We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

The Best Gourmet Airplane Snacks You Can Find In The Sky, According To Airline Passengers

Do you get excited about airplane food? If so, you're in a small subset of people because most economy-class meals are hardly anything to write home about. And sadly, many airlines are limiting snacks altogether. Luckily, this doesn't involve all carriers, and you'll still find some gourmet snacks onboard.

This is excellent news, especially considering how much we love snacking on flights. It staves away boredom, along with hunger, of course. There is nothing quite like a salty snack to accompany that soda. And a sweet treat pairs perfectly with the bottomless coffee some airlines provide.

So, if you forgot to pack snacks for that upcoming flight, you might be in luck. On certain airlines, you won't have to wait for the meal service because you'll be served light bites that tantalize those tastebuds. Mind you, airlines are constantly changing their menus based on season and availability, and the exact treats provided also depend on the time of day, destination, and duration of your flight. But if the stars align, you can enjoy one of these gourmet snacks in the sky. These snacks are considered the best based on personal taste tests, surveys, reviews, and shoutouts on social media. Keep reading to discover what treats we're talking about and where to find them.

Movie snacks (Emirates)

One of the best parts of flying is the inflight entertainment, and Emirates Airlines makes this experience even better. First-class passengers can choose from a variety of movie snacks, including edamame, lobster rolls, sliders, and popcorn. The lobster rolls are made with fresh, succulent lobster meat, sprinkled with tobiko, and served on a soft brioche bun. The sliders are made with juicy beef patties and topped with melted cheese and caramelized onions. If you prefer your sliders sans meat, go for the vegan version. And if you crave more traditional movie munchies, grab some popcorn, which is popped fresh and salted to perfection.

If you're a foodie and movie buff, you've hit the jackpot with Emirates' cinematic experience. You can sit back, pop in those noise-canceling headphones, and pretend you're at the movie theaters — if you're flying first-class, of course. The snack options are just one reason to consider an upgrade, especially since Emirates offers some of the world's longest nonstop commercial flights. But don't worry, even if you're in coach, Emirates is known to serve delicious food with top-quality ingredients. 

Mile-high tea with finger foods (Virgin Atlantic)

It's tea time on Virgin Atlantic. The airline's Mile High Tea is a special offering that adds a touch of class to upper and premium cabins. This afternoon snack includes a selection of finger foods and sweet treats to accompany classic hot teas.

The finger sandwiches are made with fresh and high-quality ingredients, such as cucumber, smoked salmon, and cream cheese. The warm scones with clotted cream and jam are a particular highlight, as they are a traditional British sweet and savory treat. The mini pastries are also popular and include macaroons, an Earl Grey ganache, and a Battenburg cake.

This tea service was introduced in 2023 to celebrate the British King's Coronation, and we're hoping it sticks around for years to come. It's a luxurious experience that gives passengers a taste of British culture and tradition. So, if you're flying Virgin Atlantic in the afternoon, join the mile-high tea time. Bottoms up!

Ramen (Korean Air and Asiana Airlines)

‌Do you crave salty food on flights? Well, Korean Air, along with several other Asia-based airlines, has the answer: ramen. Ramen has that savory, umami quality that really hits the spot, particularly when flying.

It's not uncommon to crave an extra dose of flavor mid-air, and scientists are starting to understand why. In a PLOS ONE study, researchers found participants' sense of taste was dulled in hypobaric atmospheres like a flying aircraft. And when you want to up that savory, salty experience, ramen makes a solid snack. But Chef Chris Co has another theory of why ramen tastes so good. While chowing down on Cup Noodles on a Korean Air flight, he explained, "[Cup ramen] has always been a part of special events in my life, and eating this on a plane makes me look back to all those memories." He also tipped us off to the fact that you can ask for as many cups as you want.

Whether you're motivated by nostalgia, low air pressure, or both, ramen satisfies that savory craving. It's a comfort food classic you can find on some airlines regardless of your seat selection. On Korean Air flights, economy class is likely to get a ramen cup, but first-class passengers get the option of Jjamppong (Spicy noodle seafood soup) or Jajangmyeon (noodles with rich brown sauce).

Häagen-Dazs ice cream (Cathay Pacific)

People love Häagen-Dazs ice cream because it is "made like no other." It's one of the most popular ice cream brands in the United States, and, according to a Statista survey, it was also one of the best-selling major brands in 2022, second only to Ben and Jerry's. 

Häagen-Dazs ice cream is known for its rich, creamy texture and high-quality ingredients. The company uses only the finest ingredients, such as fresh cream, milk, and sugar, and does not use artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. This results in a pure, indulgent ice cream experience that people can't resist — including airline personnel. According to the South China Morning Post, cabin crew-related theft has cost the company "untold hundreds of millions," and you can probably guess one of the items on that list. Yep, this frozen snack is so good even flight attendants risked their jobs to sneak a pot or two.

