The Airline With The Most Chef-Worthy Food

Hopping onboard a flight on an empty stomach is a rookie mistake no seasoned traveler would make, not because empty stomachs can cause bouts of nausea and dehydration but simply because airline food leaves much to be desired. Even if you don't mind the food served on an airplane, lining your stomach with at least moderately decent food at the airport beforehand is always a good idea.

This is not to say that airlines don't care about what they serve their passengers. On the contrary, Condé Nast Traveler found that airlines like United and American reportedly spent an average of $6.08 and $6.43 on the meals served to each passenger in 2014. Airlines like Qatar and Qantas even partner with world-famous chefs like Nobu Matsuhisa and Neil Perry to add much-needed flair to their onboard menus.

Despite their efforts, however, airplane food can't seem to shrug off its bad rep. From a lack of options that cater to different dietary requirements, to stale bread rolls, dry proteins, and under-seasoned mains, airplane food isn't exactly a Michelin dining experience. But, if flyers had to pick an airline with better food than its peers, USA Today's Reader's Choice Awards 2021 voted the Japan-based All Nippon Airways to be the best — the same airline that has ranked among the top three on Skytrax's Best World Airlines Awards for several years in a row.

Readers voted All Nippon as the airline with the best in-flight food

All Nippon Airways is a five-star airline per Skytrax's rating program which not only takes inflight entertainment, seat space, and service into consideration but also the quality of food and drinks that an airline serves. In a world where pieces of bread taste like sawdust and salads are sad and wilted, All Nippon uses the words "soft and chewy" in front of its inflight bread and "sustainably sourced" and "fresh" in front of the kale served onboard. The airline also has The Connoisseurs program which partners with chefs from leading Japanese restaurants and liquor experts to curate its inflight menus.

More surprisingly, when the COVID-19 lockdowns put a temporary ban on travel, the Japanese turned towards All Nippon and its inflight food for solace. According to Forbes, All Nippon delivered a total of 264,000 meals worth $1.8 million to Japanese residents all across the country who missed the airline's food in 2021. The frozen meals included what would typically be served in economy class which could then be heated in a microwave at home just as an air hostess would onboard an airplane.

People were eating airplane food on the ground, voluntarily, which might explain why All Nippon was voted to have the most chef-worthy food among all airlines in the world. Gordon Ramsay once told Refinery29 that, "there's no f***ing way I eat on planes" but let's just say that if there was ever an airline that could change Ramsay's mind, All Nippon's inflight meals may have a solid shot.