From Fish Pie to Mac & Cheese Misery: Is This The Worst Airline Meal Ever Served?

A travel blogger’s meal on China Eastern is being called the “worst meal after” after being served “mac and cheese topped with shrimp and ‘slimy’ mushrooms'” for breakfast.

Nicola Easterby, “Polka Dot Passport,” described her “bad smelling” fish pie and then things got worse.

Nicola and James were given ‘bad smelling’ tuna fish pie accompanied by vegetable couscous and a pear and ricotta crumble, which she claims was the only ‘fully edible’ part of their dinner.

She told viewers: ‘I tell you what, it tasted even worse that how it looked,’ before rating it a measly two out of 10. The travel blogger added: ‘Out of all the things to serve on a plane, the smell was so bad.

…However, the worst food combination came when they recieved their final breakfast and were met with a plate of a ‘monstrous’ shrimp-topped mac and cheese with ‘slimy’ mushrooms, which Nicola was unable to eat more than a bite of.

It just seems to me that people have too high expectations. This was (1) China Eastern, (2) in coach. People used to complain about airline food forty years ago. Then they complained about not getting airline food. She paid $631 from Rome to Brisbane via Shanghai and the airline probably invested as much as I see from U.S. carriers in their domestic first class.

@polkadotpassport I finally know why China Eastern flights are so cheap ☠️ #chinaeasternairlines #chinaeastern #airlinefood #airlinefoodreview #planefood ♬ La vie en rose (Cover Edith Piaf) – 田东昱

So, I don’t know, two American Airlines meals come to mind that seem worse than this.

I haven’t tried it, but I wonder whether American’s $1 shelf-stable pasta will give these a run for their money?

What was your worst airline meal?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Fish pie? Ugh. Two things that might be fine separately but awful together, like Jagermeister and orange juice.

  2. Flew biz class on chinaeastern a few years ago. 4 passangers in total. The only Hindu passenger is offered beef as” we don’t have anything else left”! How’s that for firing on all wrong pistons!

  3. Run for the money? Run for the lavatory….

    Look for an increase in incidents like the DL return to ATL….

  4. What did she expect? Um sorry Gary, but that’s a dumb question. This looks and sounds absolutely disgusting.

    Nobody thinks that the food on China Eastern is going to win any awards. But come on, shouldn’t it at least be edible? And not nauseating? Serving nothing would have been a vast improvement from the looks of it.

  5. What on earth did they expect flying coach on China Eastern Airlines??!
    A 5 star restaurant it’s not.

  6. @Angryflier – it is edible and not nauseating to many. Just because you are repulsed by it doesn’t mean it isn’t perfectly acceptable in their culture. ImHO anyone that flies a foreign carrier or visits a foreign country and complains about the food (or the combinations) is sort of the “ugly American”. Accept you don’t like it but others may. They aren’t catering to you and your preferences.

    I’m in Singapore right now and there is incredible ethnic foods but some just don’t appeal to me (fish head curry anyone) but I accept that is something many her like and move along.

  7. She should just stick to English food (maybe some bangers and mash) which is known for it’s excellence (partially sarcastic). I am not a fan of mac and cheese and have been served it once on an airplane but that was long ago. I usually stay away from fish while flying. I used to get sometimes questionable food on USA flights but I have none that were especially traumatic like getting sick from them. I have not had bad food on Asian airlines including local flights.

  8. @AC: If you’re an international airline, flying an international route, you don’t go with low end food served in some Yangtze Valley village. A professional airline should try to at least not serve food that’s polarizing. OK, so you’re in Singapore. Did your airline serve fish head curry on the plane? I doubt it.

    I hate the quintessential “ugly American” tourist myself. But you’re being the apologist.

  9. @AngryFlier – they did serve Congee which I suspect many Americans would turn their nose up at. Unless you tried what the blogger posted you have no idea if bad, good or just a combination they didn’t want (or if they were just posting for clicks and exaggerating everything). Just saying when you travel accept things are different, try the food, learn about the culture (and adapt your behavior around it) and the learn a little in the native language.

    Everyone wants things on their terms instead of understanding it isn’t all about them. So sad

  10. American here. Congee is a traditional breakfast food in some Asian countries. I have had it on flights before (it was reasonably good) but usually I will get the western style breakfast instead. It really depends on my mood and what I want. Congee is better for a slightly upset stomach. Congee is almost always a safe choice but it should come with sauces, spices and condiments to be personalized. I prefer to get it with an egg cooked in it with the yolk still runny. The Thai variety called jok is good.

  11. Hawaiian Air’s worst meal beats them all! When HA Flt 482 from Tahiti to Honolulu scheduled to depart 11:30 Pm was delayed 6 1/2 hours and departed the next morning at 6:15 am, after take off business/first passengers were served a breakfast choice of “chili served with cabbage, frisée and radish salad…” or “gnocchi sauce vierge tomato vinegar.” Hawaiian Air served the food that was left over from the previous night’s flight to business/first passengers the next morning for breakfast. That was the only “meal” served for the entire flight.

  12. Nancy, Haha….Thanks for the good laugh. I don’t think the two dishes sound good even if served for dinner. I can’t figure out what the second choice even is, with the vinegar. ???

  13. First class SYD-LAX supposed to be a filet steak, but instead it’s a cheap sirloin, overcooked and dry.
    Some kind of sauce that’s liquid at all temps, and RAW vegetables.

    This for $14,000 one-way

  14. It’s not. Circa 2013 United Chicken “Cheese” and Salt sandwiches in first class were the worst airline food I’ve ever had.

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