- The aviation industry is preparing for the current coronavirus pandemic by restricting its food and beverage offerings.
- In-flight service on many flights has either been suspended or is limited to prepackaged meals.
- Insider spoke to two food and travel bloggers who shared some of the best food and drink options for getting yourself on board, whether you’re on a short-haul or long-haul flight.
- The travel experts recommend creating your own “sausage board” from various snacks that you can add depending on the duration of the flight.
- If you don’t choose to bring your own food on board, the experts recommend bringing hot sauce or other condiments to enhance the airplane food you serve.
- You can find more stories on the Insider homepage.
As the aviation industry continues to adjust to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the future of in-flight meals looks increasingly uncertain.
Dozens of airlines have to adjust their food and drink programs several times, regardless of whether they only offer passengers prepackaged meals or stop the catering service on their flights entirely.
For example, Delta announced that, other than small “snack bags” containing cookies, cheese crackers, bottled water and a hand sanitizer, they would not sell any additional groceries on any of their short or medium haul flights. The drinks are only single mineral water. Plastic cups, ice cream, and glassware are also removed.
“In accordance with the Delta Care Standard, our goal is to serve all of our food and beverage offerings as safely as possible – both for our customers and for our employees,” said Allison Ausband, senior vice president of In-Flight Service at Delta. to insider in an email. “Our changes are an attempt to reduce the physical touch points on board.”
Delta isn’t the only company making these changes. United Airlines also offers “all-in-one” byy bags, while Southwest has temporarily suspended all on-board beverage and food services and JetBlue only maintains “pre-sealed snack bags and meals”.
To avoid the risk of infection while eating during a flight, we spoke to two travel and food bloggers to find out which meals and snacks you can bring on board instead as good substitutes for in-flight meals.
Short haul flights (under 900 miles)
For short haul flights, it is easy to buy groceries at the airport, but it can also be very expensive. A much easier, and also cheaper, option is to do some snacks in your home pantry before heading to the airport.
“I like to think of it as a picnic or a kind of sausage board,” Rachelle Lucas, who runs the popular food and travel blog The Travel Bite, told Insider. “You want things that you don’t have to refrigerate, that are shelf-stable, and then you want things that offer you a little variety.”
Lucas recommends snacks like crackers, dried fruits, mixed nuts, and of course some chocolate. Fresh fruit is also a great option as long as you eat it before you get to your destination.
Rachelle Lucas recommends bringing various snacks on board, including chocolate, fresh fruit, and crackers.
Rachelle Lucas / The Travel Bite
For drinks, Lucas suggests bringing a water bottle on board. “Bring an empty water bottle and fill it as soon as you’re done. Some people bring flavor enhancers as well, I usually bring my own tea as well.”
However, if you plan to introduce other fluids, be careful not to take them away for safety. “The only thing you want to avoid is anything that could get stuck in security, so no liquid or gel,” said Lucas. “Unless you can get a little tub of it. I know I’ve had a little tub of Nutella before, peanut butter is great, and sometimes I bring almond butter in little squeeze packs too.”
Medium haul flights (up to 2,500 miles)
The charcuterie board rule for short haul flights also applies to medium haul flights, with the exception of a few other snacks.
That could be anything you want, Lucas said, be it granola bars, popcorn, or a bag of french fries. “It’s great to have these snacks with you because you don’t have to wait to eat. Once you’ve settled in with your movie or book, you’ll have your snacks ready.” However, Lucas warns against bringing “anything with vinegar, anything with fish or anything fatty” on board. “Bringing a greasy burger is probably not a good idea,” she said.
Long haul / international flights
Eating on long haul flights becomes much more difficult. Airlines have announced that they will continue to offer groceries, but most of it is prepackaged and – in business or prime cabins – served on a single tray rather than in courses.
If you want to avoid airplane food, Lucas recommends making your own sandwich (s) along with all of your other additional picnic snacks. Healthier alternatives could also be a delicious homemade salad or even a pre-made salad bought at the airport.
“I try to avoid anything heavy like pasta or cheese because I try to eat as lightly as possible during a flight,” said Lucas. “Another tip, instead of putting salt on things, is to put lemon juice on them to improve the taste, as your taste buds will change at a certain level and you get bloated if you have too much salt … lemon juice usually is better. “”
If you have concerns about touching food with your hands, Lucas recommends eating your sandwich by holding the wrapper or bringing a spork. Just be careful about bringing other types of cutlery as you don’t want it to be taken away for safety reasons.
“For any other snack you can bring a small toothpick instead,” said Lucas.
If you don’t want to bring food on board, there are other ways to spice things up
If you don’t want to bring your own food, you can always increase what has already been served to you, according to Kat Odell, food and travel journalist.
“Be sure to bring your own hot sauce or other condiments that can enhance what’s served on the plane,” Odell told Insider. “I’m trying to chop a meal: so how can I deconstruct what’s being served to me to make it healthier? I’m going to scrape the sauce off the ingredients so the veggies are simple and then add the hot sauce, sea salt, or the lemon wedge a drink to flavor the ingredients. “
For drinks, Odell says it shouldn’t be equipped with just water: “I always have kettl teas in my travel bag and instant coffee from Verve in LA.” For water, Odell also recommends sticking to still water, as carbonated water will make you feel bloated at high altitudes.
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