Long gone are the days of ice sculptures and crepe suzette served up as a matter of course in first class cabins on airliners.
But what is presented to premium passengers can still rival some top hotels or restaurants, and can often act as a good barometer for the health of an airline's fortunes.
"When times get tough, food is one of the costs airlines can cut without jeopardizing safety," says Andreas Weber, general manager of airline catering company, Gate Gourmet.
"It has changed back and forth (over time); airlines go through crises," he says. "(Today) more airlines are investing substantially in their first and business class products. Making people comfortable in big seats, everyone is doing that already, but what is left is the catering experience."
Images taken on a recent Singapore Airlines flight might suggest passengers had become unusually ferocious in their disdain for the onboard meal.
But this was no "Bugsy Malone"-esque food-flinging fiesta.
Coffee, juice or tea?
Starting July 1 on Frontier Airlines, that drink will cost you $1.99 for certain fares, the company announced Wednesday.
So will a can of soda. But at least you'll get the entire can. (Coffee drinkers will get free refills.)
Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
A lot of important questions come up at Thanksgiving: turkey brining, pro or con; cornbread stuffing, yes or no; and whether or not that stuffing should be baked in that turkey. (If you answered pro brined turkey to the first question, the answer to the last question is no.)
But now that airport food has improved so drastically, the most relevant question might be: Is anyone even hungry for Thanksgiving dinner, after they pigged out so much at the terminal?
I asked my very favorite frequent flier, Andrew Zimmern, who travels the world for his show "Bizarre Foods" on the Travel Channel, for his favorite dining spots in airports. He obliged by giving me his favorite places to eat in 12 airports around the country. From now on, I’m booking all my flights with stopovers in Minneapolis.
Business Traveller is a monthly show about making the most of doing business on the road.
We've all seen it before - you're in a restaurant and the person at the table next to you has their camera phone out and is happy-snapping their chosen dish before uploading it to one of the many social media sites out there.
Food lovers the world over are now taking their cuisine-capturing antics to the skies as airlines find more and more of their dishes are ending up online.
A passenger on an Air Canada flight found a sewing needle in a catered sandwich during a flight Monday, the airline said.
Peter Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for Air Canada, said Tuesday that the airline is "working closely" with its caterer, which he didn't name, to "ensure heightened security measures have been put in place."
The police are investigating the incident, which occurred on a flight from Victoria, British Columbia, to Toronto.
"Safety is always our top priority so we are taking this matter very seriously," Fitzpatrick said, adding that it appeared to be an isolated incident.
Gourmet cuisine has long been a staple of business class and first-class menus. But a number of airlines are taking the in-flight meal to new heights by bringing chefs on board to serve up a fine dining experience in the sky - scooping up culinary awards in the process.
Etihad Airways has gone as far as to poach expert cooks from a number renowned Michelin-starred restaurants since launching its "Flying Chef" service on long haul flights late last year.
The concept has thus far proved a recipe for success, with the Abu Dhabi based airline winning the award for best first-class catering at the 2012 Skytrax World Airline Awards earlier this month.
But given the cramped kitchen conditions of the airplane galley and the complexities of cooking at altitude, is it really possible to rustle up meals worthy of the master chefs whilst cruising at 35,000 feet?
Read the full story - Flying chefs serve up fine dining in sky
Travelers are on pins and needles after news that six instances of the latter had been discovered in turkey sandwiches on four separate Delta Air Lines flights from Amsterdam to the United States on Sunday. One injury was reported, and the FBI, along with Dutch authorities, have begun a criminal investigation into the origins of the implement. The airline is, for the time being, serving prepackaged foods on flights from the routes involved.
This is not the first time that airline food has come under scrutiny for hazards other than terminal dullness.
The FBI says it has launched an investigation into the discovery of sewing needles in four turkey sandwiches on separate Delta Air Lines flights from Amsterdam to the United States.
The objects were discovered in food on planes as they were en route from Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands to Minneapolis, Seattle and two flights to Atlanta, according to Delta spokeswoman Kristin Baur. Two of the needles were found by passengers, she said, at which point Delta told all 18 flights from Amsterdam to stop serving the sandwiches.