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What do you take to eat on a plane?

Sometimes it's TJ's Inca Chips, sometimes it's a large blue Symphony bar, and sometimes, on long trips, it's a whole mini meal (chicken katsu, no sauce).

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  1. If I can get one, I like a Togo's Eatery sandwich.

    1. Best thing is when I plan ahead and have a big, genrous sandwich prepared at a good deli before going to the airport to carry on board. Emergency backup---Larrabee or Cliff bars; a bag of almonds.

      5 Replies
      1. re: itsonlyfood

        The last time we flew my husband and I got sandwiches and chips from our favorite deli. Eating a good meal actually made the flight much more tolerable. We'll definitely be doing this from now on.

        1. re: itsonlyfood

          Last cross country flight I took, the man next to me had a sandwich of pastrami, sweet pickles and mayonnaise that smelled up the entire cabin... I understand a right to enjoy your food, but shouldn't the nausea of fellow passengers be considered?

          1. re: Emme

            I'd rather smell pastrami anyday than some of the other aromas that emanate from some fellow passengers. I can see your point, though.

            1. re: Emme

              I bought a delicious chicken curry sandwich at Harrod's food court before my flight back to the states. Pastrami man has nothing on me.

              1. re: C. Hamster

                It was the horrendous sweet pickle scent contrasting with the mayo-ed pastrami that did my hay fever in!

          2. tee hee
            coming back from Paris a few days ago, I had the simpliest but most delicious carryon lunch of a Le Mixte (why is a simply ham & cheese so incredible when it's bought in Paris?) and a Blood Orange Orangina.

            lately, I've been travelling with Granny Smith apples since I can't get enough water onboard.

            or a slice of the Starbucks gingerbread cake or one of their molassas cookies

            9 Replies
            1. re: orangewasabi

              But now you can't carry an Orangina on board, can you. . .?

              1. re: Covert Ops

                some airports have this weird thing where you can't bring liquids over Xml thru security but you can carry on anything you buy past security. So, at CDG, I couldn't bring my olive tapenade thru security, but I could buy an Orangina by the gate and carry it on.

                1. re: orangewasabi

                  Yeah, it's not like that in the States. You can't even bring on a bottle of water you buy next to the gate. :-(

                  1. re: Covert Ops


                    The application of the rules are so weird.

                    I've had no trouble bringing gateside-bought drinks on in SFO, LGA and Atlanta recently - (as in, in the past 60 days). But in Charlotte, they were searching bags immediately before boarding, same with Dulles.

                    1. re: orangewasabi

                      Once you are through security in the States, you can buy water, et. al. and bring on board. There is a 3-1-1 rule that you can bring individual containers, each under THREE ounces as long as the fit in ONE plastic bag of ONE quart size. Once through security old rules are pretty much in place.

                    2. re: Covert Ops

                      Yes you can. If you buy it past the security screening you can bring it on. I do it all the time.

                2. re: orangewasabi

                  +1 on the ham & cheese in Paris, inexplicable but true.

                  1. re: orangewasabi

                    the mixte is all about the butter, i swear.

                    1. re: thejulia

                      I woulda thought so too, on the butter, but a lot of them didn't have any

                  2. Mixed nuts/Japanese salty snacks; individually-wrapped bite-size chocolate candy bars; snack-size boxes of raisins; bananas; peeled orange/tangerine/clementine sections; occasionally a ham or prosciutto sandwich on a buttered baguette.

                    1. Clif Bars.

                      If I'm feeling ambitious, I make a sandwich of prosciutto and cheese on a baguette, sometimes with tomato. By the time I get to eat it, the cheese has gotten to room temp and is nice and soft. If I'm lucky, my neighbors look at me with envy when I pull it out (or else they think I'm a bit strange).

                      1. If possible, I get a Vietnamese sandwich (banh mi). And I almost always bring an apple.

                        1. I like a Starbucks cream cheese sandwich and a couple of tubes of Wintergreen Certs! I rarely eat aeroplane food - never quite sure what it really is!!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: amandajj

                            This assumes you live in a country that still serves food on airplanes -- more than just a 1oz. bag of pretzels!

                          2. I'm a vegetarian so I won't touch that prepackaged stuff - god knows what's in there! And few of the airports offer anything decent.

                            So I take along tangerines, a bag of mixed nuts, dried fruit, wasabi peas, and dark chocolate, and of course cheese and crackers. If it's a long flight - I'm normally traveling at least 8-10 hours - I take a few soy/protein bars. If I can find a side salad or other veggies somewhere I'm set for the day!

                            1. I rarely eat on a flight because I have some sort of food destination when I arrive :)

                              1. Indiana has a tradition of cafeterias. One of the largest is on our way to the airport. We were taaking an evening flight to Albany, NY and stopped and picked up fried chicken dinners to go. The security people got a bit weirded out when x-raying and saw bones. We just had to say, "Grey Bros fried chicken" and they were fine. There were a number of envious sniffs and looks when we ate our dinner. Fried Chicken, country green beans and mashed potatoes.

