Take flight with your own food options

I have been flying a lot lately. As much as I love traveling in an aerodynamic, gravity-defying machine used to transport people, I am not a fan of all the crazy rules and regulations that are mandated. More than anything, what is the deal with the expensive airport food — or, if you’re on a long international flight, what is up with the meals they provide?

This past summer, I had the opportunity to go to Japan. Because I was on a 13-hour flight, I not only made the poor decision to stay awake the entire flight, but I also received lunch and dinner, which was not so appetizing. But food is food, I guess — for that I am grateful.

I could not help but notice the selection and the options available for those who have dietary needs — what if one of the passengers was vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free? I know that there were vegetarian options, but what I thought was funny was the presentation: Airplane food looks like cafeteria food and Lunchables had a baby.

I distinctively remember my dinner from my flight: The airline gave two options, chicken or beef teriyaki. My immediate thought was, “Oh great, which one is actually closer to being the real thing?”

I went for it and picked beef, thinking that I needed some red meat in my life when in reality, the meat was seemingly squishy and fuzzy — but I’m still alive, so it could not have been that bad. The beef teriyaki was a complete meal served with a mini green salad and a bread roll that had the consistency of plastic. We got a dessert, though I cannot remember what kind, and also a few condiments to make the passengers feel right at home — I guess that is what we get when we fly economy.

Interstate air travel is typically pretty short. For example, a flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco only allows the stewardesses an hour to get everyone his or her beverage of choice and two complimentary mini bags of lightly salted peanuts — yum. I like to spice things up on my flights and usually order a classy, non-alcoholic beverage such as ginger ale and also pray that they have those Biscoff cookies — I can live off of those things.

Following that statement, we can’t have it all when flying economy, but at least we get something.

Airports have a way of making me feel very apprehensive if I, by chance, have food in my possession; I never know whether I could bring my delectables into the terminal or just throw them away and waste food like all of the wasted plastic water bottles that are confiscated everyday. Luckily, there are solutions to every problem and for this I thank the Huffington Post and also The New York Times for some helpful tidbits of information as well as some tasty recipes to make your travel experience a pleasant one.

Michelle Higgins of The New York Times wrote a column about how we should “Pack a Picnic” for flights — a very clever idea indeed. Her piece basically touched upon all of the ways you can preserve and reheat food in an airport terminal or on your flight. Seemingly, whether the food is frozen, raw or old makes for very good food to eat on your trip, but I think the companies of the airplanes figured that out already.

Eating before your flight is always helpful, but for me, I always seem to get hungry during the flight. It’s almost like the lack of gravity eliminates the food from my stomach and uses it as fuel to help get the plane to its given location.

The Huffington Post nailed it when they published a list of do-it-yourself airplane food that can be taken on the plane. I love its assortment of nuts and grains, vegetables and fruits that can be brought on board. On my last flight, I had a large and delicious turkey and avocado sub in my possession but scarfed it down before I got to the airport — that was a mistake, because I wasn’t hungry and I could have brought it with me to the terminal.

Now you know some facts. You can bring food onboard, just no bottles containing any kind of liquid. I encourage you to save your money and like Michelle Higgins said, pack a picnic. But be forewarned — you could make people jealous.


Alegra Hueso is a sophomore majoring in creative writing.  Her column, “In Love With the Edible,” runs every other Wednesday.