Complimentary in-flight meals are overrated ... said no economy passenger ever. When you’re crammed in the middle seat between two armrest hogs, a free treat can be a welcome distraction 30,000 feet in the air, particularly when your last meal was hours ago. Here's a list of the best snacks airlines have to offer (we promise, no pretzels).
Not sweet on your seatmate? Grab a free Stroopwafel on your next United Airlines flight. For bonus points, place the thin, caramel-filled waffle cookie on top of your steaming cup of coffee or hot tea, then enjoy the melty goodness.
Island snack mix
While it may not be as good as getting lei’d, Alaska Airlines’ Island Snack Mix is an in-flight aloha for travelers regardless of where they’re headed. Honey-roasted sesame sticks, dried pineapple and macadamia nuts offer that perfect balance of salty and sweet that satisfies all your cravings.
Magnum ice cream bars
With the cabin air conditioning blasting, you may need to bundle up in your blanket to enjoy them, but free frozen treats can be a nice in-flight surprise. British Airways has been known to break out miniature chocolate-dipped Magnum ice cream bars that are heaven among the clouds.
Who doesn’t love Biscoff cookies? The crunchy brown sugar and cinnamon treat has gotten us through many a flight. But if you take Delta's friendly skies regularly, these Belgian baked goods can start to seem a little ... dry.
Hello Kitty kids’ meals
Sometimes a whimsical theme makes airline snacks seem even tastier. EVA Airlines’ Hello Kitty-shaped carrots and cantaloupe make cleaning your plate fun no matter your age. They’re accompanied by Hello Kitty buns, Hello Kitty pasta, and Hello Kitty cake that you eat with your Hello Kitty fork and spoon.
Chocolate chip mustache cookies
Ever passed the flight time with a selfie photo shoot? Then you’ll love JetBlue’s Belgian Boys chocolate chip cookie mustaches, which are the perfect photo prop. We won’t tell if you sneak an extra package into your carryon for later.
Dulce de leche Alfajores
We always appreciate an in-flight snack that gives us a glimpse of a country’s culture. Alfajores are a traditional South American sandwich cookie made with honey, almonds and spices, and the version served by LATAM Airlines is filled with creamy dulce de leche.
Full Ethiopian feast
If you’re flying throughout the continent of Africa, then you can forget about tiny bags of bone-dry pretzels. Ethiopian Airlines’ lasagna-style version of doro wat – the country’s national dish of spicy chicken stew and spongy injera bread – is a hearty sky-high filler. The mustardy potato and green bean salad on the side is oddly cravable, too. And the full meal is free to every passenger from the first to the last row.
Say what? While they’re renowned for first-class dining experiences, Turkish Airlines also offers coach customers free food that’s pretty incredible. Typical meals include delectable olive-oil poached hors d’oeuvres like artichokes alongside grilled kofta that is out of this world. Plus cake! Never skip free cake.
Best free in-flight cocktails
Free flight food is good. Free flight booze is better. Many international flights offer free wine and beer with a full meal service, but there’s something special about getting a free cocktail, particularly when it sets the mood for your destination. Shout-out to Hawaiian Airlines’ Koloa Rum punch and Cayman Airways’ Seven Fathoms Rum punch, both of which are pleasantly beachy. And did we mention free?
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