The best and worst airline food revealed by diet expert

Delta, 4 stars, average calories 480

Dr Platkin says Delta is a clear leader among the bigger carriers when it comes to offering healthy food and being transparent about its nutritional value. He recommends their almond nuts as being the best snack on offer.

Virgin America, 4 stars, average calories 340

According to Dr Platkin, Virgin America is still the only airline that provides nutritional information for all items, giving passengers a real choice. However, he added that the individual snacks should be avoided as they are ‘unhealthy’. He instead advises paying for a real meal as it will keep you fuller for longer.

Air Canada, 3.75 stars, average calories 320

Air Canada is praised in the study for keeping nutrients high and calorie counts low. Dr Platkin also commended it on offering meals rather than snack boxes, which can be unhealthy. His recommendation for an onboard breakfast is the Avocado Smash Box with fresh guacamole, hard-boiled egg, green apple slices, and multigrain muesli bread.

JetBlue, 3.75 stars, average calories 337

For JetBlue, Dr Platkin says that although the individual snacks are still low in calories they are also low in nutritional value. The airline also offers free snacks, which he added included nothing healthy.

Alaska Air, 3.5 stars, average calories 479

According to Dr Platkin, Alaska has always been committed to food, just not the healthiest. However, as it is due to buy Virgin America, he said he was told it is going to add many of VA’s healthy food choices to the menu. He found that the healthiest thing on offer was the Mediterranean Tapas snack box.

United Airlines,  2.75 stars, average calories 416

Dr Platkin suggests that United should change its food policy as it has ‘very little food transparency on the website’. He also added that the individual snack choices are generally not healthy, the snack boxes could be much more food/healthy thoughtful, but that the meals are average to OK.

American Airlines, 2.5 stars, average calories 446

American has been offering main meals in its cabin since March, but Dr Platkin says they are ‘nothing very healthy’. He also criticised the airline for not publishing any food or nutritional information on its website. The healthiest snack you can get on board is the hummus box.

Frontier Air, 2.25 stars, average calories 372

Frontier Air’s 2017 menu has remained the same since last year but Dr Platkin said it promptly shared all nutritional information about its menu. He added that the trail mix was the healthiest thing to purchase but passengers are better off bringing their own food.

Southwest Airlines, 2 stars, average calories 125

Dr Platkin says Southwest offer the least in terms of variety, even though all snacks are free. He suggested it road test some more healthy alternatives. If selecting a snack, he suggests going for peanuts.

Allegiant Air, 1.75 stars, 402 calories

Dr Platkin says Allegiant would benefit from healthier options on its menu, which he believes passengers would buy. He suggests that the nut medley is the best in terms of a snack, but only if you share them with another person.

Spirit Airlines, 1.75 stars, 316 calories

For Spirit Airlines, Dr Platkin says it needs to reduce its snack sizes as they are too large and also suggested it offers more healthy options. He says the best bet for a satisfying snack is the airline’s hummus and pita chips.

Hawaiian Airlines, 1 star, 568 calories

Coming bottom of Dr Platkin’s table is Hawaiian Airlines, which has the biggest average calorie count and which he says offers nothing in terms of health. He also added that his team of nutritionists had to estimate what was in the food as the airline was not forthcoming with information.