Why Are Menu Options Limited on Airplanes?

by Alicia Chinatomby

Passengers on airplanes like to eat and drink. That’s a fact. Whether they’re hungry, or thirsty or merely passing the time, people are always interested in checking out menu options during their flight.

But as we all know, in-flight meals are no longer free. And snack options vary widely from airline to airline. Passengers never truly know what to expect during their trip.

For a long time, the airline industry has been stingy with its onboard refreshments. But earlier this year, American Airlines and United Airlines started giving out free snacks again. Customer satisfaction was important, they reasoned. Providing free (and yummy) snacks during flights was a good way to attract repeat patrons.

But that’s no surprise. United and American have always spent more money on their passengers than other airlines. According to a recent article in Condé Nast Traveler, American spent an average of $6.43 per passenger while United spent $6.08. In comparison, most airlines spent an average of $3.61.

Airline cuisine is hardly comparable to 5-star restaurants. But over the years, people have nonetheless developed a taste for it. For example, because of the altered air pressure in the cabin, passengers invariably hanker for acidity and saltiness in their food. Airline caters know that our taste buds adjust to being 25,000 feet in the air.

Also: keep in mind that there’s no cooking on airplanes. The preparation is all done off-site and stored in special hoppers to stay fresh. Most planes don’t even have a microwave. Click here for more hidden secrets of airplane food.

Eating options are limited on airplanes, but consider this: first class and business class passengers are paying big bucks for the food and services they receive. And these preferred customers are often jealous of the snacks being handed out in coach. That’s a delicious irony that we can all appreciate.

Alicia is a publishing professional who recently moved to LA. She covers entertainment, lifestyle and living in a new city. Her writing has appeared in India.com.

Thanks for sharing!

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