My Favorite First Class Airline Food

This post isn’t about the airlines with the best food in first class (there’s no way a British airline would be mentioned if it were!), but rather about some of the food I most look forward to when flying certain airlines. It might not even be the best food offered by that airline, but for whatever reason it’s what I look forward to.

With that in mind, in no particular order, here are 10 of my favorite things to eat in first class:

British Airways first class afternoon tea

British Airways’ first class food is bloody mediocre on the whole, in my opinion. As far as I’m concerned they could just serve afternoon tea for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on all their flights and I would be a happy camper.

British Airways afternoon tea

Emirates first class arabic mezze

Emirates has a massive first class menu, to the point that it’s problematic. Like, it’s the size of a Cheesecake Factory menu. So it’s always nice to have something to “rely on” that you know will be great, which is the arabic mezze.

Emirates arabic mezze

Cathay Pacific first class egg tarts and Hong Kong milk tea

Egg tarts are one of my favorite sweet treats, and can be found on Cathay Pacific’s first class snack menu exclusively on flights departing Hong Kong. Eat (or at least “reserve”) them early in the flight, as they don’t cater many. And wash it down with a pot of Hong Kong milk tea… just be prepared to spend an hour on the treadmill upon landing.

Cathay Pacific egg tarts and Hong Kong milk tea

Singapore Airlines first class satay

Secretly half of the reason I hope for an empty cabin when flying Singapore is so I can have all the satay. Note that Singapore doesn’t serve satay on “supper” flights, but instead just on some flights serving lunch and dinner.

Singapore Airlines satay

ANA first class caviar service

Lots of airlines serve caviar, though few do it with as much class as ANA. An entire tin? Check! A caviar spoon? Check! Blinis? Check!

ANA caviar

Korean Air first class bibimbap

Nom nom nom nom! Just be careful with the hot sauce – it’s hot!

Korean Air bibimbap

Lufthansa first class scrambled eggs

I realize I’m in the minority here and am probably going to get death threats for this, but I hate bacon. Hate bacon. Yes, I’m talking about you, British Airways, with your pesky bacon rolls!

As a matter of fact, I hate any sort of meat in the AM hours. Get sausage near me before noon and I’ll cut a b#tch!

So naturally I love Lufthansa for their freshly prepared eggs. You can have them with chives and bacon, though I only take the former.

Lufthansa scrambled eggs

Etihad Airways first class custom prepared steak

Eithad Airways offers an onboard chef in first class, which years ago I thought was all for show. But on my most recent flight with them I was actually impressed.

I could choose the type of meat I wanted, how I wanted it cooked, what sides I wanted, and what sauce I wanted. And it was executed exactly to my specifications.

Etihad Airways steak prepared to my liking

Qantas first class steak sandwich

Qantas has phenomenal catering in first class, including a tasting menu on their daytime flights out of Australia. However, quite possibly my favorite onboard meal is their steak sandwich, which is found on their snack menu.

Qantas steak sandwich

China Southern first class Duc de Paris

After a stressful transit at Guangzhou Airport you board your A380 flight back to Los Angeles and are probably parched. Nothing quenches thirst quite like a bottle of Duc de Paris! There are lots of airlines that are just followers, serving the predictable stuff like Krewg, Dong Peryon, Moey and Chandon, etc. China Southern is a trendsetter, and really sets the tone for how they feel about first class with their alcohol budget.

A bottle of this delicious sparkling wine will cost you ~51,000… Indonesian Rupiah. Rumor has it to offer a better variety in first class they’ll seasonally be switching to Welch’s White Grape Sparkling Cocktail.

China Southern Duc de Paris sparkling wine

What are some of your favorite first class food/snacks?

Filed Under: Travel
  1. Agree on the Cathay egg tarts! I actually prefer Cathay’s eggs over Lufthansa’s. And Cathay does a nice job with their hot pot too.

    Etihad’s steak sandwich is up there with Qantas’ I think! For me though.. it’s Etihad’s BAKLAVA!

    And I think I prefer Malaysia’s satay over Singapore’s.

