Travel writer Nik Loukas, who says he flies about 300 times a year, is taking food reviews to new heights—literally—with his blog, Inflight Feed, which scores the quality of in-flight experiences across 150 airlines. We caught up with Loukas to find out his tips and recommendations for the perfect in-flight dining experience.
The Good: Austrian Airlines
“The best goddamn breakfast I've ever had in economy class. It cost me 15 euros, but it was definitely worth it.”
First time on Austrian today from Vienna to Zurich. Check out my breakfast in economy class! A delicious Do & Co pre order breakfast for €15.00. Eggs, bacon, potatoes, mushrooms and tomato served with bircher muesli, fresh fruit, piping hot bread and freshly squeezed orange juice. AMAZING! #inflightfeed #austrianairlines #do&co #planefood #airplanefood #economyclass
The Bad: SAS
"Tasteless pizza; even cardboard tastes better!"
And the Inedible: Ukraine International Airlines
"Myster chicken swimming in orange/brown sauce. I'm adventurous, but not that much. I decided to leave this meal alone and not investigate further."
How to Hijack Your In-Flight Meal
Loukas's top tips for making the most of airplane food
The spicier, the better.
“You lose 15%–30% of your sense of smell and taste at altitude, but sour, bitter and spicy flavors are far less impacted than sweet or salty ones. So if there’s a curry on the menu, take it.”
Don’t be afraid to go vegetarian.
“Order a special meal a few days before your flight and choose from 5–20 options depending on the airline. These meals tend not to be as mass-produced as the main selections.”
Drink tomato juice.
“The umami flavor tastes great at 35,000 feet.”
Cold food is key.
“Carbs and hot meals can bloat you inflight. Stick to salads, lots of water, and cold meals for a more comfortable experience.”
Stop watching movies and play music instead.
“Try wearing a pair of headphones and listen to music when eating your meal; apparently it helps it taste better.” Editor’s note: Outlandish, but possibly true. Scientists have suggested that certain music can enhance your taste buds. Two years ago, British Airways even created a Sound Bite playlist, pairing Lily Allen with fish and chips, Madonna with dessert (high tones boost sweet flavors), and Plácido Domingo with coffee. Who knew?
Upgrade your dinner even if you can’t upgrade your seat.
“Some airlines, like Air Canada, offer the opportunity to buy a business-class meal in-flight—it’s well worth paying extra.”