Appetisers returning to Singapore Airlines Economy Class from June

SIA Economy Class passengers will receive a heartier meal from June, as the airline finally restores appetisers.

It’s safe to say that Singapore Airlines Economy Class meals haven’t been getting the best of press lately, with customers complaining about a decline in quality, as well as quantity.

That’s not even mentioning the grief they’ve received for their new short-haul boxed meal concept, or the recent trial of paper-based serviceware on medium and long-haul flights (which, by way of update, the airline has decided not to proceed with).

SIA Economy Class meal, SIN-MLE (April 2023)

So it probably comes as a welcome relief that Economy Class passengers will have something to cheer from 1 June 2023, as the airline restores appetisers to selected flights. 

Singapore Airlines restoring appetisers to Economy meal service

Currently, Economy Class passengers on short-haul flights (< 3.5 hours) receive one main course and one dessert, while those on medium and long-haul flights (≥3.5 hrs) receive one main course, one dessert and one bread roll.

SIA short-haul Economy Class meal
SIA medium/long-haul Economy Class meal

From 1 June 2023, Economy Class passengers on medium and long-haul flights will once again be served an appetiser with their meal, as first spotted by MileLion community member Ming Zhi.

Short-haul flights will receive an additional bread roll.

Appetisers on Singapore Airlines typically consist of a salad of some sort, although on certain routes they may be more localised (e.g. passengers on SQ11 from NRT-SIN can look forward to Japanese soba noodles as a starter). You can check the menu for your upcoming flight up to eight days in advance via this link.

Restoring the appetisers will help bulk up a meal tray that’s been looking increasingly sparse in recent times, though it won’t quite bring things back to pre-COVID days either. Before the pandemic, Economy Class passengers could also look forward to a serving of cut fruits with every meal.


⚠️ Correction: Based on browsing, it seems that even pre-pandemic the default was to offer fruits or an appetiser, but not both. A handful of photos feature both, but those could be special meals. 

Singapore Airlines has also confirmed that cut fruits will be making a return as the appetiser for breakfast.

Singapore Airlines pre-COVID Economy Class meal. Note the appetiser plus fruits | Photo: KK Wong/

Here’s the thing though: if you asked Singapore Airlines why the appetisers were removed in the first place, you’d probably get a response to the tune of “our research showed that customers weren’t consuming the appetiser”. 

I guess we’ll have to take their word for it, since we don’t have access to that data. But optics matter, and receiving a half-empty tray doesn’t look good for an airline gunning for “world class” (even if they have made the tray smaller!). No matter the actual reasons, it always leaves you open to accusations of penny-pinching.

SIA Economy Class meal, SIN-ICN (November 2021)

Moreover, if you’re on a long-haul flight you’ll take every distraction you can get, and if an appetiser helps stretch the meal by even 10 minutes, that’s surely a tick in the win column.

So I’m glad to see appetisers making a return, even if Singapore Airlines does have some way to go before they can match what STARLUX is offering…

STARLUX Economy Class meal

Singapore Airlines’ comments

I reached out to a Singapore Airlines spokesperson for comment, who confirmed that appetisers are indeed returning from 1 June. Additional context was also provided, some of which makes for interesting reading:

  • SIA thanks all customers for their strong support, especially as we recovered from the impact of the pandemic. We assure them that we are always committed to taking into account their feedback, needs, and preferences as we continuously invest in and strive to enhance the overall in-flight experience.
  • In March 2023, SIA conducted a trial on new Economy Class serviceware, which is made of Forest Stewardship Council-certified paperware, on a small number of selected medium- and long-haul flights.
  • The trial was part of SIA’s continuous efforts to enhance the in-flight experience by offering more main course options that our customers ask for (including Singaporean favourites and gravy-rich dishes such as laksa, mee siam, and congee) on medium- and long-haul flights.
  • The design of the serviceware is also better at retaining heat and moisture than the casserole dish, helping to enhance the taste and quality of our main courses.
  • We can confirm that the new serviceware that was on trial costs more than the current disposable plastic casserole dish.
  • We can also share that the current disposable plastic casserole dish introduced in April 2020 on medium- and long-haul flights is larger than the one that we used pre-pandemic.
  • This has allowed us to serve our customers heartier and larger main course portions (up to 30% more by weight). This again is in response to customer feedback requesting larger main course portions.
    • For background – this larger plastic casserole dish holds the same amount of food as the new serviceware that was on trial in March.
  • For various operational and supply chain reasons during the pandemic, as well as to reduce food waste, we did remove some items from the meal tray.
  • Some of these items have since been reintroduced, and have been working closely with our suppliers to bring other items back to the Economy Class meal tray soon.
  • For example, from 1 June 2023:
    • All Economy Class meals served on medium, long-haul and ultra long-haul flights will include an appetiser, together with a bread roll, the main course, cheese and crackers, and a dessert.
    • All Economy Class meals served on short-haul flights between 1.5 to 3.5 hours will include a bread roll and butter, together with the main course, and a dessert.
    • Customers will continue to enjoy a wide variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • We are afraid that we are unable to share confidential financial details. What we can confirm is that we have not been cutting costs when it comes to in-flight meals.
  • Our current budget for in-flight meals is approximately 20% higher than that for FY2019/20, even though we are currently projecting that our capacity will be lower than in FY2019/20. If we add more capacity, that budget will increase accordingly

