Granted, there are plenty of logistical challenges that come with serving hundreds of people at 37,000 feet. But some airlines undoubtedly pull it off better than others, as demonstrated by these passengers who shared crime scene evidence of their worst plane meal abominations.
As part of UK consumer group Which?'s annual survey, which involved quizzing more than 2000 passengers last year, Ryanair came out with the lowest customer satisfaction score and was assigned a dismal one-star rating for range and quality.
To illustrate, Billy Shearer sent in the above photo of the Irish breakfast he was served; a meal described by the low-cost carrier as "the perfect option to fill up and start your day with" but regarded by Shearer to be "a monstrosity" of soggy potato waffle, shrivelled button mushrooms and congealed white pudding.
Behind Ryanair, British Airways' food was ranked second worst, across all its economy, premium, business and first class offerings, followed by Norwegian and Qantas - the latter a surprise given how much focus the airline puts on its Neil Perry-designed menus.
"In-flight dining may be a far cry from the lobster dinners once served on the Concorde but no matter what class you are flying in, your meal should at least look edible," states the Which?'s travel editor Rory Boland.
"That should apply whether you're paying on the flight or food is included in the ticket price – but sadly it seems there is no guarantee that you won't be left hungry and hoping that a bag of pretzels and gin and tonic will tide you over until you land."
Read on for a selection of this year's grimmest photo submissions.
Norwegian Air served the less-than tantalising chicken and mash dish below to a passenger who described it as "slop".
Dead bird swimming in grease, yum. Photo: Which
No better from the same airline was this turkey ham and Swiss cheese "baguette".
Clearly this was assembled in haste. Also, it's not a baguette. Photo: Which
Is it chicken? Fish? Nope, it's BA's excuse for an omelette, in premium economy no less. It was submitted by David Ball who was flying between London Gatwick and Mauritius.
'It tasted exactly as it appears in the photo – disgusting,' the passenger surmised. Photo: Which
Were things better in business class? Alas, no, Ball reports, sharing the below image of the chicken biriyani on his outbound flight.
'What you see in the picture is a chunk of dry chicken, a piece of dead, burnt cauliflower, a spoonful of gunk and overcooked rice,' he wrote. Photo: Which
BA's full English breakfast on another flight involved sweaty mushrooms and eggs that were fluffy – not in a good way.
Eggs, masquerading as a sponge. Photo: Which
Of BA's low-lactose choice, Yannis Psomadakis reported: "The taste of dry cod and steamed spinach was not much to write home about."
'I had to pick the peppers and wrap the spinach at every bite to make it swallowable,' he said. Photo: Which
Richard Cooney has decided to stop flying with Etihad altogether, citing this "tasteless" spread, and a cake so hard it resembled a "building brick". He was flying from Bangkok to Abu Dhabi.
It could be worse. It could also be much better. Photo: Which
Indian carrier SpiceJet was responsible for this breakfast presented to Nick Avery, who said: "It tasted as good as it looked."
Excuse me sir, my sausages are anaemic. Photo: Which
The Telegraph, London
What's the worst inflight meal you've ever had? Share your stories in the comments below.