Reader Voices: Is Free Airline Food Worth Saving?

Passengers around the U.S. have bemoaned the loss of free meals on domestic flights. Continental, the last major carrier to offer food at no charge, will stop serving this fall. But is the food really something you’d want to eat? When asked what their worst airline meal ever had been, followers of SmarterTravel on Twitter responded with some pretty unappetizing dishes that seem to suggest airplane food should be permanently grounded.

France may be home to some of the best cuisine in the world, but their flagship carrier didn’t impress @LandLopers, who said the worst meal he ever had was “an awful scallop creation on Air France. Copious amounts of brandy seemed to rectify the scallop disaster though.” I think it’s safe to say that mollusks don’t belong in the sky. Like Proust and his madeleine, @bigtravellittle must have been transported back to middle school after eating “the mystery meat they call breaded chicken sandwich on Continental.”

Other tweeters reveal that you can’t always trust your eyes, as @mollsiebee found out on a Sri Lankan Airlines flight. Despite a fancy glass and deceivingly appetizing foods, her worst meal consisted of “dried out carrot puree in a brittle tortilla. I think the yellow thing was fruitcake? [It] tasted like hand sanitizer.”

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Of course, sometimes it is best to trust your senses before eating, as @cacrow2003 testifies about her worst meal, which was “something totally unidentifiable, [and] covered in mayonnaise on an LOT flight. [It] smelled bad, too.” LOT was also the distributor of “some strange ‘sandwich’ of sorts” that @brandonsd was served. They’re not the only airline to serve unrecognizable gourmet, as @vp1980 tweets, the “worst airline food has to be Alitalia—half a stalk of soggy asparagus, couple of small onions, and something else equally bad.” I’m not sure why an airline would serve inflight onions (or who would want to sit next to the passenger who ate them), but at least she could identify them.

Sometimes it helps to look on the bright side, like @heliyes, who might as well have been traveling with a famous author on a flight “back in the early 80s [where] we had green ham and eggs—ick.” And perhaps some passengers still yearn for the days when airline food would tempt your stomach, if not your taste buds. The Cheese Nips and peanuts served on Southwest “may not be the worst, but it was definitely the least filling,” says @jaykent.

What’s the worst meal you’ve ever had on a flight? Do you wish the airlines would still serve meals onboard? Leave a message in the comments section below!

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