You booked your flight to Budapest and you can't wait to hit the ground running. There's only one thing that stands between you and the thermal baths—that 10-hour plane ride. Whether or not you dread or secretly delight in the food service, our global network has rounded up the best tips to ensure your meal is something you'll actually want to eat.
Order The Vegetarian Meal
Certain things improve with a personal touch: birthday cards, leather bags and steak. So why airline officials thought meat would be a great option to eat at 35,000 feet is beyond us. Since you know you won't be missing out, go ahead and order the vegetarian meal when you book your ticket. It's no SweetGreen salad, but the flavors are just a little brighter and fresher than plane meat—plus you'll eek out some water from the veggies, helping you to stay hydrated and refreshed.
Choose An Airline And Stay Loyal To It For Better Options
Even if you are stuck with the lowest tier, frequent travelers know that having loyalty gets you not only better food, but better service overall. Depending on your loyalty tier you might get extra snacks on the plane, a pick of meals at no extra cost and food options at the pre-departure airport lounge.
Stick To Snacks On The Airplane
Even if you'd scoff at ranch-flavored pretzels under normal circumstances, take them. And ask for seconds if you get hungry mid-flight (or can't stomach the lasagna for dinner). Of course, it's always a good idea to fly with a stash of snacks, either brought from home or picked up at the airport.
Squeeze Lime Over Delta's Biscoff Cookies
Biscoff alone are reason enough to fly Delta, but this trick makes the free cookie even better. Ask your flight attendant for a lime wedge (they have them for drinks service) and drizzle it over the cookie for a pseudo-slice of key lime pie.
Bring Mini Liquor Bottles To Shake Up A DIY Cocktail
Beeline for the liquor samples at Duty Free and unleash your inner mixologist. Most airplanes have seltzer, ginger ale and coke for mixers, so we're not talking shots here. Keep it simple with a G&T, or grab a mini bottle of Campari for a Campari Soda. We're also curious to try "Irish coffee," plane coffee mixed with Bailey's and Kahlua.
Bring Instant Ramen And Ask The Flight Attendant For Hot Water
This will work with any instant food, but ramen is a particular favorite as its saltiness stands up to you altitude-battered palate. When the flight attendants come around with tea and coffee, have them slosh some hot water into your ramen pot. Then dig in—gloating at your foresight/delicious meal is optional, but hard to resist.
Pack Hot Sauce For A Quick Pick-Me Up To Bland Airplane Food
It's a quick fix for adding flavor to bland meals and doesn't go with every meal, but having a few packets of hot sauce at the ready can transform airplane food. Whether it's a pasta dish that's more texture than flavor or some teriyaki chicken that's all sugar, a punch of hot sauce is a welcome addition.
Ask For Lemon Or Lime To Boost Your Sparkling Water
If you'd rather skip dehydrating yourself with alcohol, trade your cocktail for sparkling water with a twist of lemon or lime. Delicious, refreshing and it will help you not feel like crap when you arrive at your destination.
Use Science To Figure Out What To Order
Research has figured out that umami-laden foods tend to best in the air because their potency can stand up to a fatigued palate. When flying, you tend to taste less effectively sweet and sour, but bitter comes through loud and clear.
Skip The Meal Service And Fill Up At The Airport
Easy, but you need to budget time (you know security will take longer than expected). Arrive early and choose your airport indulgence of choice, whether that be a Big Mac, salty pretzel or giant bags of foreign candy. Come airplane meal time you won't even think twice about eating it.
Yeah, we admit, there’s something about plane food we kinda like and sometimes we're eager to just throw out the idea that we don't want it and dig into that perfectly arranged little tray. Because after all, it's the one time we can admit we kinda has a soft spot of chewy, sloppy lasagna or springy, spongy bread.