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Sunday, May 31, 2009

In-Flight Dining - To Bring or Not to Bring Your Food

And why, you might ask, is this a timely topic? Well, today I'm am enroute to the East Coast to start my new job! The flight is approximately 4 and 1/2 hours, so at least one mealtime will hit while I'm onboard. As I seldom fly First or Business Class these days, this is by no means meant as a review of airline cuisine. Rather it is intended for those of us resigned to traveling Coach (and by the way, given the cuts in amenities overall, it's really not that much worse than flying in one of the elite seats)!

I watch so many passengers juggle luggage and briefcases along with a lunch hastily purchased before boarding the plane. I used to think this indicated amazing foresight on their part, but think about it. If the food is hot, by the time you are seated, in the air and able to actually eat it, it is lukewarm at best. If it was cold, again, it is now lukewarm. If it had dressing on it, it's soggy. If it had dressing on the side, it probably spilled while you were jockeying for overhead space. And anything purchased near the gate is likely to cost between $7-$10 once you figure in tax and the higher cost of everything in an airport.

I have become a fan of the snack boxes that many of the airlines now sell on flights that would normally serve meals. They typically cost about $5 and contain some form of crackers, cheese, fruit (i.e. applesauce) and a dessert item. There are usually a couple of varieties to select from and as they are packaged items, they are generally fairly fresh. It's enough food to keep me going without having to juggle a sack along with me (and it's served at the same time as the drinks). To be honest, these snacks are better than just a mini-bag of pretzels or even the old coach meals of pasta with bland tomato sauce. That said, by the time you read this, I will no doubt be ordering my snack box!


  1. That is a surprise to me that you would prefer the airline snack box; I guess I could try them instead of bringing cashews and those delicious apple slices that are crunchy, but dry. They taste just like a real apple if you drink water with them and they weigh nothing. I overpack my purse to add those things as I know they will be gone by the end of the flight. I became a fan of the bloody mary mix during the last flights as it is refreshing and you feel you had veggies.

  2. Actually those are great options too! I hadn't thought of the dried fruit...will try that next flight! Thanks!