Cathay Pacific might be cracking down on staff consumption, but Häagen-Dazs is fair game for passengers. Onboard, the ice cream pots are typically served straight from the freezer. Eat yours immediately if you like it rock hard, or give it some time if you prefer ice cream on the soft side.

Byron Bay Cookies (Qantas)

As the world's safest airline, Qantas doesn't make risky decisions — and that includes its food choices. As such, the airline doesn't serve just any cookies; it serves Byron Bay Cookies. This Australian brand isn't shy about dabbling in new flavors such as sour cherry cheesecake and sticky date and ginger, and the company's experimentation has paid off. 

Qantas Airlines first partnered with the Byron Bay Cookie Company over two decades ago, and their products have stood the test of time. Since then, passengers have bitten into the company's famous flavors like white chocolate macadamia nut, and chocolate pretzel and pecan. For Syndey's 2023 World Pride Day, Qantas and Byron Bay Cookies joined forces with Rainbow Families' charity to create a Pride cookie. This heart-shaped biscuit was fun and flavorful, with chocolate chunks and rainbow chocolate chips.

While the company is well-known among locals, foreigners catch wind of these crave-worthy cookies via Qantas flights, and many make plans to stock up once the holiday is over. However, new converts then discovered that these cookies were nowhere to be found at the Melbourne Airport. You know airplane food is good if you remember it long after your flight, so enjoy these treats on Qantas or visit the flagship store in Byron Bay for souvenirs.

Magnum ice cream bars (British Airways)

Do you remember the childhood thrill of hearing the ice cream van roll through your neighborhood? Even if you didn't grow up chasing ice cream trucks, you probably have a soft spot for summers spent enjoying popsicles and the like. And if you're on a long-haul British Airways flight, you can relive the nostalgia with the company's onboard snack: Magnum ice cream bars.

Ice cream might bring out the child in us, but these bars provide the quality you crave with a more refined, adult palate. These sweet treats aren't widely consumed in the States, but Europeans love them. The Magnum is considered the "Rolls-Royce of shop-bought ice cream" by many, after all.

Typically, we've seen British Airways serve Magnum's classic minibars. However, on some flights, crew members hand out full-size Double Caramel Magnum bars. Imagine Madagascan vanilla bean ice cream dipped in rich Belgian chocolate. To top that off, you've got another layer of creamy caramel with a milk chocolate shell. The triple-coating makes this ice cream oh-so decadent, providing a serious crunch before reaching that ice cream center. And luckily, you don't need to be in premium classes to enjoy this frozen snack. British Airways serves Magnum ice cream bars in its World Traveler cabin (aka long-haul economy). So buckle up and prepare to enjoy this luxury ice cream brand on your next flight. 

Undercover Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Chocolate Crisps (United)

‌Do you dream of past airplane snacks? If so, you're not alone. After a United Airlines flight, one consumer couldn't stop fantasizing about their inflight snack, Undercover Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Chocolate Crisps. In a Target review, they explained, "Like some other people...I had these on a flight as well, and they were so good I had to go search for them! Light, crispy, crunchy, and perfect to stave off a chocolate craving."

These crunchy treats are somewhere between a cookie and a chip. They have the lightness of chips, making it easy to pop several in your mouth. But with dark chocolate and vanilla flavors, you've got the sweet, rich quality of a dessert. Plus, they're nut-free, gluten-free, vegan, and non-GMO, so they can satisfy even the most allergy-prone traveler. The nutrition label is simple, with a total of six pure ingredients, including dark chocolate, quinoa, and sea salt. There are no hidden chemicals in this mix, so if you're looking for a simple yet satisfying snack, hop aboard the next United flight.

Lotus Biscoff Cookies (Delta and United)

‌Biscoff cookies are made from cinnamon and brown sugar and are known for their crispy texture. They're often served alongside coffee or tea and have become a staple as an inflight snack.

Delta Airlines was the first airline to introduce Biscoff cookies to passengers in 1986. Many airlines followed suit, and with time, this Belgian cookie became synonymous with air travel. Although some airlines have bid farewell to the quintessential inflight snack, Delta and United are holding on strong — and we're happy they are. Food is so closely tied to memory, and since flights remind us of past vacations and adventures, biting into a Biscoff triggers these fond memories.

These individually wrapped cookies are not only nostalgic but also popular and are often voted the top free snack served on U.S. airlines, beating Sun Chips, Brownie Brittle, Honolulu cookies, and all the rest.

Stroopwafel (United and KLM)

‌Move over cookies; there's another pastry aboard. Both United and KLM serve stroopwafels, traditional Dutch pastries consisting of two thin waffle cookies with a layer of dense caramel syrup in between. The caramel filling is made from a mixture of brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon, which gives it a rich and slightly spicy flavor. The waffle cookies are slightly crunchy, which provides a nice contrast to the soft and gooey caramel filling. These pastries are soft and chewy but not messy, so they can be easily consumed without creating any crumbs or spills.

