Dry, lethargic, lacking excitement and perhaps even a tad oily – and that’s just the passengers after a long flight. While most experts agree that eating before a flight, and self catering during flight is the best way to travel – some travelers still love the in flight meal. A professor, columnist and expert in Food & Health issues, Dr. Charles Platkin is a highly powerful voice when it comes to nutrition in food. He’s just published his 2017/2018 rankings of the healthiest and tastiest airline food available to economy passengers and the competition is mouthwatering.

 

Now – healthiest doesn’t necessarily mean tastiest, but no one wants a disgusting, heavy meal on a plane. For each airline, Platkin examines calories but doesn’t just stop there. The study looks at which airlines have the most variety in their selections and what your best bets are from both a health and taste standpoint for each airline. It’s impressive stuff. The worst airline? Surprisingly, it’s Hawaiian.

 

Hawaiian rounds out the 12th spot for worst airline food, followed in close dismal proximity by Spirit, Allegiant, Southwest, Frontier and American. Scores remained very poor for airlines until cracking the top six choices with United, Alaska, JetBlue and Air Canada. 

 

But Virgin America and Delta were a cut above the rest however. The two airlines tied for the top spot, scoring highly in calorie reduction while improving on variety and flavor. As Virgin America and Alaska merge, Alaska has pledged to retain the economy catering innovations set forth by Virgin America, so passengers can expect the upward trend to continue in 2018. Meanwhile, Delta’s partnership with health brand Luvo continues to pay off, with yet another award.

Amusingly, Platkin’s study highlights which airlines were helpful in conducting the study, and which were – for lack of a better word – pains in the ass to deal with. The full study is a highly insightful and entertaining read and a must before your next U.S. domestic flight. The number one airline is elevating in flight food for the better, both in health and taste. So we’ll take this opportunity to applaud them. Now, want to see the top five economy airlines in the world?

Well done, Delta. What’s been your best economy meal?