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what to bring on a 12 hour flight

I travel on international flight 3 times a year,it take me 12 -14 hours to get to taiwan, and I hate airplane food, any suggestion what to bring so I don't have to eat airplane food

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  1. In the past, I would say dried and fresh fruits, nuts, chocolates,crackers,non offensive type cheese, and granola bars. With restrictions on food items now on flights, I do not know if these items are allowed. Last month I was only allowed food I had purchased in the secured section of the airport including beverage from airport also. Perhaps, you can contact airline and ask for special menus they may have-kosher, vegetarian- which may appeal to you.

    1 Reply
    1. re: foodseek

      Trail Mix is still good to go...

    2. i'd bring bottled water, oranges, chocolate brownie clif bars, hand wipes, and lip balm :D i agree with foodseek, tho..check first to see what you can bring..its seems regulations change daily and are enforced differently depending on the city.

      24 Replies
      1. re: winedubar

        Bottled water is still out. I flew yesterday and watched as people's bottled drinks were confiscated by the TSA at the metal detectors. Of course you could buy the same drinks at the newsstand on the other side for 3x the price...

        The suggestion of checking with TSA before you fly is a good idea. Since I was flying both ways the same day I checked with TSA when I got in as to what I could bring on my return flight. Deli sandwiches, burgers, fries, even packets of ketchup and mustard were allowed.

        1. re: PapaT

          you are KIDDING...sorry - i didn't realize water was still out....my apologies for suggesting that at first.

          flying is such a chore any more...

          1. re: winedubar

            You can still bring bottled water onto the plane you just can NOT bring it through security. You need to buy it at one of the stores after you and your baggage are checked and screened.

            1. re: jfood

              OR fill an empty bottle after you pass through security!!

              When I took a flight out of St. Louis last month, I brought my empty water bottle (bicycle-type) to the airport, cleared security, partially filled it at a water fountain, and then gulped it down as I stood in line to get on the plane. . . only to have the airline employee tell me that I could bring the bottle with water on board!!
              Alas, I didn't have time to run back to the fountain for a refill.
              I am still annoyed I can't bring a bottle of frozen water, i.e. ice, with me.

              1. re: p.j.

                I don't think any airline has yet gotten so chintzy that they won't GIVE you all the bottled water you want onboard.

                1. re: Gary Soup

                  My requests for a bottle not during their beverage runs up aisles have been ignored.

                  1. re: Gary Soup

                    They will pour you cups in coach but generally will only give you bottles in Business or First.

                    1. re: BobB

                      We flew on Delta in April and I asked for a bottle of water on my way into the plane as I passed a steward and was handed one. No charge no fuss.

                    2. re: Gary Soup

                      Sorry GS but Ait Chintzy is in full swing. It is rare that a bottle hits the tray table in coach in the US. There is one but I can;t figure which flight I was given one of those cute little bottles. I normally go for a can of apple juice.

                      1. re: jfood

                        American actually trys to sell you a bottle now for $3!! Otherwise it's a dixie cup full every 2-3 hours.

                        I bring a sports bottle as well and fill it after security.

                        1. re: jfood

                          For one thing, the OP is travelling to Taiwan, not domestically. Lots more free stuff on international flights. Second, my point was that airlines serve bottled water (whether they give you a whole small bottle or not) which is probably preferable to water from the water fountain in the departure lounge. And a trip to the galley at a slack time probably can get your carry-on bottle filled.

                          1. re: Gary Soup

                            Yup, international get better service and usually you can see the large bottle they pour into the cup.

                            There is absolutely NO way I would fill a sports bottle from a water fountain. I would not touch a water fountain in any airport nor fill it in the rest room.

                            Buy a bottle of water at a kiosk or drink on the plane. Chances of getting ill from that route much less than the water fountain route.

                            Has anyone asked the flight attendent to fill the sports bottle on the beverage service?

                            1. re: jfood

                              Yes, I have had the flight attendent fill my sports bottle from her big bottle of water. Well, 1/2 way, I didn't want to hog all the water. I received more on the 2nd pass of the beverage cart. I have also had them put in ice as well, although I usually just request a cup of ice so they don't have to spend the time pouring it in the bottle.
                              The problem is that one has to wait for the beverage cart. And while the beverage cart is in use elsewhere in the cabin, there is no one to beg water from in the galley. .

                              Personally, in 55+ years, I have never gotten sick from drinking water from a water fountain. The water is coming from a municipally treated water system. I use my elbow, forearm, or back of a knuckle to push the button to make the fountain work. I refuse to pay $2-5 for a bottle of water when a fountain is available in the U.S.A. or Canada, etc.