                                1. Wow, I guess I must be really unique in that I can actually last for 4 hours or more without eating anything. International flights are another story.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Mutt

                                    Yeah, but I was on a flight that was supposed to get into San Francisco at ~5:30 once, so I planned to go out and get dinner there. For some reason, though, we ended up circling SF for several hours and not landing until 9 PM or so, and by the time we got into the city most places we wanted to eat were closed. Now I ALWAYS bring something to eat in case of a delay.

                                    Usually I bring Clif or Luna bars, or maybe some trail mix from Trader Joe's.

                                  2. Sometimes I buy a box of See's nuts and chews at the airport (really makes you feel like you're on vacation!), or I bring along some Trader Joe's trail mix. They've got a pistachio nut, chocolate and cherry mix I like, and many other variations of gorp.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Seldomsated

                                      My favorite is TJ's Trek Mix (cranberries, almonds, cashews). I could eat a whole bag in a sitting if I'm not paying attention.

                                    2. Depends on where I'm flying from. If I'm flying from home, probably a Boar's Head roast beef and brie sandwich. Coming back from New York, a REAL NY bagel with cream cheese. California? See's chocolates. In addition, always a dried fruit/nut mix.
                                      If, for some reason, I haven't packed something, the best offering I've found at most airports is Starbuck's chicken pesto sandwich. Take extra napkins, though---it's messy!
                                      I ALWAYS bring something to eat---no matter how short the flight is "supposed" to be. It's not unusual these days to get stuck for HOURS on a plane---before your flight even leaves the ground!

                                      1. Just flew back east from LA. Picked up a fantastic made to order panini sandwich from whole foods...deeelicious! just perfect! I'm addicted to their sandwiches. Filled me up for the entire trip.

                                        1. I rarely bring anything to eat onto the plane. I always get to Chicago Midway in sufficient time to have a meal at their new food court which beats ANYTHING I have had on a plane.

                                          1. A muffeleta from Central Grocery.

                                            4 Replies
                                              1. re: zin1953

                                                Oh, YES. You could probably buy two and auction the 2nd one off to great profit after they smell yours!!

                                                Cover your flight expenses!


                                                  1. re: zin1953

                                                    That's not fair. Waaay too good and if you eat if NICE AND SLOW you could probably make it last for about 1.5 hours. What a nice flight that would be.

                                                  2. Usually a peanut butter, honey and banana sandwich on whole wheat, some string cheese, almonds, and one or two pieces of fruit-along w/a liter of water.

                                                    1. Something non-messy and non-stinky. Non-stinky out of respect for the other passengers stuck in the plane with me. It's pretty nauseating to have to smell someone's vinegary vegetable sub or tuna salad wafting around in the stale air of a airplane cabin.

                                                      1. Depending on how long the flight is. If it's between 1-3 hours, I like to stop by the airport Starbucks and pick up a fruit and cheese platter. And although the airlines don't have any stellar wine selections, it's still nice to snack on w/ a glass of cabernet.

                                                        1. Out of SFO, a Darby Dan's special
                                                          out of LA, Zankou chicken and a lot of napkins or a sandwich from Sorrentos
                                                          Out of Chicago, an italian beef or a couple of hot dogs
                                                          New Orleans has to be a muffaletta
                                                          Out of Oakland a Banh mi from whatever joint I'm close to on the way.
                                                          Denver is a vast wasteland
                                                          Washington IAD - wings from the Buffalo Wing Factory.
                                                          Tokyo, various tasty bits from the food hall in the basement of Mitsukoshi
                                                          Bangkok/Hong Kong/Singapore, fresh fruit from the street vendors and all sorts of fun snacks.
                                                          London, meat pies
                                                          Paris, a baguette, cheese and fruit, a mixte and anything else I can lay my hands on. I'm usually a moveable feast.
                                                          Milan, much like Paris but with more candy.

                                                          Dang I miss _some_ parts of working for the airlines....

                                                          1. I bought a dehydrator this past summer, so lately, I've been toting trail mixes and dried fruit, coconut macaroons, and crackers. I used to pack a sandwich, but they can get messy, and sometimes the smell is a bit strong. (I'm a mustard eater, and last time I got a dirty look when I unwrapped my turkey and swiss. Maybe he was just jealous!)

                                                            1. Domestic flights? Nothing. We can't even take the starbucks coffee or a bottle of water anymore...

                                                              International flights? See my post on the thread on leftovers for details. But the gist of it is, great leftovers (preferably home made).

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: mimika

                                                                Hi, I just traveled domestic and although you can't bring liquid before security check point, you can bring liquid that is purchased after. So inside the checkpoint, there should always be a starbucks (as there is always a starbucks no matter where you are...)

                                                                1. re: kobetobiko

                                                                  Actually, I was surprised to find there wasn't a Starbucks in sight in Denver International recently! Seattle's Best, but no Star$$. Not that I'm bothered either way... it just surprised the heck out of me. Correct me if I'm wrong...

