6 Reasons Why Airplane Food Tastes Different

6 Reasons Why Airplane Food Tastes Different


Security screening – done. Passport control
– check. A cup of coffee, a magazine from the duty-free store – and a short line later,
I’m finally on board the plane. Now, just let me buckle my seat belt, live through the
take-off, and some 40 minutes later, I hear my favorite phrase in the world: “Chicken
or fish?” But it seems that the question really is “to eat or not to eat?”… I must admit that I’m a huge fan of airplane
food! But you see, my best friend isn’t. You can’t imagine all the times we argued
ourselves hoarse over the quality and taste of airline food. Honestly, one day it started
grating on my nerves, and I decided to find out everything I could about the meals on
airplanes. It turns out that airline companies plan all
their meals up to a year in advance! And when I say “plan,” I mean they count every single
cherry tomato that you’ll later find in your salad. You’ve probably heard that famous story
when American Airlines managed to save $40,000 after they removed an itsy-bitsy olive from
each salad on their flights! Yep, it’s all about the right planning.
And if you think airplane food is just some frozen stuff cooked months in advance, think
again! Wait-wait, don’t say anything yet, let me finish! Naturally, the food isn’t prepared
on the plane either because there’s literally no space to do it on board. Besides, there
are particular safety standards that most likely don’t include sharp knives and open
fire. Uh huh. Nope, airplane food is prepared on the ground, not far from the airport. Large
airline catering companies, such as LSG Sky Chefs, can produce a whopping 15,000 bread
rolls in an hour and more than 30,000 sandwiches a day! And mind you, they work 24 hours a
day, 365 days a year. What’s even more unexpected for us simple
passengers, is that most dishes are prepared by hand, even though some processes are automated.
For example, they say LSG Sky Chefs Frankfurt hire 2,075 employees who cook 85,500 meals
a day. Also, the menus get refreshed all the time, according to modern food trends.
At the same time, your airplane food isn’t exactly super fresh. Typically, your meal
gets prepared 10 hours before you take that first bite. But you wouldn’t be able to eat
this food right after it’s been cooked on the ground! The trick is that, let’s say,
chicken usually leaves the kitchen only 60% done, and steak – just 30% ready. After that,
all the food gets chilled in special fridges and transported to the plane in a peculiar
state: not completely frozen, but not edible either. And the final stage of hot dish preparation
happens onboard. Interestingly, the people responsible for
creating meals usually test the dishes that are about to appear on the menu right up in
the air! Well, there’s a serious reason for that: when you’re on the plane, your nose
gets dry because of low humidity. This, along with the pressure change during the take-off
and even the constant noise from jet engines, makes your taste buds not as perceptive as
they are on the ground. In other words, you perceive no more than 30% of the taste of
your food. That’s why chefs have to add extra ingredients, such as extra spice, extra salt,
extra sugar, to all the dishes they cook. So, remember those chicken wings you were
eating on your last flight? They would set your mouth on fire if you munched on them
in the terminal! But let’s get back to our trays with airplane
food. If they can’t board right away, the meals wait in their own gate lounge. It’s
not unlike your lounge, but freezing cold and resembling a massive refrigerator. Then
everything depends on whether the plane is ready to leave on time. If there’s a delay
which is announced in advance, the food just stays in its fridge-lounge. But what if it’s
already been delivered on board? In most cases, if the delay is too long, the
airlines just dump the load and ask the catering company for a replacement shipment. Oh my,
what a waste! But I must admit, better that than getting food poisoning mid-flight.
So let’s say that the plane leaves on time, take-off goes smoothly, and several hundreds
of passengers follow the flight attendants with hungry eyes (no pun intended). That’s
the cabin crew’s clue that it’s time to reheat the meals. Um, no, they don’t shove food trays
into microwaves. Probably because there are no microwaves on board. Instead, they use
convection ovens with fans that blow hot air onto the meals. It helps to prepare the food
pretty fast – in about 20 minutes. While your meal is steaming in the oven, emitting
mouthwatering smells, it’s time for drinks. Now, I never ever drink tomato juice on the
ground. Guess it’s just not my cup of tea. But in-flight? Oh boy, give me two or better,
three! And look at all those people who all of a sudden decide to share my newly found
love for tomato juice! Disappointingly, there’s no mystery here. As you remember, in the dry
airplane air your sinuses get bogged-up, and as a result, you start to crave salty and
acidic stuff. Eventually, you get your food and bite into
your meal. After you finish, there are still some cookies left on the tray. But you’re
so stuffed, you decide to leave them: after all, they’re unopened, and surely the airline
will be able to serve them on another flight. Unfortunately, it’s against the law to reuse
anything a passenger has on their meal tray. It may lead to spreading disease, and airline
companies don’t want to take chances. That’s why your cookies are going to be vacuumed
into a special underground room and burned. To avoid such unnecessary waste, share the
cookies with your neighbors or hide them in your carry-on to chomp on later.
On the other hand, it was a great surprise for me to find out that all the dishes I eat
from during the flight – even plastic ones! – are reusable. The same catering companies
that prepare food for airlines also have huge dishwashing areas where they wash and sanitize
plates, cups, and cutlery. Interestingly, every plane has three sets of tableware: one
is used on board the aircraft, the second is in the “dishwasher,” and the third set
is always ready to replace the stuff that has been lost or broken.
And now, last but not least, I want to warn you about one thing. Airlines state that the
water they use to make hot drinks is safe to drink and meets all necessary regulations.
But the fact is that the water tanks on planes often become a playground for all kinds of
bacteria. For example, when the Environmental Protection Agency tested water taken from
about 300 aircraft back in 2004, the researchers discovered that 15% of all the samples contained
coliform bacteria. And since these bacteria are often found in feces, they are typically
used to determine how sanitary the water is. It goes without saying that nowadays, after
new, stricter rules and regulations have been introduced, the situation has significantly
improved. But still, from time to time, routine checks prove that the quality of water on
commercial airplanes is still an issue. If you’re still worried, boiling the water
should destroy all the pathogens that could be in it. But as they say, better safe than
sorry. That’s why I always try to get my daily portion of caffeine in the terminal before
the flight. Do you like in-flight meals or do you prefer
to bring your own food on board the plane? Let me know down in the comments! If you learned
something new today, then give this video a like and share it with a friend.
But – hey! – don’t go anywhere just yet! We have over 2,000 cool videos for you to
check out. All you have to do is pick the left or right video, click on it, and enjoy!
Stay on the Bright Side of life!

