I’ve reviewed some in-flight food options on this website recently — LAN’s Premium Business, American Airlines’s domestic first class, United Airlines BusinessElite to Hawaii — with more hopefully to come. But I’ve never truly been impressed, even in first/business class or with celebrity chefs. Why not?
The Points Guy tackles this question with the help of a science writer today:
At low elevations, the 10,000 or so taste buds in the human mouth work fairly normally, translating chemical signals into electrical signals and sending them to the brain. They work in conjunction with the sense of smell to parse different flavors, from sour to umami.
But here’s the rub: a plane’s artificial atmosphere is equivalent to being in Santa Fe, New Mexico, at 7,000 feet above sea level. The altitude, combined with low humidity, puts the taste buds on the fritz. Scientists estimate that smell and taste decrease about 20-30% on planes.
Have you ever had airplane food you liked? Is it uniformly terrible, even in premium cabins?