The unnamed cabin crew member was flying with Urumqi Air in China when the video was filmed and it was later shared online.
The clip is said to have been taken some 45 minutes before the aircraft was due to land in Yinchuan City in north-western China.
The air hostess appeared to realise she was being recorded by a colleague but did not seem to mind.
In the video, the flight attendant has a row of opened airline meals in front of her, and she can be seen eating from at least one of them using a spoon during the short video.
Social media users on Weibo demanded an explanation for the behaviour while also questioning the carrier’s hygiene standards.
In a statement published on social media, the airline based out of Urumqi, capital of north-western China, said it had suspended the flight attendant effective immediately, grounding her from all flights.
The company’s statement claimed the in-flight meals in the video were leftovers which were not handed out to passengers.
The employee appeared to be “taste testing” the food when she should have been disposing of the leftovers, which is a breach of the airline’s protocol, the statement added.
Urumqi Air apologised for the incident and said they were conducting a full investigation.