“The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who, looked enviously at the birds soaring freely through space, in the infinite highway of the air” - Wilbur Wright
In 1930 when planes became a more common way to travel, airways started with simple meal including free sandwiches to their passengers. As flight technology improved planes grew larger and flight classes were made. In 1950 airlines created there First & Economy class where from fresh to frozen food started. As planes got bigger & faster it becomes impossible to serve entire plane with multiple courses. The meal is now divided according to their different classes like business, first and economy.
After paying a good amount of money for a flight, traveling long distance in the sky passengers are been served with the best dining restaurant service in business & first class, but economy class is still improving. Doing food research for different airways I have seen that sky chefs are working hard to serve the best food to their passengers. Sometimes a little bit mistakes happen due to which food does not taste good. The various reasons which I sorted out with my friend Nik Loukas who is an airlines food expert, spent 15 years in travel & airline industry in varied roles. He is also the owner of Inflight Feed website since 2012 and travel over 100,000 miles each year to sample what's being served at 35,000 ft. According to him, the basic reason why people don't like inflight food is because of combination of umber of things, he believes it's mainly due to our taste & sense of smell at 35,000ft. Airline food is generally reheated in ovens that only steam the food & we all know that reheated food isn't always so nice. We are also sitting in confined spaces, eating off a tray table on the back of a chair these are all elements that perhaps make eating not so pleasurable too.
Asking about what difficulties are faced by cabin crew members while they prepare food for the passengers. Nik replied that for long haul flights it's a juggling act for caterers & crew. Caterers only load a certain quantity of each food choice, & many times passengers being served last will not get their first choice. Crew can be faced with passengers who perhaps are upset by this. In business class where the food is put together by cabin crew, I would say that space is an issue & they have to work with limited equipment too. They can't have access to knives due to security issues, & so many other normal pieces of equipment that we can use on the ground.
New changes in flight food now is in business class airlines are becoming even more creative by looking at what hotels & cafes are offering on the ground & trying to mimic these in flights. More and more airlines placed a lot of emphasis on economy class travelers, as they are tomorrow's business / first class travelers.
Food is not the main reason there are different elements which disturb the food flavors during the flight. While doing Airlines Food Research I came across so many positive changes taken by various airways to serve better to their guests during the flights.
Etihad Airways: They have the inspiration from the world's leading fine dining restaurant . Only the finest ingredients go into making there classic dishes. They have 7 course tasting menu, elegant details with luxurious range of fine bone chinaware cutlery, boutique wine list & signature welcome include Arabic Dates, Coffee of your choice.
Jet Airways: When it comes to service they give their best. On board 12 types of tea around the world which is been handpicked by renowned tea masters is been served. According to individual needs they offer a vast array of special meals.
Qantas Airways: The menu is inspired by Neil Perry Rockpool where passengers can select from three meals plus an exclusive fourth option online using Q- Eat. Refreshment is offered throughout flight every 30 minutes. Dishes are designed to give you a feeling of home & showcase popular cultural dishes of the country you are traveling from.
Asiana Airlines: They provide passengers with high quality inflight meal services. Eco friendly coffee is been served where Asiana airlines uses Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee which is grown without use of pesticide. Asiana Airlines partnered with South Korea most renowned restaurant & culinary professionals to present Korean Royal Court Cuisine.
British Airways: After conducting extensive research British Airways have improved the on board food & drink so that they taste as good in the air as they do on ground. From short haul flights to long haul flights sweet & savoury British food by Marks & Spencer is been served to passengers. In between meal a treat of fresh fruits, sandwiches, salad, island bakery shortbread, and duchy yoghurt is given in business class to passengers. British Airways feature high with emphasis on simplicity, freshness, quality of ingredients.
There are many more Airways apart from these who are serving the best food to their passengers. Today we are living in 21st century an era of technology. Airlines have changed their ways of cooking, adopting the scientific methods, restaurant type food is been served to the passengers, designer crockery reflecting the tradition of the airlines home country make the food more presentable.
Whenever you travel through flight, fly while enjoying the delicious food of the Airplanes. Food World of Sky is Been Changed Now.
By Rida Khan, Airlines Food Researcher