Running out of my meal preference just doesn’t fly. Sure, sometimes we are only presented the choice between green mush and red mush, but other times there are delightful culinary options which we would hate to miss out on. And why should we? In todays world, technology systems allow for smart ordering, smart catering and hopefully, the delivery of the meal we want. In fact, many airlines let you pre order your meal up to a month in advance….

a large airplane flying in the sky

Singapore Airlines

Braised short ribs in chinese wine and five spice with asian vegetables and wok fired noodles, or just good ole’ Lobster thermidor with saffron rice? For first and business class passengers, Singapore offers one of the most delightful culinary menus to choose from with their “book the cook” pre order service, allowing you to select a meal between 30 days and 24 hours out of your flight. You can even view the potential meals by city and class

a large airplane on the runway

British Airways

I just had to make the life changing decision between a filet of beef with truffle risotto and egg noodles in a coconut and lemongrass broth with mango tout, pak choi and peppers. Tough life. British Airways allows pre order meal service, particularly on flights from Heathrow up to thirty days in advance for passengers traveling in First, Club World or Premium Economy. If you’re in economy you can still pre order a meal if you select one of the upgraded purchase options. Just login online to your booking and let your taste buds do the work. Just make sure to do it before the 24 hour cutoff window!

a plane taking off from a runway

Thai Airways

Prawn penang curry or roasted duck with yellow noodles? There’s a wide variety of storied menu options available for Thai Royal First  and Royal Silk passengers, with a selection of continental and international dishes that make me wish I was at a restaurant and not at my desk writing. You can even order steak for breakfast on a morning flight! What could go wrong? If you’d like to see what’s up for order they have a fantastic interface where you input your departure city and cabin class and are presented with menus. 

a large airplane on a runway


What goes well with over 65 different Australian wine offerings? Perhaps free range crumbed pork with fennel marmalade and mustard, or a chicken tagine with preserved lemon and almond couscous. Like British Airways, Qantas extends the pre order courtesy all the way to Premium Economy, allowing international travelers a wide selection of dishes available from 30 days to 24 hours before their flight. Book yours here

an airplane on the runway

American Airlines

Grilled salmon with caper and lemon butter or a nice rosemary and orange grilled chicken with cauliflower gratin? American Airlines is back again offering pre order meals to first and business class customers on all flights (theoretically) with planned meal service. This is a great upgrade and to the best of my knowledge, they’re currently the only US carrier with wide roll out of the option. Bon apetite! Order here.

a large airplane on the tarmac

China Airlines

Fancy some dim sum? China Airlines, not to be confused with Air China, allows all first and business class passengers to pre select a meal from a list of asian delicacies and continental cuisine. You can place your orders from 14 days up to 48 hours before the flight, giving you a roughly twelve day menu to decide what you’d like to eat on your presumably, long journey. Speaking of which, if there are multiple meals served, you can select each one of them. Very nice. Order here.

a plate of food on a white surface

Pre order meals are smart in so many ways. Less ordering of stuff people don’t want, happier people who get what they want and less food wasted. That’s a big thing. I personally plan to use this service on at least a few flights this year. I wonder if the meals look like their pictures? They rarely do!

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Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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