The real reason why inflight meals taste so bad

Air India’s recent announcement to serve only vegetarian food to coach passengers in its domestic flights has the airline company drenching in a shower of negative criticism, and has non-vegetarians fearing that if they choose to travel in one of its flights they will be served a gag-inducing meal, because no meat. However, this debate brings to attention a universal truth, whether vegetarian or not – ALL FOOD SERVED ON FLIGHTS ARE TERRIBLE.

You can add a chicken breast or replace it with a tinda, it’s not going to solve the problem. Here are some of the reasons why inflight meals are unpalatable – and surprisingly it’s not entirely the food which is at fault!

It’s okay to serve 3 day old food 

Most meals are made between 12 and 72 hours ahead of the time you take a bite out of it. Professor Peter Jones (former professor of travel catering from Surrey University) says, “It can be kept in a chilled stage for five days under the internationally recognised food hygiene standards.”

The process of preparing the food allows for them to chilled to 5°C so they can be easily microwaved up in the air.

Your tea/coffee? Probably not made out of bottled water

They’ll use the water that is available to drink on the flight. Add to that the fact water boils at 90C in the air your cup of tea might make it taste a bit strange.

The aircraft itself is at fault

Which also means the problem lies in the passenger him/herself, so we can all stop complaining. An altitude of 35,000 feet sees humidity in the cabin drop to 12% which affects the aroma of food while the low air pressure reduces the taste of sweet and salty, making it taste different from what it would at  ground level.

Here’s the part where non-vegetarians who are upset with Air India’s move to exclusively serve vegetarian meals should take heart- the food worst affected by high altitude is chicken anyway. The other two items worst affected happen to be light Italian and French wines which lose their subtle flavours and taste bitter. But that’s hardly a concern for passengers in domestic flights.

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