Lonely Planet Writer

That's not a doggy bag

Airline food: delectable feast at 30,000 feet or eat packaging to improve taste?

I went on Five Live’s Richard Bacon Show (with Rachel Burden deputising from Richard himself) the other night to talk about airline food, in the light of yesterday’s announcement by British Airways that they were cutting out serving meals on short-haul flights after 10am. Don’t panic, you still get breakfast, and full meal service on flights over two and a half hours. BA get to save £22m a year.

The show took a torrent of calls from listeners, some enthusing about their meals with airlines like Emirates and Singapore Airlines, others likening their experiences to what remains the world’s best complaint letter. One lady recounted the long-gone glamour of flights on Concorde - the quality of the food being another reason to lament the loss of supersonic passenger flights.

Thanks to Tim Hayward, a food writer for the Guardian newspaper we got to taste some airline meals on the ground. Stuffed with spices intended to still be detectable in a pressurised cabin they smelt pretty funky – special mention to the part-baked bacon roll which listed as an ingredient ‘porcine plasma’. And I thought the Breakfast Bap (think mutant chicken pulverised by hot cheese in a stale roll) that I ate two of on one transatlantic flight was inedible.

The general feeling however was that airlines don’t do too bad a job feeding the hungry and bored, but there are always notable and hilarious exceptions. Check out airlinemeals.net for shots of how the other half eat on planes.

Any in-flight food horror stories to share?

- Tom Hall