A simple trick to make airplane food taste better

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Airplane food has its share of critics – mostly harsh – but there’s a clever professor (is that a tautology?) who reckons he knows how to make nasty airline food taste a little better.

It’s fairly common knowledge that airplane cabin pressure and dry air dulls sensory perception – and this includes taste. But recent studies have also revealed that the constant thrumming noise of airplane engines also deadens our perceptions of sweetness and enhances reception of savoury flavours.

Professor Charles Spence, author of Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating – that clever professor we were talking about earlier – thinks these simple tips will help to enhance your sense of taste (for better or worse).

“Donning a pair of noise-cancelling headphones could actually be one of the simplest ways in which to make food and drink taste better at altitude.”

Other chefs believe that listening to soundscapes containing lots of tinkling and high-pitched notes may also accentuate our perception of sweetness. These soundscapes could potentially be delivered via movie soundtrack on one of the onboard films.

Although Prof Spence may disagree. He says that you should press pause on your movie and focus on the food you’re eating (again, for better or worse).

Says the professor: “According to ground-based research you ought to find that you enjoy your food a little more while, at the same time, find yourself satisfied with less of it.”

What’s your trick for making airplane food taste better? Or do you just grin and bear it? Or perhaps you enjoy it? Can you recommend an airline with good food onboard?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca


Total Comments: 4
  1. 0

    Possibly the best food that I have had recently -read “last 2 years” in Economy, the only class that I can afford, was on Cathay Pacific. Recommend them for service and food.

  2. 0

    I make food taste better on flights by taking my own picnic with me. Once upon a time the food was great on planes.

    I do wear noise cancelling headphones as well. I haven’t had a decent in flight meal for years so I just take my own food with me.

    Keep it non messy and not smelly and the staff don’t mind. You’ll sometimes get an extra drink or an ice cream or something from them.

  3. 0

    I order vegan meals. They are prepared fresh so are usually more nutritious and tasty, and the special meals always get served first!

  4. 0

    drink plenty of the free red wine, it’s amazing (or not) that the more tiddly you are the much better the food tastes.



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