These airlines take dining sky high

In-flight food is the subject of many horror stories, if not typically described as bland and boring. From stale bread to overcooked steak, the bad and ugly of airline meals are aplenty. However, these airlines take dining in the sky to the next level—quite literally.

Not only have they perfected the flying experience for passengers, they have ensured that every detail is taken care of, even the food.

While flying in the premium classes of one of these carriers, you can expect dishes such as Din Tai Fung's famous xiao long bao, lobster and sweet corn chowder, and even lightly-torched fugu (puffer fish).

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1. Austrian Airlines

Though lesser known than other global airlines, the national Austrian carrier is a trailblazer with its in-flight dining. With world-class service to boot, a meal aboard is comparable to a meal at an exceptional restaurant. 

During your meal, you'll get to sample Austrian staples like classic Wiener schnitzels and Viennese coffee. In addition to regional favourites, there are also cuisines from around the world.

Economy class passengers on select flights are even offered full bento boxes to enjoy during their flight.

2. Eva Air

Throughout the year, Eva Air collaborates with renowned chefs such as three Michelin-starred Motokazu Nakamura to provide its passengers a fine dining experience in the air.

Aside from its fine dining offerings, it also offers local favourites such as Din Tai Fung's signature xiao long bao and plant-based options for those on a meatless diet. In fact, its business class meals are on par with the first class meals offered on other airlines.

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3. Thai Airways

Thailand's national airline is a frontrunner when it comes to providing a memorable dining experience. From amuse bouche and fine caviar to beef fillet with eggplant in green curry and pan-seared barramundi, Thai Airways offers a range of cuisines that cater to every tastebud. The desserts alone are showstoppers that include its national sweet, sticky rice with coconut milk. 

4. Emirates

In its plush private suites, sumptuous seven-course meals are served on Royal Doulton fine bone china.

Those in the economy class also get a taste of luxury as meals may include something as fancy as smoked tuna or grilled chicken with mushroom sauce. If you are still peckish while on its A380 aircraft, head to the rear of the plane to enjoy canapés and a glass of vintage champagne. 

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5. All Nippon Airways

The Japanese carrier gives every passenger more than a glimpse of its iconic cuisine. ANA's executive chef Makoto Shimizu leads the in-flight meal team that comprises head chefs for Japanese and Western cuisines. 

Standard in-flight menus include grilled pieces of beef chuck with miso on magnolia leaves and gâteau-style smoked scallops and caviar with cauliflower dressing. Snacks on an ANA flight are also curated to showcase the best that Japan has to offer such as instant ramen from Ippudo. 

6. Cathay Pacific

Expect freshly steamed rice and toasted bread when flying with Cathay Airlines, one of the first airlines in the world to feature rice cookers, skillets, and toasters on board. Its menu features a wide variety of Chinese dishes, from the Hong Kong sampan congee with dim sum to braised brisket with flat rice noodles in beef broth. 

The airline also collaborates with local culinary icons such as Mak's Noodles and Pak Loh Chiu Chow Restaurant to create special dishes. Think Mak’s Noodles' signature wonton noodles in soup as well as fish ball and fried fish cake with flat rice noodles in soup and spicy chilli oil.

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7. Air France

French gastronomy is one of the benchmarks of fine dining and Air France champions this with precision and class. Passengers on first and business class on select routes can access Air France's service à la française, which enables them to personalise their dining experiences. 

They are spoiled for choice: apart from fine French food, there is also an international selection from Korean to Indian, complemented with a noteworthy cocktail programme. Business class passengers can sip on a signature cocktail created in collaboration with Hotel Lancaster in Paris. 

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8. Singapore Airlines

One of the best-known airlines in the world, Singapore Airlines' signature bak chor mee garnished with slice and minced pork is a staple.

If you're flying in its suites or first class, take a gander at the Suzanne's Choice menu featuring Los Angeles' famous chef Suzanne Goin's picks that include an oven-roasted lamb rack with kale bread pudding, tapenade and roasted cherry tomatoes.

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