Top 5 Mid-Air Food Fantasies: In-Flight Salad Bars and More

Posted in In the Air

After your fifth beef tenderloin in a row, nobody can blame you for having vivid dreams about the food you’d actually want to eat on-board an aircraft. As much as flight food is getting much better, it’s still a far cry from the freedom you get in restaurants on the ground. The limitations for serving food at 35,000 ft. are pretty severe and even though some airlines like Etihad are pushing the envelope and offering actual chefs in the sky with you, the majority of us are still stuck with lame sandwiches and frozen pizzas. That can’t stop me from fantasizing about what I’d like to see up there, though. These are my top 5 flight food fantasies for the future:

1. In-flight salad bars

Picture this: that beverage cart that’s always patrolling the aisles and knocking into your elbows has been converted to the world’s first in-flight salad cart. The top has a giant bowl of mixed greens and all of the compartments are filled with toppings like diced chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, and blue cheese instead of Diet Pepsi and Bloody Mary mix. You get to pick four ingredients plus a dressing and it’s all mixed in front of you by a friendly flight attendant. Each salad would take less than a minute to make, so don’t even worry about the time issue. In-Flight Salad for everyone!

2. BBQ for all

As I’ve mentioned before, barbeque works really well when reheated which makes it a perfect choice for airline entrees. Unfortunately, I never see it listed as an option. Delta is obviously ahead of the curve on this with Blue Smoke, but I’d love to see all airlines offering a barbeque item on their menus. It would be even cooler if each airline went hyper-regional with it. Delta could serve Atlanta’s Heirloom Market BBQ, American Airlines could partner with The Salt Lick from West Texas, and Asiana could serve bulgogi.

3. International Flight Waffle Station

As international flights get more and more sophisticated, their on-board food offerings should, too. If my college dorm could offer a waffle station in the cafeteria, surely an airline could set up a waffle iron, too? It’s electric, so you don’t have to worry about open flames, and the smell would be appreciated by all passengers. Imagine waking up after ten hours over an ocean and being able to make yourself a fresh Belgian waffle. I’m getting chills just thinking about it.

4. Cocktail pre-order

Most airlines now offer the ability to pre-order your entree, but nobody lets you pre-order a cocktail. Why not? Instead of being stuck with make-your-own Jack & Cokes, airlines should partner with mixologists (just like they do with chefs) to create a roster of custom cocktails. They can be pre-made in the airline kitchens and then shaken with ice on-board. Why is nobody doing this?

5. Cooked-to-order steaks

I’ll get off my beef tenderloin high horse soon enough, but in the future I would really appreciate the ability to order a steak medium rare on a flight. I don’t know how they’d do it (George Foreman grills, perhaps?) but I’d love to see this kind of customization and attention to passenger needs come to fruition. Who’s with me?

If you could change up the in-flight meal service, what would you be adding to the menu? Tell me in the comments.


  1. Asiana aleady serves bulgogi.

    In-air “pre-made” cocktails have been around for quite some time. DL actually partnered with Rande Gerber on this, IIRC.

    Cooked to order steaks are also available, and have been noted in travel reports.

    • Thanks for commenting, Colleen.

      *I was talking about partnering with specific, well-known places for BBQ. I don’t happen to know the best spot for bulgogi in Seoul so I didn’t name it. Yes, Asiana serves bulgogi, but there’s a difference between mass-produced food service bulgogi and bulgogi from a specialist (or at least based on their recipe).

      *It’s really the ability to pre-order cocktails before you fly that’s appealing so you can reserve the one you want.

      *Yes, I mentioned Etihad in the introduction. Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough that I wanted all steaks served on flights to be cooked to the temperature you desire.

  2. My wish would be a sandwich bar with all the extras. My brain went domestic since I am about to be served a hot turkey sandwich on my DL flight. This way I could have what I wanted. Dagwood to plain PB&J.
    Fresh waffles! Can you imagine those who wake to the smell but can’t have one! Even better would be bacon 🙂

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