Airlines aren’t always the most consistent when it comes to takeoff time, entertainment, or customer service.
But if there’s one issue that uniformly plagues most everyday airlines, it’s food.
And you don’t need us to tell you that food matters. For some people, in-air dining can make or break their decision to fly certain airlines—especially if you don’t want to be that guy cracking open a plastic container of beef and broccoli at 39,000′ or hauling $40 worth of healthy airport snacks onto the plane.
So: What are the airlines for the foodie flyer? That’s exactly the question Charles Platkin, Ph.D., director of dietdetective.com, has partnered with the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center to produce their annual airline-food survey for 2017–2018.
Overall, 12 airlines were rated and given a “health score” from 0-5. Platkin based the scores on criteria like “nutrient levels, total calories of meals, snack boxes, individual snacks, transparency of nutrient information and ingredients, improvement and maintenance of healthy choices, menu innovation, and cooperation in providing nutritional information.” The full study includes health ratings, average calories per airline, best bets, and commentary.
The winners? “This year Delta and Virgin America share the top spot as the airlines with the ‘healthiest’ food choices in the sky, with Air Canada and JetBlue tied for second,” Platkin says.
Here are the best and worst airlines for food, of 2017–2018, with a few of their top-rated meals.