Airline Foods From a Seafarer’s Point Of View: Is It Tasty or Not?

One of the good things of being a seafarer is to fly around the world, whether you’ll sign on to your vessel from Manila to another place in the world, or sign off from the ship to Manila. With that, seafarers have the chance to fly with different airlines that their offices book for them. Some of them fly short-haul flights, while some others fly long-haul ones and even interconnecting flights. It may be a tiring thing to do, but it’s a fun adventure.

Of course, during flight, one of the most sought after happenings onboard is the inflight meal. These are meals pre-made by airline catering services in the airport, loaded to the airplane and pre-heated onboard before serving. Depending on the time of the flight, nationality of the airline and the passengers, condition of those who will eat and the airline itself, meals can be a sumptuous or a disaster.

Some say airline meals are a bit bland. This may hold true because when the plane is in the mid flight, the pressurized environment inside causes the mucous glands and our taste buds go dry and do not function properly. As a result, our sense of taste becomes weaker.

For me, it is still a heaven if I’ll eat airline foods. It may be small in quantity but it’s a part of my journey in my flight. In this post, I will share you some of the inflight meals I’ve had and rate it according to taste, presentation and service. Please be reminded that all of the meals described below are on the economy class seats since the flights booked by our company are on that class.

 

1. Thai Airways TG 620 Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi (BKK) to Manila (MNL), Sept 2014

Thai Airways breakfast meal consists of sausage, eggs, tomatoes, jelly, coffee and overflowing croissants.

My second and last contract as a Third Mate lasted for 365 days. I signed off together with my then Chief Mate in Laem Chabang, Thailand (TH LCB). Then we took a morning flight from Bangkok to Manila via Thai Airways. The plane is a Boeing 777-200LR and it took off nice and on time.

On the first hour of the flight, the breakfast meal is served. Unlike other airlines, the breakfast meal is the same for all passengers. It consists of sausage and eggs with sun dried tomatoes, bread and jelly, salad, coffee and overflowing croissants. Yup, unlimited croissants. The food is delicious and I can’t get over with the croissants that they almost have to shove it up to me just for me to eat it. The service is good, however the flight is a bit bumpy.

Food: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Service: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Presentation: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

2. Philippine Airlines PR 426 Manila (MNL) to Fukuoka (FUK), Sept 2013

What the FUK! This is heaven!

While the first one is taken after my last contract as Third Mate, this one was from my flight before signing on as my last Third Mate. It was a brand new vessel and all of the 20 crew flew altogether from Manila to Fukuoka, Japan and will land travel to Imabari Shipyard. And this happened on my mother’s birthday.

The meal is Japanese- inspired lunch like a bento box. It consists of rice with sesame seeds, chicken karaage and vegetables, salad, bread and Max’s Ube Panna Cotta. The rice is cooked to perfection, the chicken is tender, and the Panna cotta is absolutely smooth and creamy. To sum it up, PAL never ceases to give a heartfelt service.

Food: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Presentation: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Service:⭐⭐⭐⭐

3. Philippine Airlines PR 407 Osaka-Kansai (KIX) to Manila, March 2012

By far, the most disappointing flight meal because it was the time before PAL overhauled their service

This was still the days when Philippine Airlines were not yet overhauling their service. Although the food is quite delicious, it never exceeded my expectations.

Our meal onboard that time was beef steak with vegetables, cold salads, mochi and bread. But still, the service is excellent.

Food: ⭐⭐⭐

Presentation : ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Service: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

4. Philippine Airlines PR 427 Fukuoka to Manila, May 2013

Deliciously done, but more on the passive side.

During this flight, I still got hangover from the drinking sessions we had on our ship because of our despedida. I was so drunk that the spirits of the vodka is releasing from my mouth and nose during our flight, but I am fully conscious.

Nevertheless, I am fully awake and attentive during my flight back home. The inflight meal was served on the half of the flight due to severe weather conditions and turbulence. It is a chicken stew with rice and pickled vegetables and tamago, pineapple jelly and bread with coffee. The meat is tender and hot, but the presentation is quite meh.

Food: ⭐⭐⭐

Presentation: ⭐⭐⭐

Service: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

5. Philippine Airlines PR 437 Nagoya Chubu (NGO) to Manila, September 2015

This was the year when PAL decided to use reusable plastic plates on their inflight meals in Japan sector.

Hooray for this! This was the words I uttered when they served me this meal. The lunch is Pork teriyaki with carrots and bamboo shoots, fish cake and vegetables, carrot pound cake and bread. They even provided chopsticks for this meal.

The meal was so good I even requested if they have extra rice, and they even gave me an entire meal for free!

We were all 4 crew who went home that time and we asked for beers as a complimentary celebration while on the flight. Truly enjoyable moment.

Food: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Presentation: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Service: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

6. Cathay Pacific Airways CX 506 Hong Kong (HKG) to Osaka Kansai, May 2018

By far the worst one I had. Luckily I chose this for breakfast.

