Some people love it, while other can go without, so what's the deal with airplane food?
From being too salty, to being bland, you have probably heard someone complain about airplane food or you've had an experience yourself.
Monique Tran, Menu Analyst at United Airlines busts some common myths around airplane food and one thing we will say, it's a lot fresher than you think!
Myth 1: Airplane food is always saltier
"The food does not have to be necessarily saltier to compensate for the low humidity at altitude," Monique says. "Our approach during the design process is to leverage spice blends, fresh herbs and marinades to infuse bold flavors into the items we prepare."
Myth 2: Airplane food isn't fresh
"To ensure food quality from paddock to plate, United Airlines has a specialised Food Safety team who adhere to strict food rules and regulations, and source the freshest ingredients from the local areas the dishes are made," Monique explains. "The importance of food freshness is highlighted by the ongoing investment in United’s catering facilities and the training and development of facility staff, ensuring a ‘Gold Standard’ for product freshness."
"United’s chefs also conduct a menu workshop, partnering with airline caterers, growers, farmers and manufacturers to develop over 100 creations as potential menu items," she adds. "To choose the dishes for the flight, an intimate tasting panel is selected to taste and rate each dish, from experts across specific cuisines and United’s flight attendant group, ensuring the most delicious dishes at the highest standard are served on board."
Myth 3: Airplane food is unhealthy
"The food served onboard United Airlines flights has the same nutritional value as they would have on ground. United Airlines understands the importance of nutritional meals and aims to use only quality ingredients – from organic to GMO-free," she says.
Myth 4: Airplane food is bland
"Due to the low humidity in-air, senses of smell and taste do not work as effectively on airplanes. Once the plane is thousands of feet in the air, the cabin pressure causes those senses to change even more. The dry cabin air interferes with our odour receptors. As our sense of smell is impaired, food can taste bland on a plane compared to on the ground," she explains.
Myth 5: Airplane food isn't "real" food
"People tend to believe the food served in the air is altered in some way, just because it is served on a plane. Reality is, foods are prepared in inflight kitchens, similar to any high-volume production. The more complex issue when it comes to airplane food is in the design and planning of the food. This needs to examine which type of equipment should be packed, timings for meals to be plated, and delivery to the customer," she explains. "For example, United’s omelletes for primary and arrival service are all handmade inhouse using fresh eggs, potato, cheese, tomato, and locally sourced breakfast sausages, with all ingredients sourced from a local farm, meaning United can ensure sustainability and freshness."