Good food in economy? Six airlines are making it happen

Several carriers are elevating their main-cabin food on long-haul flights and, in some instances, the alcohol, too.

Is it really possible for economy passengers on long-haul flights to look forward to the in-flight food? On some airlines, that answer may be a “yes.” While back-of-the-plane cuisine doesn’t have a reputation for being appetizing, and amenities for economy fliers are increasingly few and far between, several carriers are taking the opposite approach by elevating their main cabin food on long-haul flights and, in some instances, the alcohol, too.

Many airlines promote their lavish meals and premium wines and liquors for first- and business-class passengers, said Paul Tumpowsky, co-founder and chief executive of the New York travel agency Skylark, but until recently, economy passengers have been largely neglected. Now, he said, tasty economy-class food is no longer an oxymoron. “Competition among airlines is growing by the day, and having good food is a memorable gesture that goes a long way in building a repeat customer base,” he said.

Here are six airlines aiming to make eating in economy a not-so-average experience:

Singapore Airlines: Serving generous portions of sumptuous, flavorful food in economy is a priority for this Asian carrier. Besides the two entree choices, there’s an additional “Deliciously Wholesome” menu of healthful dishes such as quinoa with ratatouille and chickpeas and Oriental-style steamed fish. Those who want to imbibe have their pick of top-shelf spirits.

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EVA Air: Will it be wok-fried pork along with Smirnoff vodka on the rocks for dinner? Or is cuttlefish in a five-spice sauce and a Bombay Sapphire gin more your fancy? For economy passengers on this Taiwanese airline, these are just two of many food and beverage options. The selections always include one Western entree and emphasize seasonal ingredients.

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