airline food has never had a good reputation. In her novel Sky High, flight attendant and author Jennie Jordan describes passenger meals containing ‘violently yellow, shrink-wrapped cheese that could survive nuclear war, and a chocolate brownie that could break a window’. But while there are still plenty of culinary horrors up in the air, there are sweet spots as well. 

Here are ten tasty treats to enjoy this summer…

The Mail on Sunday’s Neil Simpson discovers how to get the finest food and drink on offer at 35,000ft

High standards from TV cook

Celebrity chef James Martin has spiced up Thomas Cook’s in-flight menu. His new meals include Somerset cider chicken with dauphinoise potato and roasted root vegetables – free on long-haul flights when you can also expect banoffee caramel latte mousse for dessert. On shorter flights, meals start at £6.50 and end with Belgian chocolate mousse, plus a slice of millionaire’s shortbread with coffee. 

Ryanair meat-free offering

Even Ryanair is keeping up with culinary trends this summer with a new vegan lasagne for £5.35. Or try a spiced chai latte for £2.60.

Full Irish breakfast

High standards: Meals on offer to passengers this summer include a full Irish breakfast from Aer Lingus

High standards: Meals on offer to passengers this summer include a full Irish breakfast from Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus is offering a £9 Irish breakfast including sausages, bacon, tomatoes and hash-browns plus black and white pudding, McCambridge brown bread, Irish butter and marmalade. Or choose a £5 Guinness pasty or a £4.50 can of Pure Brew, the brewer’s new alcohol-free beer. 

Meal deals that are just Wizz

Meal deals are as common in the air as they are on the high street. Pick any sandwich and any drink from the Wizz menu and get a snack such as a KitKat for free. With a soft drink it’s £5.35, with beer or wine it’s £7.50.

Nando’s at altitude

Can’t resist a cheeky Nando’s at home? Jet2 keeps the flavour flowing at altitude by offering the new PERi-PERi Flight Bites snack box with pita chips, houmous and Nando’s drizzling sauce. It’s £4.

Say it with champagne

Loved-up travellers can add romance to flights by pre-ordering champagne and chocolates with Tui. If the £34 price tag is too high, try comfort eating instead. Tui has chunky chips and ketchup for £2.50.

BA’s cream-tea treat

Treat: BA is offering a scone with jam and cream as part of its afternoon tea picnic box

Treat: BA is offering a scone with jam and cream as part of its afternoon tea picnic box

If you’re flying short-haul on British Airways, the ‘Best of British’ menu includes an afternoon tea picnic box containing a sultana scone, Tiptree strawberry jam and clotted cream from Devon. It’s £5, or pay with Avios. Fly long-haul in premium economy and enjoy a new range of free cocktails: top choice so far is the gin fizz. 

Start saving before take-off

Whatever you eat on board, get more of it on easyJet by pre-paying for snack vouchers. Buy online and get £5 of vouchers for £4, though you won’t get change if you don’t spend the full amount. Top easyJet offering? A bacon roll with HP sauce for £4.50.

Personalised snack bars

Fly on Norwegian’s Dreamliners and you’re promised a ‘personal snack bar’ for food and drink. Open it by swiping a credit card underneath the seatback TV screen, make your choice and the crew bring it to your seat. Top choices include classic ham and cheese toasties for £5.50.

Coffee with a clear conscience

After your inflight meal enjoy coffee with a clear conscience on Virgin Atlantic. The airline’s new blend is from Change Please, a charity offering barista-training and educational opportunities to rough sleepers in the UK. The brew has won taste tests and is served from economy to Upper Class.


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