As a Dutch airline, it's only natural for KLM to serve these sweets, but we were pleasantly surprised to see United welcome stroopwafels aboard. Initially, stroopwafels were only offered on United flights departing before 9:45 am, but thanks to popular demand, these cookies are now available all day long. And when asked, "How will you stroopwafel?" the company has a solid suggestion. On United's YouTube, the company demonstrates how passengers can place a stroopwafel atop their coffee cups. After roughly two minutes, you can savor a softer, warmer stroopwafel. If you prefer cold snacks, head to KLM's premium economy comfort class, where you can try a stroopwafel sundae.

Turkish Delight (Turkish Airlines)

This sweet treat is exactly as it sounds: a complete delight. Turkish delight, or lokum, is a fragrant jelly candy that comes in many colors and flavors. These sweets are served in small, colorful cubes that are powdered on the outside so things don't get too sticky. If you've never had it, lokum is reminiscent of gummy candies but with a softer texture and more vibrant flavor. Different flavors include many types of fruits and nuts. However, the most popular variety is likely rosewater, which has a delicate floral taste and a pretty rose hue.

After meal service, Turkish Airways serves this national candy alongside coffee. If you're not offered any, ask, and you shall likely receive. Even if you don't want the coffee, you can still enjoy these colorful cubes of magic. After flying with Turkish Airlines, many passengers also went on the hunt for this Turkish treasure. Luckily, it's available all over the country (and wider region) at just about any candy or specialty shop. Even if you're not visiting Turkey, you can try these sweet jellies inflight or buy some on a layover.

Simply Stellar Pretzel Braids (Alaska and Jet Blue)

Airplane pretzels have received an upgrade. Simply Stellar Pretzel Braids are a delicious twist on airline pretzels. These crunchy salted sticks still have that classic pretzel taste, but they're also vegan, non-GMO, and made in the United States. They received rave reviews and shoutouts on social media, and some passengers even searched for them online post-flight.

As one Reddit user describes, "For the first time ever, I actually like the pretzels they give out on an airplane. [I'm] on a red-eye right now, [and] I'm loving these Stellar Mini Braid pretzels. They're slightly buttery and perfectly salty." On Amazon, another customer said, "I have not had any pretzels that are better than these are. What I love the most is that they are a family/women-owned company; this just made it better!" Both reviewers bought more of these gourmet snacks after landing. But if you're flying Alaska or Jet Blue anytime soon, you can try them for free.

Love Hearts (Virgin Atlantic)

As a small token of their appreciation, Virgin Atlantic hands out Swizzels Love Hearts on flights. These retro candies are pastel hearts that come with endearing messages like "BE HAPPY," "I LOVE YOU," and "SMILE.". They are made almost entirely of sugar, and while they might not be the most filling snack, they tend to warm passengers' hearts more than anything else.

Swizzels Love Hearts have been around for decades. They're the sort of candy you'd exchange for Valentine's Day in grade school, so seeing them on a flight is a sweet throwback you wouldn't expect. As such, these snacks are often mentioned in reviews of Virgin Atlantic flights, and overall, they're a nice touch that shows the airline has put some thought into its clientele. Before landing, expect to be gifted a mini package or two. Enjoy these sentimental sweets for yourself, or give them to a special someone you missed throughout your travels.

Honolulu Cookie Company Cookies (Hawaiian)

Hawaiian Airlines likes to keep things local and showcase the island's talent. The airline partners with the Honolulu Cookie Company, a local, family-run business, and when you step aboard a flight, you'll find the company's pineapple-shaped shortbread biscuits waiting for you. But these aren't your standard mass-produced cookies. This company uses only the finest ingredients, including premium Guittard chocolate, pure Hawaiian cane sugar, and locally sourced macadamia nuts. The cookies are also made in small batches to ensure freshness and quality. Dried fruits are individually pressed into cookies, and the cookies are hand-dipped in chocolate.

These gourmet cookies consistently rate well on customer websites, and not just for their island-inspired presentation. One Amazon customer exclaimed, "These are the best cookies I've ever had," but noted they were a bit pricey. Luckily, if you're on a longer flight, you can expect a cookie or two as a complimentary dessert or snack. If you don't receive one, be a little cheeky. Ask your flight attendant for a sample; they might have a few hiding in the crew mess.


You might be wondering, "What makes these gourmet snacks the best in the sky?" After all, food preferences are a subjective matter, and there's a wide variety of inflight snacks to choose from. To start off, we've personally taste-tested several of the items on this list and immediately identified them as winners based on their flavor and consistency. 

However, that wasn't our only basis for comparison. When scouring social media, blogs, and online retailers, certain inflight snacks continued to impress us. These foods consistently rated high, and the majority of reviews highlighted these snacks' presentation, taste, and quality. But as mentioned, snack preference depends on personal taste, so don't just take our word for it. Hop aboard one of these flights and sample some snacks for yourself.