Catering: What's for Dinner on the Best Private Planes?

By Andrew Myers

July 15, 2020 Educational

One of my favorite things to do is cook. I love to spend weekends making elaborate meals, and I have to admit it, I am a food snob. If you are like me, you are probably wondering what options there are for real food onboard a business aircraft. Keep reading to see how things have changed since your last commercial airline snack of peanuts.

If you can charter an aircraft, you most likely can have anything that you want. Yet, this isn’t necessarily the case when it comes to eating well. Nevertheless, you can still satisfy your palate if you understand the epicurean related facets of flying.

The best private planes offer amazing experiences from exceptionally equipped cabins to the finest of materials. Business jets, big to small, are all high-end assets. With the larger aircraft, and especially on a chartered flight, you will find service similar to first class on an airline.

The flight attendants not only handle the passenger's needs, but they can also sometimes prepare meals with expertise and skill. Some are even master chefs.

Cabin personnel spends hours researching and learning about dining trends and client tastes. It is this dedication that will allow you to enjoy the flight meal on your next excursion – and every in-flight meal after that.

To learn what’s for dinner on the best private planes, keep reading.

Appetizers With Altitude: It’s a Different World up There

When there are 40,000 feet between you and the ground, things taste different. Many factors work together to alter your senses, such as:

  • High-altitude
  • Lower air pressure
  • Recirculated air
  • Engine noise
  • Wind
  • Unfamiliar surroundings

These factors change the way that you experience airplane food and beverages.

In-flight, the oxygen saturation in your blood is lower because of the reduced air pressure in the cabin. A side effect of reduced oxygen in your blood is a diminished sense of smell, which also affects your sense of taste.

Imagine, if you will, how food tastes when you have a cold. That memory can give you an idea of what it’s like to dine on an airplane.

Also, the air circulation system in a private jet whisks away any hope of enjoying the delightful smell of your meal for any length of time. There’s also less humidity in the cabin than there is on the ground, which decreases your ability to taste sweet and salty ingredients.

As a result, if you plan to have expensive wine, it’s a good idea to avoid subtle vintages. Also, your environment typically enhances the experience of enjoying a glass of fine wine. In an unfamiliar setting such as a jet, however, you must focus more on your wine to enjoy its benefits than you would need to at home or in your favorite restaurant.

Fortunately, private jet chefs understand the challenges involved in preparing in-flight food. Resultantly, they use special cooking techniques to ensure that you enjoy your dining experience. For example, the best private jet chefs know that all you need to bring a high-altitude dish up to par is an extra touch of the spices that make a dish complete.

Food preparation and chefs in the aircraft are a hot trend. Aircraft like the new Bombardier Global 6500 have gourmet kitchens along with the proper appliances to satisfy Michelin Star chefs. It is indeed a new world today in long-range aircraft.

Light Fare Food to Satiate Your Pallet

A smart option for fulfilling private jet culinary cravings is light fare. I am speaking from experience; there is nothing worse than being stuck in a small aircraft with food that has a strong odor. I once flew to Mexico City with bagels, lox, and raw onions. Hey, it sounded good right before we left, but after 90 minutes, it created a nauseating experience.

However, light fare food can help you remain energized, sharp, and focused. These dishes might include:

  • Eggs
  • Fruit
  • Light salads
  • Low sodium soup
  • Plant-based foods

If you eat something too rich or heavy during your flight, it will make you feel sluggish.

Elegant Simplicity at Its Best

Presentation is especially crucial on a private jet. Also, the chefs know that there’s a proper size for in-flight meals.

In short, less is more when you’re flying the friendly blue skies. Also, cabin attendants will cook the meal in-flight so that you can enjoy at least some of the aroma before you consume your edible treat.

You may notice an extra touch of carefully crafted artisanal inspiration when enjoying an in-flight meal such as a cheeseboard. You might also bear witness to the delightful aroma of Salmon en Papillote before it arrives at your isle.

When Only the Best Will Do

Your jet may have catering service, but most guests typically leave it untouched. Today, private jet catering is out, and goods sourced from popular restaurants and organic markets are the trend. Flight attendants regularly find themselves procuring food from local restaurant favorites and organic markets. I will take In and Out Burger, please!

With the emergence of the sharing economy, carriers’ dependence on catering companies has diminished. Today, tech-savvy cabin attendants procure in-flight goods with a few taps on their smartphones.

And, the Winners Are…

Within the parameters of in-flight food, you can have nearly anything you want while you’re in the air. However, there are a few passenger favorites. The top passenger private jet menu dinner favorites include:

  • Cheese and cured meats for short flights
  • Continental breakfast with croissants, pastries, and fruit
  • Fresh sushi
  • Grilled chicken with a side salad
  • Pizza (surprisingly)
  • Smoked salmon for breakfast, lunch or dinner

In league with popular belief, champagne is a private jet staple. Also, you can often find fruit arrangements with treats such as mixed berries, kiwi, pineapple, and mango on the top private jets at any time of day.

Skyward Dining With First-Class Staff

Fine dining on luxury jets is more about the staff than the food. Many cabin attendants pursue culinary training and certification.

Some even have culinary degrees or work a second job elsewhere as chefs. Their expertise makes for a remarkably delightful dining experience as you cruise above land or sea.

Tantalizing Your Taste Buds in the Air

A high-altitude flight also affects your metabolism. When you’re in the air, your metabolism may only operate at about 30%.

Accordingly, stay away from dense and cream-based foods. With these jet food tips in mind, enjoy your flight, and bon appétit!

VREF gives you access to up-to-date information about over 550 aircraft models. Visit the news section of VREF.com to stay up to date on the latest information about aircraft appraisals, values, and trends. If you need an appraisal or want to get in touch with me, you can reach out to Jason Zilberbrand, ASA, and President of VREF for help.