                              1. re: p.j.

                                I agree; I fill up at water fountains and bathrooms all the time and have never been sick. Plus, bottled water is very bad for the environment (the process wastes a lot of water, the bottles are often not recycled, and the pollution caused by shipping all that water) and there are studies being done that question the safety of PET bottles. It seems that there's concern about the plastic breaking down and releasing toxins into the water much sooner than previously believed.

                                Fill up a safe, reusable sports bottle everytime!

                                1. re: christinea

                                  just a small correction that the process of desalinating water does not waste any water. the non-used water is returned to where it came from

                            2. re: Gary Soup

                              For what is worth the last time I fly international (DC to Cancun) not only was it no water bottles in coach, it was also no beverage service. The stewardness announced that there was water in the back of the plane and to help ourselves. Of course first class still had water bottles. I would expect that on longer flights the airlines continue to provide beverages.

                              Whatever you bring on the plane, please be considerate and make sure it's not smelly. Planes are so crowded and confining. It is unreasonable to subject your seatmates to strong/unpleasant aromas, especially on a .12 hour flight.

                              1. re: viperlush

                                I think this would be better anyways, if you filled up your own water bottle, you would not have to feel bad asking for as much water as you want, and it gives you a chance get up and stretch your legs.

                                1. re: viperlush

                                  Viper -- I am VERY curious ... which airline was this? NO beverage service? Im shocked. I do agree with your no smelly food advice. But no matter what you bring along, its going to annoy someone! Too crunchy, etc.

                                  1. re: viperlush

                                    DC to Cancun may technically be international but it isn't a long-haul international flight. It is 3 hrs to Miami, 90 minutes to Cancun. On the long-haul international flights, you not only get beverages several times, but the galleys are essentially open and all you have to do is walk back and ask for something. The crews on these flights are always great and always accomodating. And btw, Cancun is NOT international. It may be on Mexican soil, but there's nothing Mexican about it. It is just tacky USA with an accent.

                                2. re: jfood

                                  I was given one of those cute little bottles on my last flight on Delta which I had my 17 mo old with me. So my advice is to try to bring a baby with you the next time you fly - hee hee....

                                3. re: Gary Soup

                                  think again, on china airliner business class they only give you one bottle, if you ask for more, they just take the bottle and fill it up for you

                                  1. re: Gary Soup

                                    I flew Alitalia in October to Milan and they only poured tiny cups of water for me when I could find a flight attendant, which was difficult, especially once they shut the lights. Last week I flew American to Florida and they sold me a tiny bottle for $3. No free stuff.

                                    Airlines ARE this chintzy.

                                    1. re: Gary Soup

                                      I have found that unless you're in business or first class or superior economic class or whatever, these days, many passengers have to get up and ask the flight attendants for water ourselves. But that empty water bottle is a good idea...have to remember it next time I fly.

                                  2. re: jfood

                                    just an fyi, but bottled water is still free on jet blue, and they've been more than happy to get me several bottles during my numerous recent bicoastal jaunts...

                            3. wow, i never thought about this problem...i used to bring ALL my own grub when i flew to and from Japan from NYC! i am pretty particular and fussy about what i put in my body. that was of course before all the insano restrictions nowadays. man, if i would do this again i might be screwed...jeez, can someone give a recent experience of getting edibles confiscated.

                              1. Lots of water and a pizza

                                1. i'm fairly sure you can't bring fresh fruit on an international flight...so you well by double checking restictions.
                                  additionally, if you call the airline, you can request different meals - including a fruit plate. you're paying for it anyway, might as well utilize it!

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Jeserf

                                    It's just that you generally can't bring fresh fruit through customs.You can bring it on the flight, so long as you eat it all before arrival.

                                    1. re: Jeserf

                                      How about a domestic flight. LAX- Tampa. Have a few fresh Granny Smiths I'd like to enjoy...

                                      1. re: jme1beachbum

                                        Easy as pie. And for a 5 hour flight, I would bring more that that. Other posts below will provide ideas.

                                    2. The last time I flew domestically, involving I think 4 different flights, I carried bottled water on every flight. Which is not to say it was allowed - it wasn't. There were signs all around telling us to throw out our drinks. However, I just left the bottle of water in my purse, which went through the conveyer belt, and no one ever said anything. I guess the TSA employees thought it was a stupid rule also. So, if it were me I would try tucking at least a couple of unopened bottles of water at the bottom of my carry-on.

