9 Little Secrets You Need to Know about Airplane Food

When you catch that long flight and spend almost the entire day on the skies above, you feel kind of relieved when you see the flight attendant serving breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s true that the plane food has a bad reputation but it seems unavoidable in this case.

You’re tired, run out of energy, and you have to eat. But have you ever wondered how those artful meals are prepared? And if it’s something you really want to put in our body? Well, you are in luck. We did the digging and come out with some surprising flight facts.

#1 – Food is prepared to adapt to your dulled senses

You might have noticed that the food served during your flight tastes different when you are on land. This could only be explained by the fact that higher altitude and lower humidity can cause your senses, namely your sense of taste and that of smell to become dull. Therefore your ability to taste the sweetness and saltiness diminishes by about thirty percent.

A Former flight attendant, Eddie Jorge who currently works as a pilot says that 3 years of experience made him realize that the food is not prepared randomly. The chefs take into consideration the dulled senses and do a pretty good job about that and make food that adapts to the state of your senses during flight.

#2 – Avoid the water

Jorge strongly recommends travelers to stay as away as possible from water that has been in contact with the water stored in the airplane’s tanks. And this is because those tanks can only be cleaned with chemicals over a period of time.

In addition to this, the access is expensive and even hard, especially if E. coli or some other serious pathogen is detected. In this case, the maintenance personnel deactivates the associated water system. Therefore, no coffee or tea is served that day.

Airlines in these cases use the bottled water for passenger and crew consumption. Whereas old airplanes that travel long distances usually have water spigot built into some cabin walls. The latter device controls the flow of water from the trank.

However, Jorge continues saying that he would never take the risk and drink that water very simply because it is coming from the tank.

#3 – Food is not cooked aloft

The food that flight attendants serve for you is actually not cooked on the flight, says Jorge, rather it is prepared in major airport kitchens, transported, and then loaded into the airplane kitchen using the trucks on stilts.

The airport kitchens are equally subject to health inspections like any other restaurant, according to Jorge. Therefore there is no reason why you should worry about the factor of cleanliness.

#4 – It’s all about Timing

Catering for multiple flights is very common and because not all airports do have a kitchen, most airlines cater for round and through trips.

Let’s take an example, If the flight is, for instance, from New York through Columbus, to Ohio, and then Chicago, then you are likely to have within few hours after you leave New York a fresh meal, while in the second flight from Columbus to Chicago you will only be served food that has ridden from New York.

There is no harm in catering, says Jorge, as long as food that needs refrigeration stays chilled.

#5 – Hot food and Cold food are prepared in the same way

Cold food is transported right from the airport kitchens pre-plated and covered with plastic wrap and is left in galley cart where integral galley chillers circulate cold air throughout the cart. Dry ice is another way used on airplanes to keep food cold especially drinks like beer and white wines.

As for the hot dishes, adds Jorge, are either pre-plated, well covered with foil or saved in containers. Once it’s time for the food to be served, it is reheated in convection ovens. The latter is not available in regional jets because they are lacking space. Therefore, expect to eat your food cold.

#6 – No other substitutions

It’s something you should put in mind and never forget. “You are sitting on the plane and not in a steakhouse or Burger King. Definitely, you can’t have it your way. Either you take what you get or just leave it. The food is not cooked but reheated. So please next time stop asking for your steak rare!”

#7 – Flight attendants aren’t cooks

Jorge says that flight attendants are not cooks and basically all they are good at is “set-it and forget-it meals preparations”. Right after take-off, the good flight attendants set in the ovens to start heating the food for about twenty to twenty-five minutes as it is universally acknowledged.

In upper-class cabins, for instance, Jorge added that right after you are served your first drink with warm nuts, the flight attendants pull out the food from the ovens and set the tray for delivery.” Hopefully, the bread rolls are not forgotten and heated for the last 10 minutes so that your butter can melt right in!” says Jorge.

Gratefully, continues Jorge, “the job of flight attendant doesn’t require cooking skills and doesn’t depend on cooking meals for dozens of people otherwise I would have been definitely fired from my former job as well as many others.”

#8 – Take what you can get

Don’t make yourself believe that you are sitting in a fancy restaurant where you can order anything you feel like eating. Things are different on the plane. The menu is limited. It’s either chicken or beef, beef or pasta, sandwich or salad, etc.

Usually, only two meals are loaded on the airplane. So, if your choice was out then it’s definitely not on the plane. You can wait until you land and go grab something for yourself to eat or very simply take what you get. Better full than hungry, right!

#9 – Drink Alcohol with caution

Higher altitudes mean lower pressure in the cabin and therefore low humidity and less oxygen in the air. This will lead to your fast dehydration and may even cause many people to get affected by hypoxia. The latter condition may easily affect passengers in-flight and it’s a state where the blood and body do not receive enough oxygen.

For these reasons, it is strongly recommended to drink a glass of water for each hour flight. Alcohol is also recommended as it has a great effect but still flight attendants are responsible for monitoring the passengers’ behavior and immediately stop serving alcoholic drinks in case anyone showed some belligerent reactions.

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