Only a few years ago a passenger on a three-hour flight could expect some semblance to service and edible food.
Since 9/11, airlines have lost considerable amounts of money due to millions of potential passengers switching to other means of transportation. This is mainly the result of very long and expensive checks to ensure that terrorists do not get a chance to board. But many passengers also strenuously object that service and food quality have hit rock bottom.
Now some airlines serve pretzels and soft drinks, and others resort to “wraps of unidentifiable” foods that taste and feel like sawdust. Some even experiment with prepaid food. What is next?
American airlines never served food of acceptable quality, even on overseas flights in economy class. First class passengers are always pampered with attentive service and acceptable food quality, but the price differential far exceeds the value of additional service.
A good friend of mine suggests that one would be better off ordering a gourmet food basket from a gourmet shop, and enjoy that instead of the standard food during a long haul flight. If flying economy class make sure you book another seat in the middle to have enough space.
Air Canada, to its credit serves food on three-hour flights. There is a choice between pasta and some kind of chicken, but no one seems to have given any thought on how one eats such things as noodles in a very restricted seat.
Airline menu planners seem to have no idea about the pitch of seats and never think of the invading bulge factor into the daily lives of many North Americans.
During a recent flight, my neighbour looked like a “gorilla” spreading well into my “airspace”. It was suffocating. Imagine eating spaghetti under such conditions.
European airlines seem to have given more thought about the food. Their food trays are, generally, presented in a more appealing fashion and tastes acceptable at least, but regardless, one course has been cut and the so called salads show oxidized ends, a sign of sloppy preparation and advanced preparation many more hours than necessary.
In addition, the food served is overcooked, simply because catering companies prepare the food as though it would be consumed immediately. Of course it is kept hot for hour, in the galley and subjected to a final blast of heat just before service. Overcooking results in mushy, lumpy looking vegetables, and denatured protein in meat. A
little attention to detail would help serve much more appealing food, and an opportunity to select dishes more suitable for reheating.
There is nothing wrong with a folded pizza aka calzone, or similarly thin dough stuffed with properly cooked and seasoned shredded vegetable and meat.
Frequent fliers know the poor quality of food and frequently order vegetarian or kosher meals, which require more work and more expensive. Airline executives seem to be oblivious of this.
It seems that many North American airlines think to be in the transportation business exclusively, in reality they must deliver a bundle of services including cheerful service on the phone, during check-in, in the
aircraft efficient and friendly service, food of acceptable quality, timely departure and arrival, and safety. Now practically no American airline serving North American destinations serve food, except maybe pretzels, but sells sandwiches if you order in advance.
Of late I have been taking sandwiches on board and refusing the food offered!
Even the Aeroflot, legendary for its surely service and cold chicken has changed; now offering cheerful service, much improved food, and comfortable seats.
Singapore Airline, Emirates, and Ittihad are successful because their management know the impotence of fulfilling the needs of passengers.