                                      I'd probably bring a large sandwich on a mini-baguette (if you determine it's allowed - baguette because it's less likely to get squished), and a good amount of your favorite trail mix, and supplement with any edible fruits/veggies you can obtain on the plane (as someone above mentioned, request the fruit plate!).

                                      Beware of anything that causes you to feel bloated - this is multiplied on a plane - and anything smelly that will cause your seatmates to give you dirty looks (like tuna).

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: dubedo

                                        i wouldn't try to bring any liquids whatsoever. get one jumpy security member and the trade-off is not worth it & if you say the wrong thing you can get yourself on a list. just pay $10 for the water across the security line & look as "middle america" as possible when traveling by plane.

                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                          FWIW, one of the reasons our airport (Pittsburgh Int'l) always gets high marks from travelers is because all the shops in the Airmall (which is past security screening areas) are required to charge no more than they would downtown or in a local mall - thus no scalping. Only wish more airports would work this way.

                                            1. re: Panini Guy

                                              I concur. P'burgh is my favorite airport for layover shopping and now I have one more reason to like it. Other airports should adopt this policy, but I doubt it will happen at JFK or LGA.

                                        2. I flew to and from Paris last week and brought a sandwich purchased outside the airport in my carry-on both to and from. I also brought fruit. You can't bring fresh fruit into the US, so eat it on the plane or toss it before customs or the little beagle will sniff you out.

                                          My traveling companion brought an entire loaf of bread for some reason. And a big bag of pretzels.

                                          I don't think there are any food restrictions unless the food involves more than 4 oz. of liquid -- like a pudding cup or something.

                                          1. Best thing for you to do is call ahead and ask what is permitted. I had relatives come from California and they couldn't bring anything with them on the plain except what they bought after they were checked. Maybe different rules apply for international flights..

                                            1. I fly for business pretty much every week and see problems and misunderstandings in this area all the time.

                                              Like it or not, the ban on liquids is here to stay, most likely permanently. It's not going away. The TSA has wanted this ban for years because they recognize the potential danger that a single bottle of flammable liquid on an plane can pose.

                                              For the person who got away with bringing a bottle of water in their carry on, they missed it and you got lucky. Most of the time they will catch it and I am nearly 100% sure they didn't let it slip by on purpose because they thought it was a stupid rule.

                                              I would not recommend trying to sneak liquids though security, though, generally they just make you throw the stuff away when they find it. Besides, you can buy bottled water in the secure area, or you can usually get as much water as you want for free on the plane by just asking for it. Especially on international flights.

                                              The only liquids now allowed through security have to follow the 3-1-1 rule: containers of three ounces or less, in a one quart clear zip-top bag, one bag per passenger.

                                              As far as food, I know of no limitations for food as long as it's non-liquid. The orange is an interesting question. I'm not sure.

                                              For long flights, I sometimes bring a bag of nuts or trail mix. I have seen people bring every imaginable type of food on the plane, especially on the flights to/from Asia or Central America.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Greg P.

                                                As of May 2007, the TSA website said that unpeeled fruit was ok to bring on board.

                                              2. I often make a spicy deli wrap at home- tortilla with some cajun turkey and jalepeno jack (boars head) a little fresh tomato and avovcado -and a smear of honey mustard. Do not use mayo or milk based dressing, a vinagrette would be good tho. Also good is an italian wrap. I use a tortilla, salami, prosciutto, and sometimes turkey or italian roast beef- with some provolone cheese and this yummy sun dried tomato spred I find in the produce section. Fold up 2 sides, roll up tight, and secure with saran wrap. Refrigerate until you leave and it travels well. Enjoy.
                                                PS- Kudos to Greg- the rules on liquid are for our safety- just like taking off our shoes and belts and they should not be ignored. Unfortunately thats just the way it has to be!

                                                1. Drinking a lot of water--and walking around a bit (including going to the lav to get rid of all the water)--on long flights is the best way to get to your destination in good shape. All flight crews understand this and will happily provide all the bottled water you want. As to food, I carry a container of chili flakes and make do with the airline fare.

                                                  1. as for water, i brought an empty water bottle with me, and filled it at a water fountain by the date AFTER i'd cleared security. don't know if this will vary by airport. i did check with an offical first.

                                                    1. I had a gift package of 4 small bottles of honey confiscated in Tampa last week, it was in a shrink wrapped package, what a waste!

                                                      1. Really, depends on what you like to eat.

                                                        The water / liquid issue aside, when I am long flights, even in first or business class, I always pack something like a granola bar, energy bar (Clif Bar) and maybe some beef jerky.

