TPG readers reveal the best meals they’ve ever had in economy
TPG Lounge member Kevin M. recently posed this question to the rest of the group: “For those of us who sit in economy, what has been the tastiest meal or meal box you’ve purchased or been served?” Here’s a look at some of our favorite answers. (Some responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity).
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Best meals on domestic flights
Several TPG Lounge readers described the best snacks and meals they’ve encountered in economy on domestic flights, whether it was memorable mezze samplers on United or epic cheese boxes on JetBlue and Alaska Airlines.
“I really enjoyed the mezze sampler box United had with quinoa salad, falafel, pita, and hummus. It was only $7.50 if you pay with the United Explorer Card, and was actually a filling meal for a 3.5-hour flight.” — Eric R.
“I once had a Kosher meal on United Airlines with a bagel and cream cheese, smoked salmon and some other stuff. I used to pick different meals to try them out.” — Valerie R.S.
“The Beecher’s Flagship cheese on Alaska Airlines is very good. Plus, at the airport in Seattle (SEA), there’s an outlet where you can purchase it.” — Eva C.
“JetBlue has an awesome ham and Swiss on a croissant. I was very surprised. I wasn’t expecting much for the cost but it completely beat an airport sandwich!” — Chris L.
Best meals on international flights
Other TPG Lounge members mentioned favorite Korean dishes on flights to and from Seoul, while others sang the praises of coach cuisine on Qantas, Emirates, Delta, ANA, Virgin Atlantic, AsiaAir, United and Singapore Airlines.
“Flights between Seoul (ICN) and Dallas (DFW) have always served my family well for the last 10 years. It’s either a beef or chicken Korean dish or pasta with a bread roll and salad for the main meal and a decent sized omelet or sandwich for the snack or breakfast.” — Kelley K.J.E.
“This was a few years ago, but I was totally blown away by a Qantas connection from Sydney to Cairns in economy. First, it was a wide-body jet, which was not expected for a three-hour flight. Then, in economy, they served a flavorful hot curry dish with an ice cream sundae.” — Russell M.
“Coconut chicken dinner on Delta from Barcelona (BCN) to New York-JFK.” — Jeffrey U.
“ANA from San Francisco (SFO) to Tokyo (NRT). Best food ever, plus Haagen Dazs for dessert after each meal and constant tea service throughout the flight.” — Lillian C.M.
“Virgin Atlantic does really good curries and now serves scones with clotted cream on the London (LHR) to New York-JFK route.” — Kate D.
“Last summer, I was in coach for a two-hour mid-afternoon flight from Bangkok to Singapore on Singapore Airlines. We had a choice of a fish, beef or vegetarian dish, along with wine, beer and liquor, all complimentary. They even had a toy for our five-year-old. It was by far the best coach service I’ve ever experienced.” — Brett C.W.
“I had a fantastic chicken dish with rice and hollandaise sauce on Delta from Amsterdam to Minneapolis. They also had salted caramel chocolate ice cream for dessert. So good!” — Tatiana L.
“Dim Sum on Hong Kong Airlines on a flight from Hong Kong (HKG) to Los Angeles (LAX), RIP. And lamb steak on Emirates on a flight from San Francisco (SFO) to Dubai (DXB).” — Jake G.
“I flew Emirates in economy from New York (JFK) to Dubai (DXB) and it was hands down the best airplane food I’ve ever had, essentially a spread of restaurant-quality food that was piping hot. The next best would be in economy on Singapore Airlines when I flew from Los Angeles (LAX) to Seoul (ICN). They had a wonderful selection of great wines to pair with the food.” — Heather U.
“Denver (DEN) to Panama City (PTY) with a tasty chicken and cheese frittata on flatbread for breakfast on United. From their Latin American menu, and I used my card for a discount.” — Nadine S.
“Japan Airlines was great in economy, but honestly I was surprised with the food on American Airlines coming home from Hong Kong on Tuesday. They fed us three times, including an option for dim sum, which my son chose for breakfast. They also had a surprisingly yummy teriyaki chicken pie that was almost like a hot pocket.” — Kirsten D.R.
“AirAsia has killer meals for purchase. Loved the black pepper beef!” — David L.
“I’ve flown 22 legs with Emirates and not had one bad meal. Ever. I remember on one trip the butter was a little too chilled and I had to wait a few minutes before I could spread it on my bread roll. That’s Emirates economy.” — Mark S.
“Bibimbap when flying Korean Air from PEK (Beijing) to GMP (Seoul’s Gimpo Airport) and back two days later, we got the same. The little tube of gochujang was key — if I could buy them and keep them in my purse like hot sauce packets, I would! It had rice, beef, bean sprouts, mushrooms, kimchi and I’m sure a lot more. Smush it together with the gochujang and devour!” — Erica C.L.
“Singapore Airlines had stir-fried seafood vermicelli, which I wasn’t expecting to be that comforting, along with complimentary beer, wine and cocktails. I had mine with a Bloody Mary and the crew intuitively ensured that I always had a drink in my hand.” — CY G.
“I had some really good beef and noodles on my 3:50 flight from Guam (GUM) to Manila (MNL) on United. It was so good I asked for seconds after the crew had gone through the cabin.” — Matthew P.
Featured photo by RUBEN RAMOS/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.