Plane food doesn’t exactly have the best of reputations, but United Airlines is banking on it having a fair few fans. It’s released a cookbook of its onboard recipes, so you can recreate the experience at home for just $29.99 (€26.16).
But be warned – if you do rustle up some of these meals, they might not taste quite like when you’re up in the air. When flying in high altitude, your senses are a bit messed up – this means things don’t smell or taste exactly like when you’re on the ground.
Wherever you stand on airline cuisine, when you’re stuck in your seat on a long-haul flight and the dinner trolley comes round, we all have similar thoughts…
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Long-haul flights are dull, no matter where you’re headed. Unless sitting in one spot watching a Reese Witherspoon movie marathon without being able to stretch your legs is your bag, it’s not the greatest of experiences.
That’s why mealtimes are a welcome distraction from the fact your bum is going numb. Even if you’re not hungry, at least it’s something to do – and excitement inevitably builds as the trolleys come down the aisle.
Then it hits you – what meal actually is this? Chances are your body clock is slightly confused as you jump between timezones – you might feel like it’s time for cereal and OJ, but then the air stewards start handing out lamb dishes with red wine.
But hey – you’re not exactly going to turn down that mini bottle of wine, regardless of what time you think it is.
Unless you’re lucky enough to be in Business or First Class, we’re going to guess you’re not getting your meal on a china plate. Instead, you’ll be getting that classic plastic tray, and will have to peel off the (many, many layers of) wrapping to discover what’s beneath.
Everything being swaddled in plastic – even down to the bread roll – doesn’t exactly scream freshness, but remember: You’re 35,000 feet off the ground, so this is the best you’re going to get.
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Okay, this one isn’t reserved just for airplanes, but any time you go out to eat. Even if you haven’t tried your meal yet, you immediately get food envy – the person next to you seems to be enjoying their curry, so maybe you should have gone for that instead?
When you first tuck into your meal, it does feel a bit strange. Needless to say it doesn’t taste quite like a normal dinner – but that’s the altitude altering your senses.
You can’t help but miss crunching on something, as airline meals are definitely on the softer side of things. Pasta is a classic option, but you can bet anything it won’t be al dente.
Luckily, you know a small packet of pretzels will definitely be available, so that’s your crunch quota sorted.
Look, no one can say airline meals are particularly delicious. However, think of the dinners you had up in the sky 10 years years ago – they were pretty shocking, and things have come a long way since then.
Plus, depending on what airline you are, it often could be a chance to try a new and different cuisine, which is always exciting.
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We don’t know how the air stewards do it – they somehow manage to serve meals and drinks to hundreds of people on the plane at once, so serious props. However, from a selfish point of view, we definitely hate how long it takes to take your meals away (which again, is not their fault – there are a lot of people to deal with).
It’s just because there’s nothing worse than being desperate for the loo, but finding it impossible to disentangle yourself from your seat with all the tray tables down and meals on them – who knows when you’ll next be able to get up?! It’s even worse if you have a dietary requirement, because you tend to get your food eons before everyone else.
This is the point when you look at the clock, realise you’ve still got hours until your destination, and decide it’s well and truly time for a post-dinner nap. Or post-breakfast, or post-lunch. Who really knows what time of day it is anyway?
- Press Association