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?
Pre-departure drink and warm mixed nuts.
After a summer hiatus (from blogging, but not dining or travel) I’m back. I know this will severely hamper the likelihood that I fulfill my New Year’s resolution, but I’ve got some posts in the pipeline and should catch up soon.
A few months ago, I went to Chile and Peru. I flew there in LAN‘s new “Premium Business” product. As far as business class products go, it was quite good: spacious cabin, lie-flat seats, a nice little amenity kit. But the food was quite disappointing. Continue reading
So, this isn’t a food review (that’s coming) — but more of a point of information. Some of you may know (I didn’t) that if you fly First Class or Business Class on American Airlines, you can pre-select your meal up to 30 days before you fly. Not just the type of meal (e.g., “vegetarian”), but the actual entree that you’ll be served. This service was launched in 2012 and American aims to roll this out to all flights by some time this year.
I’m flying from JFK to SFO soon, so I had the chance to pick my meal. My outbound selections are above — basically, just a cheese ravioli. Of course, I could have still just selected “vegetarian meal”. And that’s what I did; I’ve had cheese ravioli on an airplane not too long ago, and I am ready to try something else.
So on the way out, I just chose “vegetarian meal”. It will be interesting to see what I get.
I’m coming back on the redeye, SFO-JFK, which I think explains the lighter options. I chose the mushroom soup, though I’m worried about exactly how “creamy” it will be. (I worry that it will be way too creamy and unappetizing.) I am considering the fruit and cheese plate, though I feel like I should choose something at least a little more interesting when I have the option.
Luckily, if I do change my mind, I can change my selection, up until 24 hours before the flight.
Stay tuned; I’ll report back on the actual food shortly!
If there’s something I love as much as good food, it’s travel. As frequent readers know, I was recently in Hawaii, visiting some friends. I got there by flying on a United Airlines flight from Newark to Honolulu, in “United First”. Overall, the food was pretty good, though getting a vegetarian option was quite the challenge… Continue reading