-Singapore Airlines


Economy Class passengers on Singapore Airlines can look forward to a slightly more filling meal from June, as the airline restores appetisers to its service once again.

It’s certainly a step in the right direction for the airline, and hopefully cut fruits and hot towels won’t be far behind (in fact, SQ has put out a tender for the latter!)

Do you actually eat the appetiser in Economy Class?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

Similar Articles



Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Nicholas Lim

I eat everything on the tray including the cutlery. But in all seriousness, if people really want the option of not eating the appetiser, that’s shameful, but I’m also sure there are other ways of managing wastage.

James Quek

More of what’s being offered. Most passengers will at least give it a try if it’s appetising enough.


I’m super greedy and will eat everything given to me plus everything given to my wife (because she don’t like airlines economy meals). Though nowadays, I’ll think about if I can also finish my daughter’s meal.


You sir are a gentleman and a scholar.
I would like to enquire if you plan on running for President so I know who to vote for.


I am one of those who can’t finish my meal last time. Nowadays, I can finish my meal and still feel not too full. So ya, appetisers wld be welcome. Bread tho, not really cause cold bread taste especially terrible on board.

Ming Zhi

The bread is warmed on my recent flight from SIN to NGO and from NGO to SIN.

It comes from the bread basket, and no longer wrapped individually in plastic.


I used to be a galley steward at SQ and it’s always been the practice to warm the bread up in the bread warmer cabinet before serving them. Tho they do quickly become cold when left outside and usually the last few passengers get the cold ones before the rolls get replenished.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ikram

Pre-covid bread comes in a warmer-friendly bulk bag packaging unlike the current option which are individually wrapped with normal plastic material (no mention of whether it is safe to put into the warmer or not, but I’ve experienced melted plastic packaging before so I wouldn’t recommended!)

Pre-covid is plain bun with butter/jam provided and current ones comes flavoured Eg. Corn bun or butter flavoured bun which the catering deems acceptable served not warmed up. But it’s a different situation in operation of course, when the bun turns rock hard due to chilled storage in the galley :/


I used to cut my bread in half, and put them inside down on the alfoil of the mains while I ate the appetiser. I’d also put the butter tub on the alfoil to warm that up too. Made it a tiny bit warmer.


That’s an idea. But it’s still nicer if they just serve it warm. Haha!


Warm bread is a mark of civilization


Food for thought (heh), but maybe being ‘world class’ needn’t exclude how well you’re doing on taking active steps to minimise food wastage. Anecdotally speaking, I can’t remember the last time I took a flight where co-passengers actually finished ALL their food.

It’s honestly a little tiresome to read the incessant complaints on the telegram group saying “oh but X oil-rich country’s flag carrier feeds me like royalty, so why can’t SQ?”. Times and travel are clearly evolving, so I wish we could all just view SQ’s efforts through a broader lens – they aren’t #1 for nothing 🙂


I do agree to there being truth in that 10%, as well as the high expectations on the tangibles, especially when paying top dollar on a full-service airline. The only counter I can offer is that SQ execs probably have a pretty good sense of what they’re doing compared to most armchair experts, and these are likely just tradeoffs they’re having to make, however grudgingly. The airline clearly (still) values prestige, and I seriously doubt anyone in the company shows up for work thinking about how they can cut corners to offer passengers a sub-standard experience. I guess it’s a… Read more »


are they even #1 now? lol


I stand corrected haha


Could you please elaborate? It’s a pretty serious allegation, considering Aaron makes the effort to cite his sources, and gives credit where it’s due.


