Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Eating right, in flight: Getting edible food on your flights

Everyone gets hungry but more and more airlines are taking out food service altogether or replacing it with expensive snack boxes that still leave you hungry. Even meals that are left on long distance flights instill a certain level of dread when they are being trotted out, usually with a choice between overly dry chicken or some soggy beef or pork. At best, they’re passable; at worst they leave you feeling nauseous either by sight, smell, or disagreements with your stomach. After some trial and error, I’ve come up with a few tips that make meals on planes better:
  1. If there is no free food, then make food with what’s free. A cup of instant noodles (available in a mind boggling array at Uwajimaya’s in Seattle) can be made on board with hot water from the galley. It’s instant, hot, and actually feels like you've had a proper meal after you’re done. 
  2. If you dislike the food roulette, then order something predictable ahead of time. The dietary needs meals are options which people often overlook, but they are free to you and limit the types of ingredients that can be included and generally limit the preparation style. Hindu meals, for example, are my current favorite: So far every meal has been a vegetarian curry (chickpeas, spinach) with saffron rice, the usual salad, bread, and some fresh fruit. Breakfast was a vegetarian box with fruit, cheese, and crackers. On my next few flights, I will be exploring more styles, but I could survive with hindu meals on all flights from here on out just fine. The best thing of all is that the food is actually good!
Hindu Meal on Continental
Vegetarian Hindu Meal on Continental
Kosher Meal on Continental

Another example of a Kosher meal on Continental can be found in my flight report here.

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