Here’s Which Airlines Have The Healthiest And Unhealthiest In-Flight Food


If you’re going to eat airplane food, know what will make your body happy and what to skip.

An annual review of airlines’ in-flight food offerings revealed the best and worst options for plane dining. The survey, conducted by Charles Platkin, Ph.D., director of the New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College, gave each of 12 major North American-based airlines a health score from 1 to 5. No airline hit the high score of 5 – no surprises there, TBH – but some did shockingly okay.

Here’s how they stacked up, based on what kind of foods they offer, how many calories are in each item and the nutrition of the options.

1. Delta (tied for first)

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Health Score: 4 stars

Average Snack Box Calories: 560

Average Meal Calories: 559

Average Individual Snack Calories: 164

Platkin recommends: Tapas Snack Box (snap pea crisps, crackers, dark chocolate, almonds, fig bar, hummus, quinoa and pepper dip)

1. Virgin America (tied for first)

Health Score: 4 stars

Average Snack Box Calories: 358

Average Meal Calories: 404

Average Individual Snack Calories: 276

Platkin recommends: Protein Box (tuna, crackers, hummus, veggie chip, almonds and dried fruit)

Two notes: Virgin America became part of Alaska Airlines (ranked fifth) as of this year. The data for average meal calories is listed as 4060, but our own math averaging the in-flight meals comes out to 404 calories.

3. Air Canada

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Health Score: 3.75 stars

Average Snack Box Calories: 357

Average Meal Calories: 483

Average Individual Snack Calories: 142

Platkin recommends: Avocado Smash Box (guacamole, cheddar cheese, hard-boiled egg, apple slices, multigrain bread and chili flakes)

4. JetBlue Airways

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Health Score: 3.75 stars

Average Snack Box Calories: 357

Average Meal Calories: 483

Average Individual Snack Calories: 142

Platkin recommends: Amp Up box (roasted red pepper hummus, fruit bar, chocolate chip crisps, olives, crackers and roasted almonds)

5. Alaska Airlines

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Health Score: 3.5 stars

Average Snack Box Calories: 479

Average Meal Calories: 516.5

Average Individual Snack Calories: 315

Platkin recommends: Mediterranean Tapas (olives, hummus, almonds, dried fruit and dark chocolate)

6. United

With holiday hustle straight ahead, take some time to enjoy the #viewfromabove.

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Health Score: 2.75 stars

Average Meal Calories: 484

Average Snack Box Calories: 492

Average Individual Snack Calories: 311

Platkin recommends: Mezze Sampler (wheatberry almond salad, red pepper hummus, whole almonds and pita pieces)

7. American Airlines

Health Score: 2.5 stars

Average Meal Calories: 495

Average Snack Box Calories: 526

Average Individual Snack Calories: 192

Platkin recommends: Chicken Arugula Wrap (lavash, grilled chicken breast, arugula, roasted red pepper hummus)

8. Frontier Airlines

Health Score: 2.25 stars

Average Snack Box Calories: 300

Average Individual Snack Calories: 386

Platkin recommends:  Colorado Nut Co. Trail Mix (or bring your own)

9. Southwest Airlines

Health Score: 2 stars

Average Snack Box Calories: 125

Platkin recommends: peanuts (or bring your own)

10. Allegiant Air

Health Score: 1.75 stars

Average Snack Box Calories: 307

Average Individual Snack Calories: 474

Platkin recommends: Nut Medley (shared or only eat half)

11. Spirit Airlines

Health Score: 1.75 stars

Average Snack Box Calories: 316

Average Individual Snack Calories: 342.5

Platkin recommends: Hummus with Stacy’s Pita Chips

12. Hawaiian Airlines

Health Score: 1 star

Average Snack Box Calories: 342

Average Individual Snack Calories: 460

Platkin recommends: Hummus & Pita Chips