On my last embarkation to my last vessel, our flight to Hong Kong from Manila was delayed due to severe weather. Because of that, we never got to catch up our flight to Osaka-Kansai. We were rebooked to the next earliest flight but we have to wait for another 6 hour layover.

The meal was served almost 2 hours after takeoff. The breakfast was between chicken porridge and English breakfast, so I chose the latter. It has sausage, eggs, potatoes and sun dried tomatoes, bread roll, fruits and juice or coffee. The food looks like made by a college student cramming for exams and forgot to drain the excess oils from the food. The service however, was good and very courteous (I even got to talk with one of the FAs onboard).

Food: ⭐⭐

Presentation: ⭐⭐

Service: ⭐⭐⭐

7. Jetstar Airways 3K 762 Manila to Singapore (SIN), February 2015

First time to have an inflight meal on a low-cost carrier.

Jetstar Airways is a low-cost carrier based in Singapore. Inflight meals are not included on the fare, however it can be pre-ordered during booking.

The funny thing was, during our flight, te plane was full of passengers but the three of us (on signers) have the privilege to eat their inflight meals. I chose the Mediterranean chicken. The meat is cooked in a Moroccan style sauce, topped above mashed potatoes and broccoli. Drinks however, is only water but coffee can be purchased. The flavors of the food is so good and sumptuous.

Food: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Presentation: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Service: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

8. Philippine Airlines PR 897 Osaka-Kansai to Taipei (TPE) sector, January 2019

Beef gyudon was so good I tried to ask the FAs if they still have any leftovers. Haha

My last international flight is a connecting flight but same plane and airlines. After leaving Osaka Kansai, it will make a stopover in Taipei before going back to Manila.

The meal consists of beef gyudon, pineapple jello, cold vegetable pickles and tamago (egg rolls), salads and bread. The sauce of the beef is sto sweet and tangy, it will make you dip your fingers in it and lick it.

Food: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Presentation: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Service: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

9. Philippine Airlines PR 897 Taipei to Manila sector, January 2019

Very Taiwanese. Spicy and sweet.

On our Taipei to Manila sector, I thought we will have no meals since we already have it earlier but we were surprised. In fact, all of the passengers from Osaka were the first to have the meal.

The dinner is braised chicken and rice, cashew and peanut pudding and bread rolls. It is so simple but the flavors are so spicy and sweet.

Food: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Presentation: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Service: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

10. Philippine Airlines PR 104 Los Angeles (LAX) to Manila, October 2016

Sounds delicious, but meh.

My offsigning experience during my second contract as Second Mate is the longest one. We disembarked at the Port of Balboa and started our journey in Panama City, with quick connecting flights to Miami and Los Angeles, before getting on the longer flight to Manila onboard PR 104 which has 14 hours flying time.

The first meal was served on the 2nd hour of the flight. I chose Chicken Ravioli, with penne salad, banana mousse and bread rolls. I was a bit disappointed because the food tastes bland and saltless despite the name sounds inviting.

Food: ⭐⭐⭐

Presentation: ⭐⭐⭐

Service: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The world famous breakfast meal of Philippine Airlines- Daing na Bangus. Ctto chinkyeyedhoarder.wordpress.com for the photo.

There are two meals served onboard this flight, and a snack during the 8th hour. The last meal is the breakfast, which was served 3 hours before arriving in Manila. I got the chance to try the famous “daing na bangus” of Philippine Airlines. It consists of fried bangus daing, fried rice, scrambled egg, mushroom and tomatoes; unlimited bread and coffee.

The fish is tangy and sweet, although it is not crispy anymore becuase the juices have already soaked up the meat. Take note, it is also boneless so there’s no worry about the fishbones. I also love their overflowing bread and coffee onboard during breakfast.

Food: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Presentation: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Service: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

11. Philippine Airlines PR 406 Manila to Osaka Kansai, March 2016

Philippine Airlines’ Japan setor inflight meals never ceases to amaze me.

Imagine yourself on a holiday trip. Before you get on your destination, you should be already pampered and relaxing. That is my feeling when I had my flight from Manila to Osaka- Kansai. Although the plane has no In-flight Entertainment (IFE), the meals served is already a way to make my flight enjoyable.

The dinner served is beef teriyaki topped in rice and carrots and peas, fried tofu, buckwheat noodle and shrimp salad, fresh melons and mango panna cotta. Interestingly, utensils were not provided and chopsticks were given to us instead. However, spoon and fork can be requested to the FAs.

One thing that delighed me the most is the “bento box”style of presentation, and they even used small paper dishes as plating.

Food: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Presentation: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Service: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

12. Japan Airlines JL 706 Tokyo- Narita (NRT) to Manila, August 2017

Beautiful.

