The truth about airline food and drinks

The truth about airline food and drinks

We all heard that airline food is bad, water hardly drinkable, yet we keep on buying it over and over again, convincing ourselves it can’t be that bad. Perhaps it’s time to look at whether those rumors are true after all. After reading this post, everyone can decide for themselves.


Coffee and other drinks

Let’s start with the coffee – the number one drink, that keeps us awake and energized.  Why does airplane coffee get bad reputation? The reason lies in the the water, as one might guess. Airplane coffee isn’t made with bottled water, and airplane’s potable water isn’t exactly clean. Due to short layovers, there is hardly time to clean the valves properly. Although not the best quality, at least you can enjoy it without thinking. In case of free alcohol, however, you might notice that you will be cut off at some point, if you keep asking for drinks. The amount of actual alcohol in the drink might start decreasing as well. By the way, there is a myth suggesting that you will get drunk faster on a plane. It has been tested out and doesn’t seem to be true.

Fun fact: Did you know why so many passengers prefer tomato juice? According to a clinical study conducted by Lufthansa, fluctuating air pressure of aircraft cabins makes passengers crave acidity and saltiness, which tomato juice satisfies.

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Frozen meals

it should be no secret that most meals served on board are frozen and reheated in the airplane ovens. While it has certain advantages and is required, it does also affect the quality and taste of the food. The meals are cooked, then quickly chilled and sealed. While methods of cooking may vary, the meal is not harmful, however the taste and quality are not at it’s best. So next time you decide to order and pay the huge price, think twice and (maybe) have that lunch before you start boarding the plane.


Business and first class get better food

Unsurprisingly, for someone who pays double or triple the price. Rumors say, however, that first class passengers sometimes ask for couch meal options. Alternatively, some airlines provide a first class meals to couch passengers for a fee. It’s clear, that airlines go beyond their efforts to please those high paying customers and food served in first class is often freshly prepared just before the flight.

Fun fact:  You lose about 30% of your taste sensation at high altitudes, so good food needs to have strong flavors and herbs

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Food that shouldn’t be in flight

There is a general rule for which types of food should and should not be on a flight. The idea is to avoid smelly foods, like marinated vegetables, seafood, butter sauces, fried food etc. Some types of fish also don’t do well. The most important aspect is a pleasant experience, and it won’t be achieved with bad food odors, no matter how tasty they actually are.

Long flights always have better food than short flights

Additionally, international flights will always have better food than domestic flights, even if the flying time is about the same. The truth is you might be better off eating fast food, than relying on airline meals. Many airports worldwide have fantastic places with various cuisine for every taste.
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Airline food will make you fall asleep

A popular rumor, however, can hardly be true. Although flight attendants might wish that this would minimize their work load, in fact there is no proof or anything suggesting that airline food is designed to relax.


What happens to food leftovers?

In North America, Australia, and Europe most airlines enforce strict rules about leftover airplane food. They go so far, that any employee who is caught taking food off of the plane may be fired instantly. Moreover, ground-workers caught with leftover alcohol or cigarettes can be charged with smuggling.

To illustrate where the airline food has gone over the years, here is an image of Scandinavian Airlines flight in 1968. The image says it all.

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Source: huffingtonpost.com

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8 thoughts on “The truth about airline food and drinks

    1. Good post and topic! As I was working as a cabin crew, I know pretty about the food served :-). Most of the hot meals are very caloric, as they need to be stored to handle pressure, duration so yes, count a lot of bad stuff preserving them as they are. But it can be very tasty though. Frequent travelers should be careful of it, but for those travelling not to often, I guess it is not a big problem to eat it.

  1. Online, before an international flight I was asked if I had any dietary request. I filled out my answer that I had hypertension and would like low salt food. I got to sit up front in coach by myself and got what looked like better food. I always wondered was that a coincidence?

    1. Who knows, maybe it wasn’t. International flights are known for generally better service, so they are trying to keep up the high level.

  2. If I were to ever run an airline (ha!) there would be two items served to all passengers: A top quality IPA poured directly from a 40 gallon keg rolled down the aisle along with bowls of hot, smoking, delicious chile topped with onions and cheese. Beer and chile? Who could ask for anything more.

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