As the holiday season comes to an end and of which hundreds of Irish families have decedent upon European & international destinations, I can’t help wondering the amount of food that has been eaten 40,000 feet above us in the clouds. 

We all know that when travelling First Class or Business Class we pay for extra luxury if that’s for space & service, but what also comes with this is premium top quality food.

As a travelling person that has come to and from the other side of the world over the years I do find that when booking my ticket my choice of airline does depend on the food that will be presented before me on my economy airfare, after all, 28 or so hours in a small area on a plane you might as well look forward to something apart from the latest movies, the person snoring next to you & the often load vacuum sound of flushing aeroplane toilets. 

The last time I travelled to New Zealand from Ireland & back I chose Malaysian Airways for the reason as I love my curries but also they serve their local food that represents their culture or what I feel is close as they can get to their own food miles up in the air.

These meals are prepared by specialist airline catering service companies and prepared on the ground before take-off. As a rule, these meals are made 10 hours before consumption with chicken & steak dishes being cooked 30% to 60% to done before take-off with the final cooking process finished on-board. Ounce cooked these dishes are blast chilled then put in fridges and placed near their specific gate lounge which at this stage are not edible. When on the plane your meal is placed into a convection oven meaning heat is pushed into the food that gives faster cooking process but lower temperatures.

The strict hygiene production & food safety is paramount when it comes to airline food & in my opinion taste, texture & presentation comes secondary but as a whole, a meal, either way, is provided onboard your flight.  

You could argue that food on your flight is tasteless & not great food, but take into account the cabin pressure that affects your palate. Through on flight food testing the lack of humidity dries your nose, and as a plane takes off the change in pressure numbs one-third of your taste buds. 

Portion control also is a big part of airline food where meals & menus are planned a year in advance with the right amount of cut tomatoes in the salad & same weight of rice for each fish dish, realising an airline could save 30,000 euro per year by taking out one olive per dish based on 365 day travel per year.   

As the world moves forward into a world of dietary requirements including Allergens, Celiac’s & heathier eating the airline catering companies  can produce specially made meals for passengers Some of the more common examples include:

/ Infant and baby meals/ children’s meals, containing foods that children will enjoy such as baked beans, mini-hamburgers and hot dogs

/ Medical diets/ including low/high fibre, low fat/cholesterol, diabetic, peanut-free, non-lactose, low salt/sodium, low-purine, low-calorie, low-protein, bland (non-spicy) and gluten-free meals.

/ Religious diets/ kosher, halal, and Hindu, Buddhist and Jain vegetarian (sometimes termed Asian vegetarian) meals.

/ Vegetarian and vegan meals/ some airlines just serve vegan meals to cover both vegetarian diets.

I have to say personally I don’t really expect much from an airline meal but do understand the efforts made to provide a substantial meal for ticket holders

Even though a meal is a meal on a plane, I think flying business class or first class would be my preferred class of travel if only for the food. Happy Travels.

Try my Beef Rogan Josh Curry Recipe, It’s Gluten-Free & quite easy to prepare.

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