10 of the World's Most Luxurious Gourmet Airlines Slideshow
Air New Zealand
A consulting chef (Peter Gordon of Auckland and London) and two wine consultants give this airline a business class menu that showcases New Zealand's multi-national cuisine. Start with a dish like roasted salmon with sumac, then for the main course, maybe Moorish chicken with spiced saffron tomato broth, white beans, and cinnamon-roasted pumpkin hummus. Dessert choices could include white chocolate and rosewater panna cotta with pistachio cream.
All Nippon Airways
First class customers on this airline enjoy priority lines for security check, an airport lounge to relax in before takeoff, and a private cabin for flying. However, the real star of the show is the in-flight cuisine. If you’re traveling out of New York, the airline offers a choice between modern European and traditional Japanese cuisine. The latter offers options like takiawese (simmered taro, octopus, and pumpkin in a soy-based sauce) or sunomono (poached sliced beef accompanied in sesame sauce.)
There’s a reason Emirates won the Experts’ Choice award for first and business class in-flight dining in Saveur’s latest culinary travel awards. Try the smoked tangerine chicken or braised beef in coconut milk, and indulge in strawberry cheesecake for dessert. Privacy doors and fully flat beds with mattresses also help First Class passengers feel at home. Added plus: an individual vanity and personal mini-bar.
Etihad Airways is the world’s leading airline according to the latest World Travel Awards, and their unique three-room suite in the sky is definitely a factor. Guests who opt for the “Residence” program enjoy a bedroom, bathroom, and living room, complete with a flat-screen television and chilled drinks cabinet. An inflight chef prepares a range of gourmet meals and also takes personal requests from Residence guests.
Flying first class on Japan Airlines means a private compartment with woodgrain interior and a 23-inch personal television. The in-flight restaurant JAL BEDD offers both Western and Japanese cuisine by three different chefs; try the Japanese spiny lobster and simmered abalone served with salted kelp, and for dessert consider the Japanese-style baked pistachio cake.
First and prestige class passengers aboard select Korean Air flights enjoy the “Celestial Bar,” a place to relax with fellow passengers with a unique cocktail in hand. The airline has won two Mercury Awards and offers Western, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean menus for passengers to choose from. Indulge in Korean-style dongchimi noodles or Korean ginseng chicken soup.
This September and October, Chef Christian Jürgens, who holds three Michelin stars at his Überfahrt Christian Jürgens in Bavaria, will provide cuisine for this airline’s first class passengers. Chefs and dishes vary depending on the flight’s destination, but if you’re heading to Hong Kong from New York this week, the menu offers choices like pumpkin ravioli and apple-lacquered pork loin chop. Added plus: The wine list changes every month.
Along with designer pajamas and Giorgio Armani amenities for first class passengers, this airline works exclusively with two celebrity chefs to make gourmet menu options available like classic Arabic mezze and oven-roasted mustard and dill salmon. Try the green jasmine tea before bed and a macchiato in the morning, and don’t forget to check out the extensive wine choices.
BMW designed this airline’s new first class seat, and while passengers are enjoying it, they can order satay, a favorite menu item of skewered chicken, mutton, or beef served with peanut sauce and fresh cucumbers. At least 24 hours before takeoff, guests can “book the cook” by selecting their favorite gourmet meal out of a selection of dishes, like chicken biryani, an Indian specialty, or sesame-fried sea bass.