When flying, you don’t have the luxury of eating the most gourmet cuisine. That’s why you should look for airline food that satisfies your cravings while still being affordable and accessible. Whether it’s the convenience of ordering online or the taste of freshly-prepared dishes, the choice of airline cuisine should be a conscious decision. Listed below are some of the best options:

Cost

Airlines spend a lot of money on their meals, but in recent years, the costs have been declining. According to the DOT Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the average cost of airline food was $3.30 per passenger in 2007. This means that gourmet dining wasn’t a priority for airlines that were losing money. But is it worth it? It depends. And what’s more important, is the food quality good? In the past, airlines competed on the quality of their meals. In fact, Pan Am once served freshly baked cookies on all flights.

The cost of airline food varies greatly depending on where you’re traveling. Full-service Asian airlines typically offer complimentary meals on long-distance flights. However, many European and US low-cost carriers charge for their meals. As airline food costs are constantly shifting due to economic changes, the quality of airline meals varies. While Asian airlines typically serve gourmet cuisine, US legacy carriers tend to serve multicourse meals that include a soup, appetizer, and entree. Some long-haul flights even offer champagne and caviar.

Quality

The quality of airline food is a major factor in flight experiences, but it plays little role in forming re-flying intentions. The present research examined the relationship among several quality factors, finding that flight food quality is positively related to price reasonableness, satisfaction, and re-flying intention. When analyzing the impact of food quality on re-flying intentions, higher-order structure was found to significantly improve perceived reasonableness and satisfaction.

The food on airplanes is often unappealing and not worth the price. Served in a fancy dish, the meals are generally stale and tasteless. Sadly, this gruesome reality hasn’t changed much in the past few decades. In fact, the quality of airline food has decreased over the years as airlines cut their food budgets. The unstable economy has made it impossible for airlines to improve the quality of their food.

Environmental impact

There are many ways to reduce the environmental impact of airline food, but a simple change in your habits can make a big difference. For example, consider a meal on a Chinese airline: each serving produces between 0.43 and 3.52 kilograms of CO2 equivalent, compared to around 0.6 kilograms on an American airline. If you want to help the environment and save money, you may want to consider buying locally grown foods or choosing vegetarian meals.

The aviation industry has been paying more attention to the issue of food waste, particularly full-service airlines that include in-flight catering in their ticket prices. The food service industry is strict about safety and quality, and unconsumed airline meals are regarded as catering waste. Traditional treatment options for airline waste include landfill and incineration, which release significant amounts of greenhouse gases. As a result, food waste cannot be recycled. Airlines must find new ways to reduce food waste.