The Basics

A Funny Look at Two Business/First Class Meals on a 40 Minute Flight – Turkish Airlines vs American Airlines

Written by Charlie

This is a photo comparison of Turkish Airlines business class meal against AA’s first class meal aboard their 3-cabin airplane – who does it best on a 40 minute flight?

Until you fly on some major airlines on regional flights around the world, you may not realize how poor the inflight “catering” or snack service is with US carriers. One of my favorite airlines for regional flights, Aegean Airlines, does an amazing job of serving some pretty good snacks or outright meals in business and in economy. Turkish Airlines does the same thing with some excellent food service in business class, even on short-haul flights.

Best Business/First Class Meal on a 40 Minute Flight?

Last week, I flew short-haul Turkish Airlines business class – a 40 minute flight. The meal was the usual amazing food for such a short flight and I actually ate it almost all even though I planned on really enjoying some of the food in the new Turkish Airlines business lounge in Istanbul.

This flight was aboard a 737 with very comfy business class seats, very unlike typical European carriers on short-haul business class (same as economy but with the middle seat blocked). So, the all-around experience was excellent, as always (I have flown this same route many, many times).

The next day, I flew on American Airlines A321T aircraft from Boston to JFK. This is an unusual flight as it is the shortest route serviced by AA’s three-cabin aircraft. I had previously flown this plane from JFK to LAX and really enjoyed the first class experience and was curious to see what it was like on a 40 minute flight between Boston and JFK.

Now, of course, US airlines are really not great with short-haul catering (and some would argue that even their long-haul domestic catering isn’t that great either). But, considering that this is a true first class cabin on just one of a handful of routes in the US that fly itI honestly thought that there may be at least like a bagel/yogurt/cereal or maybe, maybe some warm dish.

Oh, and AA brought their famous basket around so it wasn’t even like they “served” me.

Just take a look at these photos see what you think of American Airlines First Class vs Turkish Airlines Business Class on a 40 minute flight:

Again, I realize that it is not realistic to expect a meal like Turkish on all AA business class flights in the US, but, seriously, on this plane, I would have thought it would have been better than it was!

And, for Turkish Airlines, this is just one more reason I absolutely love flying with them!

By the way, half of the bar is still in my bag uneaten while the Turkish Airlines food was just amazing (it was an egg dish with cheese, tomatoes, and peppers).

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • conforms to all my experience in asia as well, even short haul 1-hr economy gets a box of real lunch, while AA’s F gets tihs.

  • Food on turkish is just amazing. This summer I flew United polaris SFO-LHR and LIS-IAD. On the same trip, I flew Turkish economy IST-LIS. My economy meal on TK was better than any of the meals on United polaris. FYI, that the dish you got is called menemen.

  • The food on Turkish looks awful nice. My wife and I are flying them for the first time in November in business class and are really looking forward to the trip. We have 9 hours to connect, so the lounge is in our cards. Any idea if there are any online resources to see about restrictions on duration for the nap rooms and hours they’re open?