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Airplane Chefs Beginner’s Guide: Tips, Tricks & Strategies to Serve Passengers Fast and Cook the Best Airline Meals

Nordcurrent’s latest take on cooking games has recently landed in both the Play Store and App Store. The Lithuanian developer’s new mobile game called Airplane Chefs continues the company’s tradition of offering addictive fun-to-play time management games.

Airplane Chefs is quite similar to the company’s smash hit Cooking Fever in concept, but the mechanics are a bit different. The backdrop of the story also provides a fresh approach to the classic restaurant game formula. This time around, players step into the shoes of a stewardess whose main job is to take care of her passengers’ needs to the best of her abilities. Your role consists of taking over all the food preparation efforts, and delivering them in a timely manner. The goal is to keep everyone on board fed and happy until the plane lands at the destination.

airplane chefs map

The action in Airplane Chefs spans across several locations throughout the world. Players start off in Denver and from there can progress to Sydney, New York, London and more. In a world where travel restrictions have become the norm due to the pandemic, Nordcurrent’s new title aims to bring back – even if only virtually – some of the thrill of embarking towards new destinations.

The core of the game, however, consists of time management levels where you need to assemble your food cart and serve passengers, as fast as possible. Each stage has an objective which you need to complete in order to advance to the next challenge.

Now, if you only recently picked up this game, and you have stumbled upon some issues which have made it impossible for you to progress as fast as you would have liked, continue reading on. We’ve created a comprehensive Airplane Chefs beginner’s guide which is filled with enough tips and tricks to send you on your way of becoming a top airline chef (and server) in no time.

1. First Off, Make Sure You’ve Mastered The Controls

Controls in Airplane Chefs are bit difficult to get used to, so make sure you take your time to understand how they work patiently. Players kick off each level in the airplane’s kitchen which is located at the back of the plane. The aircraft is divided into two parts with a pantry between them.

To start moving and serving passages, you can either tap in the wanted direction or use the navigation bar on the right. This bar is split in two – which account for moving up and down along the row of passenger seats in the cabin.

Keep a close eye on the navigation bar because it provides clues regarding your passengers’ needs. When travelers want something, one or both of the navigation bar’s segments will turn yellow and display a question mark. Alternatively, if travelers want you to retrieve their empty food trays, a trash icon will appear on the bar. When this happens, you can tap on that particular segment and you’ll be taken directly to the passenger(s) asking for assistance.

In addition, there are two up and down arrows framing the top and bottom of the navigation bar that allow you to move in fast-motion through the airplane, from one part to the other. You can use them, for example, when you need to go back to the kitchen quickly to restock your goods.

airplane chefs controls

The navigation bar is pretty sensitive to touch, so make sure you’re precise when using it. During more intensive levels, when orders are pouring in from all sides of the airplane, you’re in danger of mistapping the bar, which ends up complicating your life. So collect yourself and try to be as calm and focused as possible before you enter a level.

Do experiment with using the bar as much as possible during the earlier stages of the games, as levels aren’t too difficult to pass then, and so making a mistake won’t count so much. Ensure you understand how the navigation bar can be made to work to your advantage. As you progress in the game, being able to do things like moving rapidly from one side of the plane to the other is crucial to achieving the desired result.

The main takeaway of this section is that in order to succeed in Airplane Chefs, you need be fast and precise in all the things that you do. Mastering the right way to serve an order, for example, by dragging the tray to the customer, is a big part of the equation. When doing so, don’t drag the food over their heads. instead aim for the middle part to avoid having to perform the action again. Losing precious seconds doesn’t help you succeed, and in the end might ruin your chances at besting the challenge.

2. Always Produce Food Items In Advance

The airplane kitchen is stocked with different type of items which fall into two main categories. The first one is instant products – for instance cupcakes, salad or snacks. These are items that you can get on your food cart right away simply by tapping on their respective storage containers.

The trickier items are those that need cooking (or heating) before serving. These includes products like stake, vegetables or fries. These items take time to get ready, so always try to place a fresh batch of products in the oven, immediately after you’ve taken out a cooked lot. No exceptions! Forgetting to do so, will almost always have the effect of negatively impacting your performance during the level.

airplane chefs food items

Once you’ve placed a new batch of food in the oven, don’t wait for it to heat up. Instead, step out into the cabin and start serving people with the items you already have at your disposal. Keep an eye on the navigation bar, because it will show you when the items in the cooker are ready. You’ll also hear a beeping noise when that happens, so it helps to leave the sound on in the game. Make sure you go back quickly, or else you might find that your food has been burned to a crisp.

