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Dining in the Sky - Gourmet Airline Offerings

30th November 2016

Airline dining has changed dramatically for the better. The days of plastic trays filled with nondescript dishes are long gone, with airlines now competing to provide gourmet twists on fresh local produce. The bar has been raised, and leading carriers are continuously cooking up innovative dining strategies to give them an edge in an arena where the sky is the limit. 


Singapore Airlines cook book
Photo courtesy of Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines have taken the conscientous approach of testing their chefs’ creations under pressure, literally. Before a dish ever makes the menu, it is sampled in a pressurised cabin, where a team of chefs tweaks the flavours and adjusts the ingredients to ensure that the food can taste its best at 30,000 feet.

Book the Cook is another Singapore Airlines innovation, offered to First Class, Business Class and Premium Economy passengers. You can reserve your main course up to 24 hours in advance from a comprehensive list of delectable dishes - creations inspired by the prestigious International Culinary Panel that includes Australia’s very own Matt Moran.


Lobster fine dining dish on Emirates flight
Photo courtesy of Emirates Airline


Emirates has taken much care to ensure that passengers experience cuisine and service worthy of the world’s finest restaurants in Emirates First Class. Passengers enjoy a range of dishes that are carefully selected and prepared by award-winning chefs, and available on demand.

Presented on Royal Doulton fine bone china with exclusive Robert Welch cutlery alongside the finest wines in the air, every aspect of the dining experience has been tuned to perfection.

Know before you go – an option that Emirates provides across all cabin classes is the opportunity to simply go online and read about what delicious things will be on the menu for their flight – Emirates guests can board with a sense of excitement for their in-flight culinary experience.


Qantas first class dining
Photo courtesy of Qantas


Qantas is proud to work with Neil Perry, Creative Director of Food, Beverage and Service for Qantas to design menus both in flight and in their lounges. Showcasing seasonal locally sourced ingredients, menus change every quarter to reflect modern food trends.

First Class guests can indulge in a nine-course tasting menu on selected services or choose from a range of canapes, small and main plates, cheese platters and desserts. In Business, travellers also have a choice of small and main plates, cheese platters and desserts designed by Neil Perry as their in-flight dining experience.

Qantas boasts an excellent selection of award-winning Australian wines and has more than 300 Qantas Sommeliers in the Sky, who help customers match wine to their meal selection and discover more about Australian wines served in flight.


Virgin Australia first class dining
Photo courtesy of Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia Business Class passengers have access to ‘The Business' menu created by Australian chef Luke Mangan, which offers clean, fresh flavours and a contemporary Australian feel.

Expect menu delights such as char-grilled beef fillet with pumpkin puree, asparagus and radish salad; and king prawns with corn salsa, coriander and chipotle mayonnaise. The Sky bar offers drinks and snacks at all time for the comfort of Business Class guests. 

Mojo is Luke Mangan’s Sydney gastro hotspot, and it is also home to the test kitchen where he concocts new recipes for the airline, with a focus on fragrant spices to compensate for the fact that the sense of taste is reduced by about 30 percent while in the air. Mr. Mangan also ensures that cabin crew members are instructed on precisely how to assemble the meals to complete the first-rate dining experience.


Air New Zealand first class dining
Photo courtesy of Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand

Showcasing the freshest of Kiwi produce, Air New Zealand’s Business Class food and beverage offerings are designed to tempt even the busiest traveller. Together with internationally acclaimed consultant chef Peter Gordon, they have created a menu that offers options such as seared venison fillet with kumara crisps, red onion, smoked chilli and micro herbs; and lamb shank with golden kumara mash.

New Zealand’s superb wines are represented to their best advantage, with a panel of experts offering up a menu that is carefully selected with low humidity and high altitude in mind. Features such as Fast Dine and Sleep-In Breakfast make it easy to customize dining for maximum in-flight comfort. 


Etihad Airways in-flight chef
Photo courtesy of Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways

Etihad offers a total first-class dining experience with their In-Flight Chef program, which ensures that passengers enjoy cuisine that is freshly prepared by dedicated professionals. This innovative program is peopled by nearly 200 chefs hailing from 35 countries; all of whom are experienced in five-star establishments and ready to serve First Class passengers a range of mouthwatering dinner options.

The in-flight menu is inspired by the world’s leading fine-dining restaurants, and appropriately served on a luxurious range of bone china and crystal glassware. The chic restaurant sensation continues with Cafe Gourmand; a tea and coffee course served with a delicate array of pastries and perhaps a cheeky signature snifter of XO cognac to follow.