100 thoughts on “6 Reasons Why Airplane Food Tastes Different”

  1. Duh its a no brainer .. i would rather bring my own food on the plane !!
    Airplane food sucks no matter they compensated the taste or the ticket class you buy.

  2. Once I had a plane from Dubai to india so in Dubai airport I ate so much and filled up my tummy I was soo full I barely could breathe and as we took off I was as hungry as a werewolf

  3. I usually don’t eat the food served on the plane I eat the food that I get in the terminal and bring it on the plane

  4. I personally airplane food and the ground food the airplane food is always in packaging and I always eat it all and the ground food before the plane

  5. Take the picture of passport with no makeup, when head to the plane no makeup because they will check your passport

  6. id choose to bring my own food and bring my own water bottle filled up nearly to the top no disease for me!

  7. Yes yes, salt and pepper is now unobtainable on land. You can now only consume salt and pepper on planes otherwise illegal. thumbnail

  8. Huh. I don’t mean to be mean, buuut I am not a person who is not Indian but I loved my fried rice but on the ground I would probably hate it

  9. I just clicked on this video because after some days i am gonna go in a flight….but…I cant tell to my family that they should not drink tea/coffee on flights or they will catch a cold/disese….. Cause after I say this , they will be like…… Its no TRUE!!!!

  10. Actually, meals are heated up on planes. I know that because I once asked a flight attendant something about the food, and they replied "I don't know. I'm just in charge of heating up the food."

  11. Well for me it depends. Some airlines have GREAT meals ( like international airlines) but domestic airlines ( offer food but doesn’t look as you would think) JetBlue has good food! Southwest isn’t really much of a food giver-outer (I guess). It servers you maybe a bag of pretzels or peanuts or other. AA is dependable because it may give you snacks OR a FULL MEAL!!

    I would choose BOTH but the airline flying on is SUPER DEPENDABLE

  12. “That’s why your cookies are going to be vacuumed into an underground room and BURNED”
    😂 those poor cookies

  13. Today I’m watching a lot of plane videos to tell my big sister cuz tomorrow she’s going on a flight from Orlando Florida to Newark New Jersey. She was supposed to be on Vacation in Kissimmee Florida but the only 2 adults were very rude. So she’s going on a flight back home instead of how she got there, one of the adults driving her. Good idea

  14. AS SOON AS I SAW NAIROBI I WAS FULL OF JOY😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪

  15. Back in the day Reno Air would serve port of subs on some longer flights like reno to chicago which I enjoyed. More recently on an All Nippon Airways flight I tried the japanese cuisine as well as the cheeseburger entree meal and they were both very delicious, especially when in comparison to other airlines which I will not mention as most are similar to me in every way. ANA definately provided the best in-flight meals i've had so far, of course only up to today that is…

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