This isn’t a major problem, as you don’t risk disqualification if you’ve burnt a dish, like in other cooking games. However, it does mean you’ll have to throw away that food and place a whole new batch of items in the oven, thus wasting precious seconds waiting for them to get heated. In the meanwhile, passengers might get angry due to the long wait and cancel their order. This will make it harder for you to reach the level objective, and you definitely don’t want that.

That being so, your best bet at maximize your chances of success is to always have dishes prepared in advance. Storing them is not an issue. The food cart is spacious enough to accommodate multiple food items at once, and even if these slots fill up, you can unlock additional storing containers that keep dishes from burning.

3. Prepare Dishes And Serve Orders With Care

In the kitchen, misdragging certain food item over to their respective plates can be cause for some delay. Learn the correct moves you need to perform to get the food on the plates, so you can work quickly and efficiently. Also, be careful when you assemble orders for you passengers in the cabin. If you make a mistake, you won’t have a choice but to throw the dish away, which is a big waste in terms of resources, as well as time.

airplane chefs serving orders

During more intensive levels, you’re going to have to move as quickly as possible. But this is a double-edged sword – moving too fast might result in your messing up orders and wasting food items which take a long while to cook. So take a deep breath, and try not to play in an overly rushed manner, or mistakes will start happening.

Also remember to retrieve trays whenever you notice passengers asking you to do so. If you don’t, you might find yourself in an impossibility to serve more orders. This is because, your food cart has a limited number of serving trays, so you’ll need to reclaim them once passengers have finished their meals, in order to continue serving.

4. Make Frequent Trips Back To The Kitchen

It’s important that you establish a pattern when it comes to serving passengers in the cabin. Try and serve a batch consisting of 4-6 orders and then quickly retreat back to the kitchen to restock – even if you still have some items left in your food cart.

This way, you can pick up the latest items that have finished cooking while you were gone and place a new lot in the ovens. Don’t forget to stock the food cart with additional items such as desserts, drinks, as well as comfort items.

airplane chefs kitchen

You might get tempted to serve until you run outs of products in your cart, but we advise against this practice. Doing so is risky, because taking too long to return to the kitchen might see some of the food stuffs you’ve placed in the over prior to stepping out into the cabin get overcooked.

Frequently visiting the kitchen also saves you from making the sudden discovery that you lack some of the ingredients needed to put together a more complex order. If the passenger’s patience is already low, then you might already count it as a lost order.

5. Upgrade Your Kitchen Equipment As Much As You Can

Anyone who has played cooking games before knows that upgrading their kitchen equipment is essential to achieving success. It’s similar in Airplane Chefs, but not quite.

That’s because the game is structured a little differently, diverging a bit from the classic recipe. Initially, kitchen equipment upgrades can be purchased for gold coins only. But for the better upgrades, players will have to shed a few Gems too. Now, here’s where things get a little tricky. Airplane Chefs makes it quite hard to get your hands on a decent amount of Gems, without you having to swipe your card.

Given this acute shortage, you might end up postponing crucial upgrades, or waiting a long while before being able to unlock them. Our advice, if you want to keep playing for free, is to purchase all the upgrades you can using coin. Then, depending on your Gem reserve, try and unlock those upgrades that will bring the largest benefits.

airplane chefs kitchen equipment upgrade

The majority of kitchen upgrades in this game are designed simply to increase the coin income of each product.

The more useful upgrades that allow you prepare and serve items quicker, are pretty limited or simply non-existent. For example, you can’t enlarge the different item containers on your food cart, which could allow you to carry more product at a time. This functionality would be particularly useful for items such as the Lamington Cake which your stewardess has to serve during the Sydney flight.

Fortunately, it’s possible to expand the item capacity of the ovens you employ to cook the main dishes such as Burgers or the Balmain Bug. But after a certain point, these kind of upgrades are no longer available as options, thus limiting your goal of speeding up production.

Don’t forget to upgrade things in your passenger cabin, as well. For example, getting better seats for the people flying with you will increase their patience.

6. Aim For The Three-Star Rating

Like most cooking games out there, all levels in Airplane Chefs have an objective which you need to complete in order to be able to move on to the next stage. But these aren’t varied, like you might expect. Instead, they converge towards a single purpose – collecting a sum of gold coins.