If there’s one flight that I can say that it’s so memorable, this JL 706 flight is probably one of the best. In fact, Japan Airlines is one of the airlines around the world with a very good reputation when it comes to inflight meals. Although my flight that time is turbulent and the plane is old, their service superceded it all.

Our dinner on this flight is chicken oyakodon with edamame beans, fresh garden salad, pickled vegetables, mashed potatoes, fruits, Haagen-Dazs ice cream and their world famous signature drink Kiwi juice. I have no words for this meal except AMAZING.

Their cutlery is not plastic, however the hot meals were packed in plastic wrapper. Hot towels were also provided before meals and the thing I loved the most? Their coffee is freshly brewed on the flight. Ahhh-mayyy-zeeennggg.

Food: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Presentation: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Service: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

13. Jetstar Airways JQ 483 Brisbane, QLD (BNE) to Newcastle, NSW (NTL), Australia, August 2012

Luckily, I had extra money to buy these goods onboard.

It was year 2012 when I had my first act as an officer onboard a ship. But my travel to the ship is an epic one- I have to fly immediately because the officer that I will be relieving will be repatriated due to medical reasons. To add things worse, I have to fly by myself from Manila to Newcastle, NSW Australia with connecting flights in Hong Kong and Brisbane.

I never had the chance to take photos on my HKG and BNE leg, but I managed to retrieve what I bought in Jetstar Airways flight to Newcastle. It is a pesto chicken and sun-dried tomato wrap. Since Jetstar is a low-cost carrier, the foods onboard is not freeand the chicken wrap costs around Au$10.00. The chicken wrap is good, and has a smoky taste thanks to the tomatoes. However, the wrap is somewhat flaky and powdery.

Food: ⭐⭐⭐

Presentation: ⭐⭐⭐

Service: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

14. Cathat Pacific Airways CX 905 Manila to Hong Kong, May 2018

What happened, Cathay Pacific? I missed your fancy boxes!

This one is the first leg of my flight described above in number 6. Our flight was delayed for over 5 hours due to inclement weather in Manila. The plane that we’re about to board on (hey, it’s Airbus A350!) was diverted to Clark and had to wait there for hours before going to Manila.

The inflight meal on MNL-HKG sector is always hot snacks because it is just an hour and forty-five minutes long. We were served with chicken caldereta pocket pie, mineral water and Anzac cookies. The pie is filled with savory meat, and its crust is flaky. But to be honest, I’m not a fan of Anzac cookies ever since. Yes, it’s sweet and salty but I’d rather have my cookies crunchy, not chewy.

Food: ⭐⭐⭐

Presentation: ⭐⭐⭐

Service: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

15. Hung’s Delicacies at Hong Kong Airport Departure Level

Yay to free food vouchers!

Because of the delay we’ve been in Manila, we never managed to catch up our next flight to Osaka- Kansai. We arrived at HKG about 0230H but our flight to KIX was supposed to be 0125H. All of the passengers with connecting flights were given new tickets and free meal vouchers worth HK$65.00. Luckily for us, our next flight is around 0800H, but some of the passengers like the one I have met on the plane will have to wait for 12 hours in the airport before taking his flight to Tel-Aviv.

The free meal vouchers is a complimentary freebie given to all passengers who have delayed flights caused by either airline company or act of God. It can be used anywhere in the airport, however it should be maxxed out. It can also be used in one single purchase.

We waited until 0600H at Hung’s delicacies for our breakfast. I bought the English breakfast meal that consists of toasted bread, deep fried battered fish, pork and beans and scrambled egg. It is also accompanied with cafe latte (which is oh so gooooooood). To maxx out the vouchers, I bought a bottle of orange juice.

Food: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Presentation: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Service: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Bonus: Panda Express Chinese Delicacies at Tom Bradley International Airport Departure Level (LAX)

One word. Wooooooooowwww.

Before we boarded our flight to Manila via Philippine Airlines PR 104, we had a 5 hour layover in the airport. At dinner time, we haven’t eaten our meals yet. So we decided to eat anywhere as long as it is heavy meal. Luckily, there is Panda Express.

I’ve heard al lot about this Americanized Chinese restaurant from my friends back then so that’s why I tried to taste their food. One thing that is amazing with them is, they put a very generous amount of every food on the styro plate. I was shocked when iI saw it and I was like, “can i finish all of that?”

I tried their fried rice, chow mein and chicken kung pao with orange juice. The whole meal costs US$15.00. To compare this to a typical Filipino servings, it’s like you ate three servings of Chowking Sweet and Sour Lauriat. The chicken is tender and spicy, while the chow mein reminds me of Indomie Mi Goreng. The fried rice is also delicious. It made me so full that I fell asleep after eating on the chairs on the boarding gates while waiting.

 

Do you have amazing inflight meal stories? Is it yay or nay? Comment below and share your stories! Please like and share!

Follow my page: fb.me/TheWanderingSeamanOfficial

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s