What’s The Deal with Airline Food

Airline food is gross and even the thought of it makes many passengers sick to their stomachs. However, it does not have to be this way! All airlines have private caterers, so it’s just a matter of sitting down with the right partner and making some changes.

What’s The Deal with Airline Food?

The airline industry is a huge business, with hundreds of airlines operating in the United States alone. They carry hundreds of millions of passengers every year.

So, it’s no wonder that people are curious about what the deal is with airline food. It’s not like you can just walk down to the local grocery store and pick up a bag of peanuts and an orange juice when you’re hungry on a plane.

The truth is that the airlines have gotten better at providing tasty meals to their customers, but there are still some things that can make your flight meal less than satisfying.

  • Here are some things to consider:

Airline food is expensive. It takes time and effort to prepare fresh food for hundreds or even thousands of passengers, so there’s no way they can afford to sell it cheaply — especially when they must pay for fuel and other expenses too! In fact, it’s been reported that some airlines lose money on their meals.

Airline Food Was Better Until We Started Eating It.

In the early days of air travel, passengers were served meals that were prepared on board and eaten with real silverware and China. The food was hot, there was plenty of it — and it tasted good.

But in the late 1960s, airlines began serving “turboprops” — planes with two jet engines (like a DC-9) or three turbojet engines (like a 727). These planes were larger than the jets that preceded them and could fit more passengers in their cabins. But they could not fly long distances without refueling at mid-air stations — so meals had to be small enough to serve quickly.

And so began the era of “airline food.”

“The results suggest that people may be less likely to notice or remember negative aspects of their experience when they are distracted by other activities,” they wrote in the paper. “This suggests a possible explanation for why passengers may be more satisfied with airline food than they were in the past.”

The researchers surveyed 849 flyers at Narita International Airport and asked them to rate their in-flight meals on a scale from one to five based on freshness, taste and presentation. They also asked how much they enjoyed their meal (from poor to excellent), how much they would pay for an upgrade and whether they felt like eating again within 30 minutes of landing.

The survey was conducted twice over 18 months: once before meals were served and once after passengers had consumed them on flights departing from Narita Airport between 7:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. The results showed that passengers rated their food more highly after actually consuming it than before getting on board.

The Food You Get on An Airplane Is Bad, But It Is Also Pretty Fascinating.

Airline food is an easy target, but it’s not as bad as you think.

The food you get on an airplane is bad, but it is also fascinating.

Why? Because airplane food has a long and storied history, and it’s been getting progressively better over time.

The first airlines to offer meals at all were Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) and TWA in the 1930s. Before that, people had to bring their own food on board with them or buy snacks at the airport. Pan Am was the first airline with a dedicated kitchen for preparing meals for passengers; previously, they’d been making do with what was available in airports — namely, hot dogs and hamburgers from vendors who set up shop there.

All this changed when Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927 on a mail flight from New York City to Paris. He wanted to eat well while he was up there, so he asked his pilot if there was any way they could find some decent food and bring it along with them. The pilot took him up on this idea and contacted a relative of his who owned a restaurant in Paris called Restaurant Carcassonne (now Bistro des Deux Rives).

The Higher the Altitude, The Lower The Humidity.

The higher the altitude, the lower the humidity. That’s why you feel thirsty when you fly.

The air inside an airplane is very dry and has less oxygen than you’re used to. Low humidity and low oxygen levels can affect digestion and your taste buds, which means that food may not seem as tasty as it does on the ground.

The dry cabin air also leads to dehydration, which causes travelers to urinate more frequently. This can lead to dehydration (and constipation), which makes it more difficult for your body to process nutrients from food.

There Are a Lot Of Chefs Behind The Scenes.

There are a lot of chefs behind the scenes, but they’re not making your dinner. And it’s not that they’re lazy or incompetent. It’s just that there are other priorities.

The main reason airlines don’t make their own food is because it’s expensive, says aviation blogger Scott McCartney.

Airlines must buy at least one seat on every plane for a flight attendant, he says — “and then they have to pay them.”

Flight attendants are also responsible for a lot of other things besides just serving food and drinks, including helping with takeoff and landing procedures and making sure passengers don’t get too drunk.

“It’s not as if they’re sitting around twiddling their thumbs,” McCartney says. “They’ve got things to do throughout the flight.”


Even though airline food is essentially a PR nightmare, it’s quite edible—and that’s surprisingly good news for long-haul travelers. However, there are certain precautions to keep in mind when ordering airline food. Read the fine print before ordering to make sure you get exactly what you need and avoid any surprises. Overall, the state of airline food was about as expected—it wasn’t good, but it wasn’t bad either.

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