While you need to gather a certain minimum amount of coins to be given the clear for the next level, if you manage to do everything by the book, it’s possible to collect enough to hit a second or third threshold. Stars are unlocked as you reach these points. Finish off a level with a three-star rating and you’ll receive a nice bonus, which can be either coins or, if you’re lucky, a single Gem. As a sidenote here, keep in mind that even if you fail a level, you’ll still receive some gold coins and Smiles (more about this resource in section 8) for your efforts.

airplane chefs three-star rating

Airplane Chefs gets hard pretty early on, so it’s not always going to be easy scoring that top rating. But you can try to give it your best shot. Most likely you’ll have to replay some levels to achieve this goal, and you’re actually encouraged to do so, especially the early ones.

With improved gear in your kitchen, your chances at scoring a three-star ratings for previous levels increase considerably. Replaying old levels can also bring in additional gold, which – as we already explained – is the currency you need to unlock further upgrades in your food production area.

Getting as many stars as possible in one go is also important because they provide the key to unlocking more flights in the game. For example, 150 stars will allow you to start serving on the London flight.

Since the main objective throughout most of the levels in Airplane Chefs is collecting gold, it’s important to also focus on kitchen upgrades that can increase the amount of coin you receive when you serve a certain item. If you’ve ran out of Gems, and there’s no chance in sight of getting more of them soon, you’ll obviously have to put on hold any upgrades that cost precious stones.

airplane chefs london flight

However, for several dishes, like the Emu Steak, for instance, you can add additional ingredients to the plate which increases the value of the end product. Most of these add-ons can be purchased for coin, although some still require Gems. In the case of the Emu Steak, you can add Rosemary, Parsley and Roasted Garlic.

If you’re willing shed three Gems, you can also get Akudjura on top of the steak. But spending so many of these scarce precious stones on such an upgrade seems a bit of a waste, as there are better uses for them (as we will see in the next section).

To recap, if you keep failing a level because you can’t seem to be able to make the minimum amount of gold required, try and unlock some of the add-ons available for your food items. These usually cost only gold coins, and will increase the value of your dishes. And so, by serving more expensive plates, you’ll boost your chances of getting a positive outcome.

7. Buying Souvenirs Is A Good Investment

If you’ve stumbled upon a really tough level, here’s a trick you could try. You’ll need a Gem to put this into practice, though. If you don’t have it, perhaps you could try and replay earlier levels in the hopes that you might win a Gem as part of rewards handed out after finishing a level with a three-star rating.

Anyway, if you do have one Gem to spare, spend it on buying a batch of souvenirs. Cabin crew can hand out comfort items such as blankets while you’re serving meals. But if you’ve purchased souvenirs, go ahead and employ them instead. You can’t serve both. It’s either one or the other.

airplane chefs souvenirs

Offering souvenirs to passengers who want them all but guarantees your success during a level and with the maximum three-star rating in tow. Our recommendation is to save this trick for really hard challenges. Indeed, it would be tempting to have souvenirs on board all the time, but that means you’ll have to cut down on the kitchen upgrades, and that’s not really a good idea.

Since Gems are such a valuable resource, we’re going to dedicated the next section to describing all the ways available to collect more.

8. How To Get More Of Those Precious Gems

Not having enough Gems represents a real problem in Nordcurrent’s Airplane Chefs. Unlike the vast majority of cooking games, you don’t get Gems as rewards for completing stages successfully. Instead, they come in mostly from making progress in the game.

While your options to acquire more are limited, if you don’t wish to spend any real-word cash to play, it’s important that you are aware of all the methods of acquiring extra Gems, so you can exploit them as much as possible.

airplane chefs daily rewards

Check into the game daily and redeem the daily bonus – checking into the game daily comes with rewards. The daily bonus consists mostly of gold coins, but from time to time you’ll be able to grab a Gem or two. So make sure, to visit the game every day, even if you don’t feel in the mood for playing a level. This way you’ll be able to collect precious resources that will come in handy when you do decide to go back to playing.

Claim Smile rewards – you can get Smiles from your passengers when you serve them comfort items, as well as souvenirs. Clearing away their trays after they finished their meals, will elicit the same response, as well as providing prompt service. While collecting Smiles will have no bearing on whether you’ll be able to clear a level or not, it does bring forth an advantage. Collect a certain amount and you’ll be able to unlock rewards consisting of Gems. Tap on the Smiley Face in the lower right corner of the display to see how many you lack before hitting the next milestone.

airplane chefs smile rewards

So every time you have the option to serve a comfort item like neck pillows do so quickly. It’s also advised that you move rapidly in order to retrieve your passengers’ food trays once their done eating, so you can earn more Smileys. Bear in mind that replaying an older level does not get you any extra Smiles.

