I've been reading reviews of airline food on Airlinemeals.net. I have no particular love of airline food, as a childhood punctuated by grueling, 20-hour economy-class flights has sort of turned me off air travel forever. But what's most fascinating about the site is not the enormous variety of microwaved frozen pastiches of ethnic fare, it's the tendency of reviewers to leave stories about their flight experiences in their reviews and the details in their photos. Especially the difficult, nausea-inducing, engine-rattling long-haul trans-continental/trans-oceanic flights--possibly the only remaining form of consumer transportation that feels more like a journey, as our ancestors understood it, than a mere commute.
By design, airlinemeals.net doesn't let you link to specific reviews, so alas. Search "pilot," "turbulence," "miserable," "delightful," "tired," and "red-eye" and you'll see what I mean. Also advanced search username "crew member" for commentary from the long-suffering flight attendants who have to live off this stuff.
ON JANUARY 21, 2009, FLIGHT UNITED AIRLINES 869 DEPARTED FROM LA GUARDIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT FOR ITS FATEFUL MAIDEN VOYAGE. LITTLE DID THE 200 PASSENGERS AND CREW ABOARD KNOW THAT THE GALLEY WAS OUT OF SALTED PEANUTS. NO STARS
While it's well understood that the quality of economy class meals has fluctuated violently since the 1960s (most recently taking a nosedive after 9/11), holy shit first class meals were so much better when no one could afford to fly first class. Not that the TGI Fridays-style first class meals served on long-hauls by American carriers today don't look pretty good already (not that I know firsthand; I've never had one), but damn. These are meals I used to think were impractical to serve on anything smaller than a train. Real silverware? Little bottles of champagne, poured in logo-emblazoned glasses weighted to defeat turbulence? Authentic Swiss Emmantaler cheese? Pate? Caviar? Lobster? Made-to-order chateaubriand, served on real silver, carved by your seat by the flight attendant? Fuck you, terrorism.