                                                                  1. re: allegro805

                                                                    Seatte's Best was purchased by Starbucks, so it's pretty much the same thing.

                                                              2. A BitOHoney bar (I get the whole bars from the Vermont Country Store) which satisfies my sweet tooth, my need to gnaw nervously, and helps my inner ears to stay semi-okay.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: thegolferbitch

                                                                  Too bad they're softer than they used to be. Pulled out too many people's fillings, I guess. But bummer for those of us who are filling-free and loved the really sticky stuff!

                                                                2. I bring 'fancy' trail mix I make from picking up bulk stuff at my local farm stand... Like last time from LA to Boston a mix made of Macademia Nuts, Dried Figs, Nori Peanuts, and REAL M&Ms (I hate those candy coated chocolate bits they put in most trail mixes! :P)

                                                                  I tend to want to arrive a little hungry because then I can almost immediately have an excuse to go try something YUMMY from the city we are at! :)


                                                                  1. Clementines in season and Snyder's pretzel sandwiches, usually the cheddar ones. Nowadays, going to Phoenix from Chicago is usually a 6-8 hour ordeal, so food is always needed. Last time we were going to be on the plane at dinner time, so we got Subway sandwiches on the way to the airport (we don't have many good delis). No chicken or tuna, though!

                                                                    I don't worry about the smell; it seems like everybody's bringing something smelly. I really hate it when people bring airport McDonald's on the plane--I'd rather smell your curry chicken or pesto than McDonald's!

                                                                    1. Just flew cross-county and back for the holidays with my family of 4. Between the time when we arrived at the airport and arrival at our destination airport it was about 7 hours over the dinner hour, and there was no dinner served on the plane, so had to bring food. We bought water after the security checkpoint; it's OK to bring that on the plane. Here's what I brought (based largely on what we had at home): On the way there: onigiri (Japanese rice balls, wrapped individually in plastic wrap with the cut nori sheets in a separate bag), bananas, cookies, chocolate-dipped pretzel rods. On top of that, we bought some of the lame United Airlines food offerings. On the way back: inari sushi (rice in tofu pockets) and california rolls, provided by my very nice aunt, crackers, slices of cheese and summer sausage, apples, chocolate. I am also a fan of Trader Joe's trail mixes for plane travel. Random tip: for my kids (3 and 6) I always bring empty flip-top or sippy cups and plastic straws so they don't have to deal with the small and easily spilled plastic cups that the airlines provide.

                                                                      1. I usually stock up on sandwiches and bread buns from a chinese bakery before a trip. You never know how long a flight will be delayed and they never give you enough food on the plane even if they do provide food.

                                                                        1. There are some insanely delicious instant noodles from Japan and Taiwan and it best to get the cup versions rather than the packets. The beef instant noodle soups in Taiwan almost always come with seasoning packets that have real beef in them (maybe dehydrated but tastes like the real thing once cooked). There's a brand of instant noodle from Japan that is dan dan noodle flavored but it tastes so real, even down to the peanut sauce, minced "meat" (not real meat), and the shanghainese veg.

                                                                          From Taiwan, any modern bakery will have a ton of delicious options, and any Chinese bakery as well for small snacks.

                                                                          1. Years ago, when I regularly travelled between NY and LA, I always stopped at a certain Ray's Pizza and picked up 2 large pies to go - one hot, one cold. The hot one was partly consumed on the plane and the rest, along with the cold one, brought home to share with my roommate.
                                                                            Talk about jealous passengers!

                                                                            1. Will they let you bring a store-bought bento box through security and eventually onboard? Or will you be shanghaied as a "Tempura Terrorist"?

                                                                              1. I usually bring a bag of baby carrots and some low-fat Babybel cheese.

                                                                                Sometimes, though, only a muffin will do. I have to plan those ahead because airport muffins suck.

                                                                                1. When I'm flying from home, I usually make scones and cookies the day before. I can usually bring some hard cheese (acceptable to most customs agents) and some honey (use that 3oz container to get it through security). I'll also bring my own tea bags. I'll bring some hard candies just in case. I buy water once I'm past security.

                                                                                  When I'm flying back (and I don't have the luxury of a kitchen), I usually carb-load before the flight and grab some form of bread from a bakery to take on the flight with me. Tea bags. I buy water (again) once I'm through security.

                                                                                  1. I like the Starbucks turkey-pesto-cranberry sandwich on a baggette. It has a great flavor and I have found that the airport versions, at least in SAN DIEGO, do not add mayo. I would check about the mayo when you order it. I once went to a corner Starbucks, and the samdwich did have mayo.

                                                                                    1. Chocolate of any kind, simply because chocolate makes anything better. TJs Sweet & Salty Mix, and an apple & cheese sandwich round it out on a long flight. I'd rather have a crying baby and a kicking toddler than smell bad food on a plane, bleh!

                                                                                      1. Spicy tuna bowl...
                                                                                        There is no smell.