Review: The best airline food in Europe

Review: The best airline food in Europe

Airplane food is universally known around the world as just not being that delicious. Some say it could be be the low-quality ingredients, while others have a more scientific approach about taste buds and high altitude leading to less enjoymentbut I digress.

With hundreds of airlines out there, surely they can’t all get it wrong? We went on a mission over the last few months that took us across Europe and Africa, as we ate breakfast, lunch and dinner on five different airlines to get an answer for you.


Who we flew with and what we had

  • Aegean Airlines: Four different flights going in and out of Greece, Egypt and Germany. Meals were anywhere from a snack to some pasta, as well as some yummy Greek yoghurt. 
  • Turkish Airlines: Two different flights going from Iceland to Turkey, with our meal consisting of a traditional Turkish eggplant dish.
  • Norwegian Air: Croatia to Iceland with a stopover in Helsinki. We had to purchase meals in-flight so resorted to a sandwich.
  • EgyptAir: Cairo to Athens, which included a box of cold meats and cheeses.
  • Scoot: Two different flights, going from Perth to Singapore and Singapore to Berlin, which included a dinner meal and a lunch box.

p.s all these flights were in Economy.

Let's start with Aegean Airlines, which we predominately used during our Greece escapades this summer. Before we could sip cocktails on the Mediterranean we had to get through a few in-flight meals first.

Aegean Airlines

Aegean Airlines food
Aegean Airlines food

Number of flights: Four, including one domestic and three short-haul European international flights, but we are going to focus on the flight from Athens to Cairo.

Payment: Pre-paid within flight ticket.

Meal: Vegetarian shepherd's pie and Greek yoghurt with honey.

What did we like?: Well, let's just start with the local Greek yoghurt. It’s one of those foods where everyone asks us, "What’s the one food that tastes better in its home country?", and we always seem to come back to the Greek yoghurt. I think that, out of all the meals we had on board, something as simple as this side dish can bring back memories of our incredible holiday in Greece—yes, it’s that good.

What did we not like?: The shepherd’s pie just passable, the majority of the meal was made up of mashed potato, it would have been nice to have a few veggies to go with it.

What is the quality like?: The quality was fine, but it did have that mass-produced feel to it, as if the tray had been passed down a line and the mash and pie and been slogged onto it.

Score out of 10: The pie may have failed but I would still give the meal a 6, just because of that Greek yoghurt.

Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines food
Turkish Airlines small meal

Number of flights: Two, both international, but we are going to focus on the Iceland to Brussels connecting flight because of the meal provided.

Payment: Pre-paid within flight ticket.

Meal: Baked eggplant and rice, fruit salad, small side salad, bread roll, water.

What did we like?: The fresh bread roll.

What did we not like?: You really need to be eating eggplant freshly cooked, as once it has been sitting there for a while the texture can move into an uncomfortable blob. We also found the rice to be slightly uncooked with a few hard pieces getting stuck in our teeth.

What is the quality like?: I wouldn't necessarily fault the quality as the Turks know how to cook a good eggplant dish (as we found during our two weeks of exploring Turkey). However, it’s just the issue you have with serving food a few hours after it has been prepared. I would suggest skipping the eggplant dish and going for another option (or bringing some snacks onboard).

Score out of 10: I would give it a 4 out of 10.

NorwegianAir

Norwegian Air menu food

Number of flights: One international.

Payment: Paid on board.

Meal: Mozzarella and tomato sandwich on rye bread.

What did we like?: We were actually expecting a meal when we arrived on board, without realising that we had booked a low-cost airline. Since it was a three-hours-plus flight with a layover in Finland, we bit our tongue and bought some food onboard. To our surprise, it was one of the best sandwiches we have ever had.

What did we not like?: Nothing. It was one of the best sandwiches I have ever had. Well worth the €6 we paid for it on board.

What is the quality like?: High.

Score out of 10: 9 out of 10.

EgyptAir

Eygypt Air food

Number of flights: One international.

Payment: Pre-paid, included in flight ticket.

Meal: Cold meats, cheese, coleslaw, bread roll, strawberry cheesecake and mango fruit juice. 

What did we like?: The dessert. 

What did we not like?: The meal itself. We had specifically placed a vegetarian order, and even after we insisted on this with the flight attendant, showing our booking confirming it, she still placed down some cold meats and cheeses. Even if you did eat meat, the portions were quite small and almost pathetic-looking, with a small cut of cheese, one olive and a few pieces of meat.

What is the quality like?: Not sure, couldn’t eat it.

Score out of 10: 1 out of 10.

Scoot

Scoot Air menu food
Scoot Air food

Number of flights: Two international, but we are focusing on the Perth to Singapore lunch menu.

Payment: Pre-paid on top of flight ticket.

Meal: Mushroom pasta bake with asparagus, side salad, Babybel cheese and crackers, strawberry yoghurt, and water.

What did we like?: To be honest, the meal was great, quite high quality, especially the mushroom pasta bake which still had some crisp on the bake. Generally with airline food (as we found out with our Turkish Airline flop) if it has been sitting around it usually doesn’t hold well by the end, but this did. 

What did we not like?: The asparagus was the only part that didn’t hold up too well in the air and was quite mushy by the time we dug into it.

What is the quality like?: Maybe because Scoot is a low-cost airline we had low expectations, but we were pleasantly surprised at the high quality.

Score out of 10: 7 out of 10.

What we learnt from comparing five different airlines

Scoot Air food

At the end of the day, food on planes has come a long way in the last few years, with airlines offering a wide variety of main courses, side dishes and snacks. You really don’t know what you are going to get, so it can be quite hard to book an airline with food quality in mind. We found the low-cost airlines (both Scoot and Norwegian Air) to have some of the best dishes, so that’s something to keep in mind.