  2. Damn you, Lucky…posting this just before lunchtime!! 😉

    Agree on the steak sandwich on Qantas – what about any of the food you’ve eaten on Thai? I’ve been served some very good panang curry, BKK-FRA TG A380.

  3. To be honest, I would say that the NH and CX caviar services are basically identical (due to CX’s recent enhancement of the caviar service), with the only major difference being how they’re plated; well, and CX doesn’t serve lemon and onions. But they’re still pretty close…

  4. Good article. Thanks for the heads up on BA. Nice to see that they’re living up to the English culinary tradition in fine form. Maybe they could invite Gordon Ramsay in to help them out.

  5. Love your last favourite… ‘drink’ if you can call it that ;-).

    Egg tarts aren’t THAT fattening… and I would never drink a whole pot of milk tea. Not if its real Hong Kong style milk tea anyway. Have you seen the strength of the tea they use? It’s probably got nearly as much caffeine as coffee per unit volume!

    And, btw, did I mention (?), I’d like an egg tart too. Please 🙂

  6. Interesting that you listed Emirates Arabic mezze…as in one your Emirates TRs, you said you preferred Etihad’s version…but I guess you couldn’t have 2 entries from Etihad lol

    “So naturally I love Lufthansa for their freshly prepared eggs.”

    I’m guessing you listed their scrambled eggs over SQs or CX since you pretty aren’t a fan of the rest of the food Lufthansa offers, no? 😉 I mean, how could anyone pass up jellied cauliflower mousse or tomato confit served with dessert…

  7. Not first class relevant but I had the most amazing filet mignon on a Swiss air flight in business class – cooked medium rare to order (well all relative in flight so heated to order I suppose for biz class) that was as good as anything I’ve had at a reasonable steak restaurant. Was shocked – though the apathetic service ensured I didn’t walk away completely floored 😉

  8. not related to F class travelk but i had the most exquisite salmon in Swiss biz class JFK-ZRH.

  9. @ wwk5d — Hah, was trying to limit it to one per airline, which is why I mentioned Emirates’ arabiz mezze. Sharp eye, though!

    As far as Lufthansa goes, actually prefer their eggs to Cathay’s. Cathay doesn’t put chives in them, and Lufthansa consistently prepares them well done. Even when I ask for them to be well done on Cathay they’re still sometimes a bit runny.

  10. @ Ace — Can’t say I’ve ever had an amazing meal on Thai. I actually wish they’d serve more Thai food, though in my experience they don’t serve much.

  11. China Southern was my favorite!! Rumor also has it that they have the widest variety of eight drinks in their first class. Pretty hard to beat 😉

  12. Aww, come on. If it’s called “Duke of Paris,” it’s got to be elegant. That’s probably what they told the duke while they were inserting his neck into the guillotine…

  13. Second best meal I ever had on a plane was Thai’s duck rice soup. Though most of their food is decidedly mediocre.

    I guess the difference between the two of us, Lucky, is that I do not want my eggs well done! (Provided they are being prepared under safe conditions, of course.)

  14. Not first class but the mezze cart on Turkish Airlines was some of the best food I’ve had on a plane.

  15. “As a matter of fact, I hate any sort of meat in the AM hours. Get sausage near me before noon and I’ll cut a b#tch!”

    No meat (or sausage, specifically) in the morning? I find that hard to believe…

  16. @Lucky #16 – the book-aheads on my last TG F flight included an option for a multi-course Thai meal with variation of main course (chicken, beef, etc).

  17. I’ll second the British Air tea service — especially the scones with jam and clotted cream. And as silly as it might sound, one of the things I look forward to the most when flying Emirates first class is the pre-flight Arabic coffee and dates.

  18. “Get sausage near me before noon and I’ll cut a b#tch!”

    I guess we now know Lucky isn’t a morning person 😉

  19. I laughed out loud when I got to the Duc de Paris. My favorite is the ramen on the Asiana snack menu. Just a tiny bit spicy and totally delicious. I slurp it up while watching a mid-flight action movie.

  20. Yuck! Chives instead of bacon? Caviar? I think it shows why airlines that offer a choice and some pre order options win for me – what some folk love I would hate and vice versa!

  21. Totally disagree about protein in the morning but that China Southern bubbly write up is hilarious!

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