- As a former frequent leisure traveler, this COVID-19 pandemic is a real cliché dust-creator for passports. Nevertheless, I wanted to reflect on a few airline meals, that stood out not for being good, but just because even unpleasant in-flight service meant that you were traveling somewhere.
- Baked beans and mushrooms? Thanks for your contribution, Her Majesty
The US airlines for the most part make it simple these days when flying between and in the fifty states- no free meals in economy class, save for a few cross-country flights. On the flip side, I guess we can’t blame them for the inevitably inferior quality if they were still serving meals. Still, if I could get one of those rock-solid pieces of bread with butter, it could tide us over for a spell. Better to have never received free food in-flight in the first place, because passengers wouldn’t be able to make that their excuse du jour. Shoot, if I’m going to be stuck on an airplane for any amount of time, I’d rather be eating something I know is good, say a five dollar bottle of Hudson News-water, two Advil or take-out from a Salvadorean restaurant.
Ahh, Salvadorean food. Sure, airport security in many places wouldn’t permit you to take the condiments– pickled cabbage being the número uno cause of airborne anarchy– through the checkpoints, but I wonder how many people have been introduced to a country’s cuisine based on the airline they were flying. We’ve already taken a peek at a British breakfast above, but that was with Emirates, which might as well be the 3rd British carrier, but let’s see what kind of hometown pride other airlines have:
We’ll begin with the most painful volunteer, American Airlines, from Miami to La Paz, Bolivia. Did you know that there’s as much fat in that salad dressing as there is in the person in the seat next to you? Oh, hello rock-solid piece of bread. La Paz Airport is the second highest in the world, so I couldn’t tell if I was sick because of the altitude or the…wait, is that Vaseline? I’m getting out of here.
Dragonair (now known as Cathay Dragon, based in Hong Kong), Hong Kong to Dhaka. Never thought you’d see feta cheese and soy-glazed pea pods together? The most representative Hong Kong food in this picture is the TimeOut chocolate bar. Why? It’s produced by Cadbury, a British company. HK was a British territory from the early 1840s until 1997. Folks, that’s the best I got…
Sichuan Airlines (based in Chengdu, China), Chengdu to Shenzhen. Aviation food! No need for the reminder, alas it’s not so much different from Chinese terra firma food. That’s a standard Chinese breakfast food on the right, 粥 zhōu, or rice porridge. In that oh-so-common air-tight packet to its lower left, pickled MSG. No, it’s pickled daikon, a root vegetable. If they gave a packet of sunflower seeds instead of pickles, the aisle would become louder than the engines at take-off.
Bangkok Airways, Luang Prabang, Laos to Bangkok, Thailand. Khao niao, whereas khao=rice and niao=sticky in the Lao language, is present. That’s the best we can do here. Are those carrots wrapped in egg? I have to start prioritizing my memory.
What do you remember most about airline meals?