Airline Food Flights To Hawaii

Food Options On Flights To Hawaii Suddenly Improve

Airline food came to mind this morning when we saw an article from Alaska Airlines about their new food offerings, which we found intriguing from the title, which read, “Alaska Airlines cooks up new vegan & plant-based options for travelers seeking fresh, healthy options.”

We think this announcement may spawn food upgrades from the other airlines flying to Hawaii.

Alaska said it is adding a range of new “vegan, plant-based options.” Frankly, we’re all for choice. The airline says you can now “veg out on board with more gluten-friendly, plant-based and vegan meal options available in all cabins.”

Alaska said guests have asked for more plant-based food options. They responded with one called “Soy Meets World.” It’s done with a company we’d not heard of, Evergreens, which makes gourmet salads.

“Soy Meets World” vegan salad includes roasted broccoli, fresh cucumber slices, scallions, pickled carrots, fried tofu, and brown rice served over a bed of crisp romaine and baby lettuce greens, topped with roasted cashews, fried onions and paired with a Tamari Chili-Lime dressing.

The company has “the industry’s most comprehensive domestic food and beverage program.” That includes three meal choices in first class and up to four fresh options available for purchase in economy.

We like pre-order meals, to be sure.

For some time, Alaska has been offering pre-ordering of meals via its website or app. We have used those frequently and like knowing we’ll get the options we prefer. “Meal orders can be made starting 14 days before your flight and up to 20 hours before departure.”

Last Airline Food Study by Diet Detective | Ranking the airlines

It was just before Covid that the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center reported on airline food. It rated food based on health and nutrition, innovation, safety, and more.

In that study, Alaska and Air Canada shared the top spot as the airlines with the ‘healthiest’ food choices in the sky, with Delta and JetBlue tied for second.

Alaska Airlines. Rating 4.00. Average snack box 464 calories, meal 388. 1st place award for Hawaii goes to Alaska. The company ranked as having the healthiest airline food overall by far.

Delta Airlines. Rating 2.90. Average snack box 560 calories, average meal 495. 2nd place award for Hawaii.

American Airlines. Rating 2.70. Average snack box 471 calories, average meal 585.

United Airlines. Rating 2.70. Average snack box 463, average meal 431. Diet Detective reported that food is improving at United, with calorie and sodium counts heading down.

Hawaiian Airlines. Rating 1.90. Average snack box 515 calories, average meal 898. Diet Detective found Hawaiian Airlines improved some, but also noted that they are the only carrier that does not provide them with complete nutritional info.

Southwest Airlines. Rating 1.7. Average snack calories 106. Diet Detective did not like the airline’s variety or nutrition and is hoping for healthier choices. They also said, “For the first time in 20 years, the people we contacted were not nearly as helpful as they usually are in providing information for the study.”

Beat of Hawaii tips.

Do you realize how many calories are lurking in the airline meal’s salad dressing? It could be hundreds of calories and is likely also made with cheap and unhealthy oils.

Always consider packing at least some of your snacks and meals, whether made at home or locally sourced on trips. When flying, there’s much to be said about controlling the quality, quantity, and timing of food and beverages.

If airline food isn’t your thing, remember we aren’t alone. Renowned chef Gordon Ramsay says he’ll never eat airline food, period.

What’s your take on airline food?

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18 thoughts on “Food Options On Flights To Hawaii Suddenly Improve”

  1. They could bring back the interisland terminal Pizza Hut and it would qualify as a ‘sudden improvement.’

  2. from just got reasonably(?) priced first class seats from Seattle to Kona no on line options other that stuff we don’t eat… I Want a ” Soy meets world” !! no sign of it on our Alaska flt, pre order Menu on the Alaska airlines app … Guess I will bring my own! any suggestions?

    1. Hi Rob+Jeff Totally agree with Melissa. Have been disappointed for years with Hawaiian Airlines food. I just pack a peanut butter and guava jam sandwich with snacks (chips, nuts, protein bars. Healthy and satisfying.

  3. As if airline food was bad enough already… now this? I’ll pass thank you very much. But that’s just me. I’ll bring my own…

  4. This is very encouraging. I hope Hawaiianair follows suit. Our last 2 trips to Kona have not had a Gluten free meal option. It is hard to bring all your own food on a flight.

  5. I am plant based and my husband is GF! We always have had to pack our own food . I am happy to hear of any options for us! Finally! I don’t know why it has taken this long for these options to be introduced.

  6. Aloha Jeff and Rob,
    Airline food was better in the past… Hawaiian used to serve a croissant with turkey, cheese, chips, and a cookie or chocolate Mac nut. Now… they have a “pocket” sandwich filled with a mysterious blend of something. I realize it is the thought that counts but perhaps they could think about bringing back the croissant. It was easy to serve and clean up afterward… didn’t see as much waste them as now.
    With their seat prices going up, this Platinum customer is reviewing other options…
    Mahalo for all you both do for our beautiful Kauai and state of Hawaii. Take care, Melissa

  7. How fondly I remember hot meals that tasted good, real metal silverware and special treats for the keiki. Of course, that was in the 50’s and 60’s when travel was fun.

  8. Aloha BOH,

    Thanks for the article! I’ve been really surprised that Hawaiian Airlines has no vegetarian or vegan options for a meal. Over the 40-ish years of flying Hawaiian we’ve seen quite a few meal iterations. Our favorite was pasta and cake in an adorably decorated box! The most recent meat/cheese sandwich with chips would be ok, if you could have it with only cheese. I try not to be too picky, but if you don’t eat meat, you don’t eat meat. So we usually bring our own food.

    I hope Hawaiian Air catches up with Alaska soon!


  9. I’m glad to see Alaska offering “gluten friendly” options on their flights. We recently flew Alaska to San Diego, and I ordered a beet salad. I had one of those on our flight last November back from the Big Island, and it was good. The one I got on the flight to San Diego must have been in their fridge for a month, as it was horrible, and inedible. I hope their “gluten friendly” new options are a step up. I keep telling Hawaiian that a GF option on their flights would be very welcome to many travelers, and they offer those on international flights, but not those from the mainland. We hope for the best.

    Thanks for the update.

    1. Hi Lee.

      Thanks for your input on airline food. We are hoping to see this as just the beginning of positive change.


  10. Last year, we flew American one way from LA to Kauai. There was NO food. Nothing. We flew back on Hawaiian. Much better.
    This May, we flew American to Maui. Again, no food! (You could buy a small snack box.) But we were prepared and brought our own. We flew back on Alaska. Very good!
    Even though American has more convenient flight times, never again! I even complained to American and got a vague ‘we will look into it’ response.

  11. The new Alaska vegan salad options are pretty good. Their partner, Evergreens, is a PNW based salad/bowl/wrap franchise with a SEATAC main concourse location. They have great options on-site. So for anyone connecting at SEA download the Evergreens app, order ahead and skip the line when changing flights. It’s a quick, healthy great food option for your flights especially if you’re not flying Alaska.

  12. This topic is interesting as I had provided feedback to Hawaiian Airline in regards to their food. We recently traveled from the mainland and back from the Big Island. Getting the same chicken sandwich. A few years back we had got the same. There was a time where you had a choice of 2 mini meals that included vegetables or a salad. They need to return to that. I know first class gets the choices, but the rest of us are paying passengers as well.

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