Matt Santos ’17

“What’s the Deal with Airline Food?”

This joke has been told, and heard, so many times it has become cliche.  However, not everybody knows its origin.  When it was first introduced by renowned comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, it was hilarious for its originality and truth, an example of a new kind of comedy–observational humor–that everyone related to.  But now, everybody knows the punchline: airline food sucks; unless, of course, you fly Emirates, where every passenger gets at least five courses of delicious food, plus seven courses if they fly first class.  But seriously, why do so many people hate airline food?  What makes it different?  

Science provides answers.

Since planes fly into the clouds, thousands of feet above the ground, they are designed to be artificially pressurized to prevent people from passing out–this is cabin pressure. The higher the plane flies, the lower amount of oxygen will be present in a passenger’s bloodstream. In these circumstances, humans are more likely to lose consciousness. That’s why we need to know how to put on our oxygen masks!  Despite saving your life, the cabin pressure has a negative effect: it numbs the taste buds.  In addition, since cabins reuse air, the food becomes dry due to low humidity. It also dries noses, which further hinders one’s ability to taste. Then when you add cheap ingredients, you get–bad airline food.