In-flight Meals Revisited

By: Ian Richards

With so many restrictions on hand luggage, taking your own food is not really an option unless you have some particular dietary requirement or allergy that cannot be accommodated by the airline, although most are now covered. You did book the vegetarian/halal/kosher in-flight meal when you booked the tickets didn’t you? Even if you did, remember to make yourself known to the flight attendants ASAP so they know, just in case somebody else didn’t and they snaffle your meal.

The trouble with eating and drinking at 20,000 feet is that your taste buds don’t work as well as they do when you are on the ground, this means that the in-flight meals supplied have to be made more flavoursome. This is usually done by adding more herbs and spices when the in-flight meal is cooked and also by using more flavoursome cuts of meat.

When it comes to wine, it is usually the bigger, bolder grapes like a Bordeaux or Burgundy that are served.

If you have a food allergy, chances are the in-flight caterers are aware of the main ones so you should be fine. It is worth checking with the flight attendant to be on the safe side, although remember they did not cook the food, they only hand it out. If you are flying to the Far East on the national airlines like Thai Airways, Thai cooking does have a lot of peanuts in the Satay sauce and they are not the only ones.

Some national airlines will be strict on their cultural needs so that those of the Muslim countries may not serve alcohol and will serve meals that are prepared under halal conditions, which means no pork, whilst a Hindu airline will not serve beef. You may also find that these conditions apply to other airlines that are flying into the relevant countries in respect of their cultures.

It is a great challenge for caterers to supply in-flight meals that are delicious to eat whilst having so many constraints to work under, including cost, so it is a marvel that they are constantly improving their service and repertoire of menus.

If you really want an unusual in-flight meal then fly to Namibia on Air Namibia, there you will have the opportunity to dine on local Kudu, Oryx, Ostrich, or some other delicacy. Now that will be something to tell your friends about. A true Hemingway experience, eating Kudu at 20,000 feet.

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