How Good and Safe is Your Food in Planes?

Airline industry being a service industry has a great emphasis on customer experience. Air travel has become one of the main transport means for many people. The airline services that can affect passengers’ evaluation towards the airlines are their in-flight services and in-flight meal services and as a result they reserve central element of focus for such companies. In most of the cases it is observed that passengers select airlines that provide the best meals for their travel.

The in-flight food services now are seen as part of marketing strategies in attracting business. The taste, appearance of food, freshness, the way it is served and menu choices are important to the airline’s passengers, especially for the long flights. The good food not only contributes to the prediction of the airline passengers’ levels of satisfaction but also influences passenger re-flying intention.

In-Flight Catering and Kitchen Responsibilities

  • The standardized recipes
  • Food safety from a microbiological perspective
  • Establishing adequate provision for special diets, religions, ethnic meals and vegetarians
  • The capabilities of the flight kitchen, its labor and equipment
  • The cost factor

Steps Taken for the Preparation of Flight Meals in Flight Catering Kitchen

  • Kitchen crew verifies flight meal menu items and special requirements
  • Food items are prepared and cooked
  • Food is packed and portioned
  • Food is cooled down and stored until the safe zone of temperature is achieved
  • Then the food is sorted into in-flight service carts
  • The carts are verified, sealed and stored
  • Once an airplane is ready to be catered, carts are loaded into service trucks
  • The truck is checked for security purposes
  • Once flight crew onboard the aircraft, they double-check if the security seals are ok. The food is then put in airplane ovens to reheat.

Safety and Quality Considerations

Storage

Airplane food is usually prepared on the ground and loaded on the aircraft and stored in special refrigerators for many days. Then the food is heated in convection ovens and served hot.

Cheap Cutlery Affecting Taste

According to experts, the plastic knives and forks we use in flights are of a very cheap quality which affects the taste of the food and makes it worse.

Meals Laden With Calories and Salt

Airlines are not hugely concerned about nutrition. According to them, one meal consumed by the passenger will not make a difference to them out of thousand meals they consume.

How is Airplane Food Kept Safe?

Airplane catering companies have many standards and procedures for food safety and they trace food products by recording what’s cooked, when and how. This way food contamination is prevented and if anything goes wrong it’s easy to find where, in the process, an error might have occurred.

Meals are prepared for about 10 hours before they are served to the passengers. All the meals are cooked on the ground and loaded into an aircraft meal cart. Chicken is fully cooked on the ground at a temperature of about 74 degrees and then streaked to a safe temperature by airline caterers.

The fully cooked food is stored in large refrigerators at 4 degrees. After the boarding, heating process takes place in large airplane convection ovens as open flames and microwaves are not allowed on airplanes. The induction ovens are now in the market already. With these ovens, cooking happens faster and at a lower temperature. 

How to Stay Safe From Food Dangers on Airlines?

Avoiding Access to Alcohol

Many people like to have alcohol on flights because it increases chances of sleep. Access intake of alcohol can bother people sitting around.

Avoiding Coffee

The coffee onboard is prepared using local tap water and tanks where water is stored. It is not cleaned as often as it should be. This encourages the growth of bacteria.

Spicy Food

Spicy food can cause acid reflux which leads to pain and heartburn.

Tap Water

The dark, murky tanks could be encouraging the growth of bacteria and other contaminants. Bottled water can be used instead.

Too Much Sodium

Many people experience swelling in their hands and feet when they fly probably due to lack of movement leading to poor circulation. Eating too much sodium can make this swelling worse.

Tuna Sandwiches        

Tuna sandwiches are too smelly to eat on planes. It will be offensive for the people sitting around.

Dairy Products

Avoid eating dairy products like cottage cheese, yogurt, and ice cream on planes because they are susceptible to spoilage when not kept cold.