Why Airline Food Is Sometimes Bad


Someone at the BBC must have had a particularly terrible in flight meal. The publication just released a new study on why airline food can sometimes be less than pleasant. Whether or not the findings make you want to give airline food a break will be up to you.

So, why is it sometimes hard to look forward to meal service?

Reason #1: It’s Hard to Cook In A Plane

Cramped quarters and high altitude and one or two regulations about lighting an open flame on a plane make cooking on one next to impossible. So instead of cooking your in-flight meal from scratch, they microwave it. With varying results.

Reason #2: Your Taste Buds Don’t Fly Well

From another BBC story on bad airplane food: “Taste buds and sense of smell are the first things to go at 30,000 feet, says Russ Brown, director of In-flight Dining & Retail at American Airlines. Flavor is a combination of both, and our perception of saltiness and sweetness drop when inside a pressurized cabin.”

To compensate for the fact that things taste twice as bland when you’re in the air, airlines add much more seasoning and salt — “much more than a restaurant on the ground ever would.” Whether it’s the right amount may vary from meal to meal.

Reason #3: The Knives on Airplanes Aren’t Sharp

Anyone who’s ever waited in a security line knows that airlines abhor sharp objects. And since most passengers are working with dull utensils, meals are cooked very thoroughly to make it easy to cut with even a plastic knife. Take into account the fact that recipes have to suit many palates and are reproduced by the thousands and you have a recipe that struggles to avoid disaster.


To read about even more factors that make airline food less than great (and how airlines are trying to make it better), read more here.

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