Each week, my Meal of the Week feature examines an airline meal from my travels over the years. This may be a meal from earlier in the week or it may be a meal served over a decade ago.
We return to Austrian Airlines for this week’s Meal of the Week because I simply cannot get over how great the onboard catering is.
I wrote about Austrian in a prior installment of this series, but want to again point out today the stark difference between catering on shorthaul flights in North America and in Europe (and much of the rest of the world).
On a recent one hour business class flight from Burbank to San Francisco on United, I was offered a snack basket with stroopwaffels, fig bars, muffins, bananas, and biscotti. As far as snack baskets go on United, this was one of the better ones. Later in the day, the contents usually include chips, chocolate, and granola bars.
Let’s compare that to a 45-minute Austrian Airlines flight in business class from Vienna to Frankfurt departing in the late evening. Moments after takeoff, a meal tray arrived. It included a smoked salmon dish with capers, tomato, sliced cucumber, and delicious warm bread. But that was just the appetizer!
The main courses included a warm chicken breast, beautiful salad with artichokes and bell peppers, and prosciutto. Dessert was delicious tiramisu.
But that’s not all. Austrian offers a full coffee service on their shorthaul flight, including espresso-based drinks. On this flight, however, I requested hot chocolate and was served one of the best cups of hot chocolate I had ever had. In fact, FAs left me enough for a second cup.
I know that in exchange for an inferior meal we get a better seat on domestic flights within the USA. Still, on shorter flights I’d prefer the coach seat and Austrian meal over a “real” business class seat.