Even before the pandemic, they have not been serving Häagen-Dazs ice cream for Y passengers already…


I always order the Indian veg special meal when traveling in Y for business. Its always fresh, hot, plentiful and gets served first.


You’re a bit bitter aren’t you, shooting off meaningless bitter posts. No one to accompany you for your lunch today, so you got to resort to trolling on websites?


I prefer Mr Chew over Mr Goh. Singapore Airlines was really in a different league back then. If you pay premium you expect premium. Usually improvement comes with each new generation. For the last decade, both the hardware and service is in a slow decline. SQ better pull up their socks, or at the very least put some on! Your competitors are no longer miles behind, they are at par.

Alex Wong

After my many experiences on SQ business & hearing the accolades of ME airlines especially the one subsidised by huge gas reserves, I will for the first time travel on Q business class to Paris. I will experience for myself whether it is indeed no.1 ! And I totally agree with 12345 that it no longer leads; but rather trails behind many others. I use to be so proud of the SQ excellence; but sadly perhaps even tragically, she no longer leads others to follow.


In all seriousness, I think the SIA Mgmt like SG Govt , are expert in timing and maximising their profits just like the ways they dealt with covid including how much they loan to SIA. They know exactly the complains In the market and what needs to be done but they will only slowly release it back when the demand drops. TBF even with all the complains ppl are still taking SQ like mad. Just like an iPhone, why give you 36 hour battery when the competition is not?


I think the current CEO comes from a practical and financial perspective. Money cannot buy style. Maybe he is pressured by shareholders to deliver profits above everything else. The previous CEO prioritised experience and the money flowed it. I usually pay for revenue J class tickets. So for 8-9K, I do expect a little more. The menu leaves people wanting. It has been pretty much the same, so is the BTC. You would think that after renovations, the SilverKris lounge would be better experience but it isn’t. It’s like an upmarket Koufu at best. All the staff are grumpy and… Read more »


Agreed. I have never seen a business lounge as packed as ours in other airports. The staff all looked so overworked.

bubbles fan

yeah very true. people tend to forget that the ME3 have virtually unlimited space in their home airports (well maybe not etihad, have they even opened their new terminal yet in auh?)

Jelly Bunny

I loved how SQ tried to mask how empty the tray had become with an empty casserole dish in place of the appetizer.

Singapore Airlines’ “extravagance” can only mean that there will not be any more more 8 months bonus for staff next year.


Will premium economy also be upgraded to pre-covid now economy is looking better for meals. Maybe a hot towel as some have wished for – and possibly champagne before take off/sparkling wine/singapore sling? One can only wish


Woo hoo, great stuff.

bubbles fan

do you know what brand they are serving?


It alternates. Last I heard was Ernest rapeneau



Last edited 1 year ago by Skytrax

Not all economy routes serves haagan daz ice cream. Pre-Pandemic, out of Singapore, it has all along been Mini-Cornetto, kit-kat cone etc etc etc. Haagan Daz are mostly served out of route specific cities like Hong Kong/Japan. Reason being simply boils down to competitors and how premium is the route. At the end of the day, it all boils down to dollars and cents for the airline

However, premium economy is catered haagan daz ice cream. You might wanna edit your article to avoid misleading


1) Am glad SIA is bringing back a decent meal to her passengers in economy flight.

2) I took a return SIA trip to
Penang in May 2023. It was an hour flight.

3) They served Old Chang Kee Curry Puff. I asked for orange juice, the flight Attendant said they only have Apple Juice.

4) Let’s hope that they serve some decent meals in the coming months.


Agree to that. Breakfast they serve a sugary yoghurt with a sugary muffins. MI used to do wraps, sandwiches with fruit pre-pandemic so this was definitely a bummer. Problem with SQ is SATS, imagine if SATS has competition from Do&Co in SIN, quality will be very different. All SATS can do well is Laksa, besides that other things are pretty much average to poor.


It’s time for SQ to look at their shortest premium sector KUL too, which they only serve juice and hot drinks. For the premium rates that they are charge, they can definitely do better than the other airlines, even Malaysian Airlines give nuts, Firefly curry puffs. Remembered Malindo even serve muffins in the past.


Why the need to differenciate economy short haul n medium haul? Before COVID, I was having what was served on BKK, HK and PVG route, the same economy meal.