Hi, my name is Tausha, and I like airplane food.
Yes, you heard that correctly: I, for the most part, enjoy the food on airplanes. Sure, there are some definite caveats and I can't say I've ever been truly blown away by how amazing the food was on a plane, but I would be lying to both you and myself if I said I didn't get excited when I'm on a flight in which food is being served, and I see the lights come on and the carts moving down the aisles. I mean, let's be real, I get excited even when it's a small bag of peanuts about to be served.
On long-haul flights that give me the menu beforehand, I pick up and put down the menu repeatedly, weighing my options in my head like it's my last meal on earth: Hmm should I go for the vegetarian option or maybe the chicken? That beef with mashed potatoes and roasted carrots seems nice, but do I trust beef on a plane? Perhaps best to get the pasta, although that seems so unexciting. I should get the chicken, shouldn't I?
This feels like a confession because airplane food is typically met with one of those grossed out faces and something along the lines of "Ugh! Airplane food!"
This back and forth continues until the cart rolls to a stop near me and the flight attendant asks what I would like. After making a last-minute decision (I tend to go for the chicken), I try a little bit of everything on my tray, determining what's worth eating and what's best to be left alone or under a napkin. If the main entree exceeds my expectation, I stick with that and the dessert. However, if it's underwhelming or just plain gross, I'm all about the bread roll, side salad and dessert (clearly dessert will always be had). Either way, I get excited about it.
This feels like a confession because airplane food is typically met with one of those grossed out faces and something along the lines of "Ugh! Airplane food!" Or, you open up a magazine and see an article detailing all the things you can bring or buy in airports to avoid eating that disgusting, grimace-worthy airplane food. And though I think some of that sentiment is changing with a few of the culinary collaborations taking place across various airlines, there's still the stereotype that airplane food is gross.
When I think about the food I've had on airplanes, I feel like there's been an overall notable improvement in the quality of food one gets these days, though I fully realize that depends on the airline. In the last year, I've been on several long-haul flights, in which I've been served food at least twice a flight. Of those, I can recall at least one truly bad meal (the airline will go unnamed), but I also recall two really fantastic meals as well (shout out to Cathay Pacific and Philippine Airlines!). Sp, maybe airplane food doesn't taste as bad as we like to think it does.
I do think there are still plenty of opportunities to improve the culinary experience on airplanes, should an airline decide to make that investment.
The other thing I like about airplane food: the presentation. Maybe it's because I love structure and organization, or because it sort of reminds me of a lunch box or bento box, but I love how the typical tray comes with the main entree in the middle, the side salad or fruit, a roll, dessert and a small water or juice. It's just so...efficient. And, as a self-admitted efficiency and organization nerd, I find these things very appealing.
All this being said, while I overall like airplane food, I do think there are still plenty of opportunities to improve the culinary experience on airplanes, should an airline decide to make that investment. For example, what about offering gourmet salads as the main entree, maybe topped with some grilled chicken, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, etc? Or are they already getting that in first class? Someone let me know. Or, what about ramen on a plane, and I don't mean the packaged stuff. More like Shoyu ramen or Tonkotsu ramen. Again, maybe this is already a thing on Japanese airlines. I've never flown on any, so I can't say.
My point is, there are ways to keep pushing the envelope when it comes to our culinary experiences on airplanes, and with the growth of food tourism and interest in trying new cuisines, I think there's an opportunity to do some great stuff on planes when it comes to the food we eat. After all, when you're on a long flight, wedged in a seat that seems to be shrinking by the minute, wouldn't it be nice to know you're going to enjoy a great meal? I think so.
So, what do you say: do you also like airplane food, or am I completely alone in this?