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.


a person holding a burritoNow – 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. a tray of food on a tray


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.

a white and blue airplane in the skyAmusingly, 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?


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...

Join the Conversation


  1. It looks like the study is all about calories like everyone is watching their weight. To address calories and move up in the study airlines have an easy choice – smaller portions.

  2. Love to see how BA’s fun sized Mars bar “meal” would fit in this scale (or their truly abysmal “main meal” offering on long haul)
    …as for my namesake, some airlines have already shrunk meals to the point of a farce!
    I don’t hate BA but when summed the thousands of cuts to their service over the past few years make them a truly abysmal operator and that’s before the introduction of 29″ “business class” pitch and removal of adequate toilet and storage facilities on flights of upto 4hours

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *