We’re going to take a wild guess and say that you don’t associate healthy eating with airplane food. After all, from packaged peanuts to mediocre chocolate pudding, airline menus can be pretty miserable. (Don’t even get us started on the overpriced sandwiches with little to no filling). But what if you could compare and contrast the nutritional value of different airlines? Well, thanks to recent research, this is now totally possible.
Researchers ranked 11 major airline menus based on different criteria.
The study, titled Airline Food Investigation 2018-19, was carried out by the Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center and DietDetective.com. The website is owned and operated by Charles Platkin, the Director of Hunter College’s Food Policy Center.
Specifically, the study evaluated the menus of 11 major North American airlines. Each airline was scored based on 11 health criteria. The scores ranged from zero to five stars, with five being the highest.
Examples of criteria included transparency of nutritional information, menu innovation, and safety of food and water. The caloric content of full meals, snack boxes, and individual snacks were also assessed.
Flying soon? @dietdetective/@NYCFoodPolicy just released its airline food study so U can make healthier choices. #1 4 healthiest grub? @AlaskaAir (tho I give props 2 @Delta 4 always providing me yummy vegan meals like my recent 1st class feast). Full data: https://t.co/F2iXwuGkzM pic.twitter.com/8wxC4SGEW1— Karen Asp 🌱🐾✍️👟 (@karenaspwriter) November 20, 2018
After crunching numbers and doing their thing, here’s what the researchers discovered…
With 4.25 stars, Alaska Airlines came out on top!
Here’s a full breakdown of all 11 airlines and their scores:
- Alaska Airlines (4.25/5 stars)
- Delta Air Lines (3.7/5 stars)
- JetBlue: (3.55/5 stars)
- Air Canada (3.45/5 stars)
- American (3/5 stars)
- United Airlines (2.75/5 stars)
- Hawaiian Airlines (2.65/5 stars)
- Allegiant Air (2.1/5 stars)
- Southwest Airlines (1.6/5 stars)
- Spirit Airlines (1.1/5 stars)
- Frontier Air (.85/5 stars
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Of course, there’s more to a “good” airline than the healthiness of their menu. But if you travel often — or want to make healthy eating easy while traveling — it’s certainly worth paying attention to. (See you never, mediocre chocolate pudding.)