Food & Nutrition

4 Secrets to Getting a Better Airline Meal

Sometimes shelling out extra cash while traveling isn’t worth it. In this case, however, it’s encouraged.

Opt for à la carte

Airplane Tray TableVietnam Stock Images/Shutterstock

While most long flights offer a free meal, sometimes it’s better to opt out and try tastier, à la carte options instead. You’ll have to pay extra, but traveling is the perfect excuse to indulge. Plus, you may be able to use frequent flier points to pay for meals. Some airlines like Air France and Austrian Airlines have chefs on board. One à la carte dinner option on Austrian Airlines includes wiener schnitzel, deep-fried veal cutlet, a cucumber and potato salad, mousse au chocolat, and fresh bread. On a shorter flight? Try a snack box. Several airlines are trying out the trend, offering traditional convenience-store snacks (sometimes jelly beans and stick salami are just what you need) and healthier options like hummus with crackers and crudités. Believe us, once you get your food, you’ll hardly be thinking about how much you paid.

Order special meals

Food served on board of economy class airplane on the tableAureliy/Shutterstock

Slightly cheaper than the à la carte airline meals are the special-diet meals. Vegan, vegetarian, kosher, and other special options are readily available on flights these days. Plus, some of these offerings have more veggies than the conventional airline meals; you might as well get a few nutrients in when you’re above the clouds. recommends opting for an “Asian vegetarian” dish that adds more flavor and flair to avoid a potentially blasé vegetarian meal. Check out these foods nutritionists eat when they travel by plane.

Buy your meal before you get on the plane

Cute little Asian 18 months / 1 year old toddler baby boy child wearing blue sweater eating food during flight on airplane. Flying with children, Happy air travel with kids & little traveler conceptYaoinlove/Shutterstock

While this might seem glaringly obvious, buying food before you even step onto the plane might be your best bet. Some airports these days have replaced standard fast food options with trendy bars, restaurants, and fast-casual dining spots. You’ll still find good ole Dunkin’ Donuts and Hudson News, but there is so much more to choose from. If you want a more cost-friendly option, bring in wrapped foods from your pantry at home. As long as they haven’t been repackaged and are sealed in their original container, they should pass through TSA screenings. Here are 9 surprising foods that you can bring through airport security.

Eat outside of your comfort zone

Young woman reading a book on flight near window in airplaneillpaxphotomatic/Shutterstock

When you’re in the clouds, the cuisine options are not as plentiful as they are on the ground, making your flight the perfect opportunity to try something new. Whether you want to try one of the special diet meals or choose from something else on the limited menu, the sky is the limit. Of course, the quality won’t be top notch, but if you like it on the plane, you’re even more likely to enjoy it on the ground. Plus, your tastebuds drastically change when you’re at high altitudes, so something you previously turned your nose up at might actually be pretty tasty at 30,000 feet.

However, there are some things you shouldn’t be munching on the plane. Check out the 13 foods you should never eat on a flight.

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