If you fly frequently, you probably have a love-hate relationship with airline food.
Sometimes, the food is perfect: it's well-chosen, just to your taste, cooked right and plated attractively.
Other times, the ovens are malfunctioning, or turbulence has meant that the crew are stuck in their seats while your breakfast omelette roasts to a bright yellow eggy lump, or it's "brown goo with white things" again. Yum.
So we polled a few of our readers for some on-the-plane snaps of their best and worst airline meals in business class -- some of which put paid to those glossy, primped food photoshoots you'll see on the airlines' websites, and others that are pretty tasty regardless of how they look.
Some of our favourite first courses pop up on British Airways. In fact, given that BA's main meals often work on the "put in oven until a smoking, leathery ruin" principle, we've been known to ask for two starters and no main course.
The crab and prawn with celeriac starter between Singapore and Sydney was one of the better ones we've sampled:
Here's another starter, this time from Cathay Pacific:
The tray table is filled edge-to-edge with a small seafood entre, a salad which contained at least two cherry tomatoes (too many in-flight salads draw the line at a few leafy greens) plus hot-from-the-oven bread.
This Qantas meal was served on a Perth-Sydney flight -- in fact, in business class on one of the first Boeing 747 flights Qantas stumped up between NSW and WA when Virgin Australia started their Coast-to-Coast service.
Burnt onto the bowl and with browning green vegetables, it's a far cry from the glossy PR pictures and Rockpool-enhanced menu descriptions.
But the red roo can get it right too: reader Rayme Gorniak writes in with praise for a Qantas burrito:
"The great thing about the burrito was that it was pretty authentic Mexican," Rayme enthuses. "That holds a lot of water from an American that misses Mexican cuisine. Not too filling, but it was satisfying."
And the worst? We reckon the British Airways mushroom penne snapped by AusBT journo John Walton on a Singapore-Sydney flight sets the bar at a low point.
Oven-spattered dish, everything a resolutely dark brown, a single cream-of-mushroom-soup flavour and the penne closer to paste than pasta, it was truly one of the worst business class dishes we've had in quite some time.
For dessert, we reckon that the American airlines have it right -- it's hard to beat an ice cream sundae with your choice of toppings.
Reader Mike in California had a scoop of strawberry and a scoop of vanilla, with caramel sauce, hot fudge and whipped cream, on a recent United p.s. (premium service) flight from JFK-SFO:
It might lack something in presentation, but Mike is a fan: "I definitely agree with your 'hot fudge sundae in the air' sentiment!"
Singapore Airlines, too, does a decent ice cream -- though with chic choc and coulis accompaniments rather than whipped cream, as an AusBT reader (who uses the aircraft rego of an Airbus A380 -- 9VSKA -- as his online pseudonym) shows:
Of course, the problem with ice cream is that cabin crew need to remember to take it out of deep-freeze so that you can actually get a spoon into it.
Regular AusBT contributor Chris Neugebauer encountered an ice cream sandwich on Virgin Australia's Sydney-LA flight that looks delicious, but was so hard when served (and for hours later) it could have doubled as a hockey puck.
Frequent flyers on some short-haul trips (such as Sydney to Singapore or Hong Kong) opt to have a few serves of a lighter snack, spread throughout the flight, rather than tuck into a heavier main meal.
That's certainly the modus operandi of AusBT editor David Flynn when Cathay Pacific's seasonal duck noodle soup is on the menu.
"I usually take my main meal pre-flight at Sydney's Qantas First Class lounge, then hit one of a few favourite places in Hong Kong for dinner – so at various times during the flight I'll have a few serves of this soup with egg noodles, slabs of duck and greens, all served in a tasty but not-greasy broth."
Can you beat these? Drop a link to your photos of the best and worst airline food you've eaten in a comment below. (Don't worry if your comment doesn't immediately appear as published -- to reduce spam our systems automatically screen every comment containing links.)