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Aer Lingus' fancy food takes off

AIRPLANE food is rarely good and never pretty but Aer Lingus are now offering mile-high diners a choice of steak dinners, baked cod and slow roasted chicken.

This isn't just food, this is Aer Lingus Premium food, with tartar sauce on the side and some Lily O'Brien chocolates for good measure.

The airline has gone all Cordon Bleu and are now offering their passengers the chance to make a culinary upgrade.

That's right -- you can swap the dodgy bread and chicken and rice dinners for something a little more palatable.

Aer Lingus's new 'Premium' dinner service allows economy passengers to pay for a fancier and much tastier selection of food which includes a glass of wine for €17.50.

The airline will keep serving standard meals at no extra cost.

There's the Steak House Meal featuring a fillet of beef, sautéed potatoes with onion, spinach and mushrooms topped with tomato tartar and peppercorn sauce.

Then there's chicken stuffed with black pudding and wrapped in bacon, served with colcannon mashed potatoes and steamed root vegetables.

And for those seeking a fish supper on board an airbus A330, there's cod with a salsa verde crust served with baby potatoes. A nice glass of wine, or a bottle of beer will wash the upmarket nosh down.

While the Premium Meals are tasty, they're nothing when compared with the food on offer in business class. Described as "restaurant standard dinners", these courses have that added edge -- glasses of champagne are served in Waterford Crystal and entrees come on Wedgewood China plates.

Back in economy things aren't quite so glamorous; the cups are plastic and there are no fancy plates.

But the menu has been specially designed by head chef James Keaveney.

The new Sky Dine menu options can be booked in advance on the airline's website. On short haul flights, hungry passengers have to pay for any morsel of food.

hnews@herald.ie