Grab the progress rewards – Making progress in the game yields additional rewards. When you’re about to select the next level you wish to play, check out the progress bar that appears at the top. Once you’ve reached a threshold, a bunch of rewards will become available to redeem. For example, playing a five levels can get you 2 Gems and 25 Energy points.

airplane chefs progress rewards

Unlock Achievements – These are another type of progress rewards which can give you access to more Gems. You can view your Achievements by tapping on the prize cup icon in the lower right side of the display. For example, you can grab 2 Gems if you managed to collect 90 or more Smiles in one level.

9. The Trouble With Energy

Airplane Chefs uses an energy-system and as it turns out, it’s the most irritating part of this game. Each day, you start off with 50 energy points, and playing a level will drain a number of energy points. The earlier levels cost less (2 energy points), while the higher ones will take you back with more – for instance, level 30 charges you 10 energy points. To make matters worse, replaying a failed level will take you back with additional energy points.

So basically, with a full tank of energy, you’ll be able to play only five more advanced levels in a row before running out of juice. That is assuming you don’t run into any problems, and have to replay some of the levels again.

Energy gets restored over time, but if you don’t want to wait, you can go ahead and take advantage of the free fuel offers in the Shop. Watch an ad in exchange for one extra Energy point. Granted, the amount you can get is very small. You’ll have to watch 10 ads in a row just to be able to play a level, but the alternative is to pay money to continue.

airplane chefs shop

Or you could just take a break from the game and come back to it later. Remember that you can get some extra energy from unlocking progress rewards, so that can give you the much needed boost. The issue, however, is that unlocking progress rewards takes time, so you won’t get to enjoy these perks too frequently.

In the Shop, you can also watch ads in exchange for 200 coin gifts. Unfortunately, there’s no such offer when it comes to Gems, so you’ll just have to make-do with the methods we’ve outlined above to get more of them. If you’re willing to install Nordcurrent’s older restaurant game Cooking Fever on your device, you will automatically receive an infusion of 3,000 coins into your Airplane Chefs account.

With this we conclude our Airplane Chefs beginner’s guide. We hope that we’ve included enough tips and tricks to help you reshape and improve your overall strategy while using the airline kitchens, preparing food and serving passengers fast. If you have some of your own tips and advice you’d like to share for this game, feel free to let us know in the comments!


Monday 1st of August 2022

Let me be clear to anyone thinking they can get by without a decent infusion of gems from the store that you will be grinding for an awfully long time. In fact I don't think it's even possible to move forwards without doing so. Not complaining but I've spent over 500 gems on various upgrades and still a ways to go before I can get certain airports maxed out. I estimate you will need a at the bare minimum 1000 gems to enable you to pass through the higher levels of all the available locations (currently there's 8) and hundreds more required as they release additional airports in the future. This is a very fun and addictive game but just like it's counterpart 'Cooking Fever', you can't get anywhere fast without a decent quantity of gems stocked. Just want people to get a realistic view before they invest their time in a game like this. The game effectively forces you to make purchases from the shop in order to progress (something I feel the developer cleverly manipulates from the get-go). The gems you do earn through tasks/achievements, daily logins and smiles etc. are like pocket money which will buy you the odd token upgrade but nothing of any significance. To reiterate, it's a great game, just be prepared to part with some real cash to get any enjoyment out of it long term. It may be free to play but it's very much pay to progress.


Sunday 29th of May 2022

Hi. Could someone please comment on which games in Airplane Chefs are the easiest to play. So far I've only played Denver and Sydney. Denver seemed the easiest. I hit a glitch in London on Level 2. The potato wedges won't bake. Any games you find easiest or hardest? Any game/Location have glitches early on? Thanks very much for any help in advance.

Wanda Sullivan Tubbs

Wednesday 18th of May 2022

It won't let me recycle trays.


Sunday 19th of December 2021

Does anyone know why my earlier games are now all costing me 10 fuel? They used to cost me 2 and 5! If this is an upgrade to make it even more difficult to gain gems, I am going to stop playing. This game is fun but it stops and starts and I lose fuel… it takes so long to collect gems and items cost so many gems to purchase it is ridiculous. All the tips on here are great, providing the early games in the level are accessible for the cheaper fuel cost!


Wednesday 8th of December 2021

Why does my galley close mid game? I can’t finish filling orders when the galley closes on me.