                                                        If you're not being served a meal during the flight, I would suggest buying something at one of the concession stands AFTER you pass the security gate.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                          Just a note jerky is one of those smelly things that will give you dirty looks on a plane. for some reason as soon as someone starts chewing it releases its pungent odor.

                                                        2. I wear pjs and bring water (yes, they took it out of my purse at security so buy it after), I also bring an apple, a banana, some cheese and crackers.

                                                          1. fruit is a good replacement for liquids: apples, grapes, blueberries etc. You can take them on the plane, you just can't take them off the plane.

                                                            Pretty much anything solid you like is okay -- I find sweet things are more available / palatable on the plane so tend to bring savoury/salty things on with me. Olives, pickles, endive, lemons, salamis, salad mix, bacon, sesame carr's crackers, cheeses have all come on board with me at one time or another.

                                                            1. I know some people don't care about annoying others, but as someone that was recently on a flight and near "stinked" out of my seat by fellow passenger's sandwich, I take contention with "let others just deal and get over it."

                                                              Take instant oatmeal in a tupperware and get hot water on the plane.. no not ideal, but at least it's real food.

                                                              Pasta salad lasts well.

                                                              Good loaf of bread and olive oil or jam if you can get them on.

                                                              Dry cereal, granola, or muesli and get milk on the plane.

                                                              String cheese

                                                              Hummus and pita slices

                                                              Apple and peanut butter

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: Emme

                                                                Hear, hear! Same in movie theaters - no smelly food should EVER be brought in! It is nauseating and rude beyond belief!

                                                                1. re: BobB

                                                                  I had an opposite food smell problem on a plane.
                                                                  I had been traveling all morning and was very hungry, but due to a short connection did not have time to grab anything to eat between flights. I get on the plane, and am trying to think of anything but food to stop the rumbling in my stomach. Next thing I know a woman sits next to me with a Cinnabon! I have never had one, but to a hungry person the smell was intoxicating. It literally took all the self-control I had not to wrench it from her stingy hands and devour it. It was definitely made worse by the fact that she did not just eat it, but savored it teeny-tiny bite by teeny-tiny bite for the first 45 minutes of the flight. Never again will I travel without a snack in my purse.

                                                                  1. re: BobB

                                                                    Lets please add bacon, salami and cured meats to the smelly list - oh and any dried fish.

                                                                2. For Coach:
                                                                  Good sandwich. Bit of nibbles. Candy. Eat after takeoff.
                                                                  Then AmbienCR 12.5 mg chased with a shot of rum or vodka. You will sleep 8 solid hours.
                                                                  Wake up have onboard coffee/tea, change socks, freshen up, then land.
                                                                  Arrive feeling fresh and ready to go!

                                                                  Also curtails jetlag. Fool proof.

                                                                  1. I think the whole point is for the store inside the gate can make money for all the travels

                                                                    1. To the original poster- if you're flying international I find that the food tends to be a LOT better than on domestic flights- bring your own food just in case but you should definitely try the plane's meal as you're paying for it anyhow.
                                                                      My meal to Paris on Air India was delicious. So was on Air Jamaica and on my flight to Japan. Almost anything I ate on Delta was disgusting. Go figure! :}

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                        Re: Pungent food smells - if you are travelling on Air India, often times the airplane food ITSELF is what has the pungent odor...!!

                                                                      2. flying to asia can be a bit of a slog. two things factor into my playbook: select the right airline; and cash in the frequent flier miles for a business/first class upgrade when possible.

                                                                        here's a link that rates airline food:

                                                                        travelling well is an art. well worth the extra time/effort to do right.

                                                                        1. How would a Muffelata (sp) travel? We will be traveling for 4.5 hours and don't want to eat airline food. I don't think it would smell as it is a pre made/marinaded sandwich. How well would it hold up at room temp that long?

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Kari

                                                                            a good muffaletta (sp?) is a thing of beauty. your biggest problem will be fending off envious passengers. extra points if your muffaletta came from central grocery in nola.

                                                                            1. re: steve h.

                                                                              I've done them in the past. Out of courtesy to fellow passengers I try to eat it in the departure lounge before the flight.

                                                                            2. re: Kari

                                                                              They travel well and are very aromatic. I don't live in New Orleans and I don't want to do without muffulettas in-between trips there so I make my own (with bread from scratch.) They're big, sturdy sandwiches and perfect for a long flight. Be prepared to fend off hungry passengers.

                                                                            3. M&Ms - they melt in your mouth, not in your hand, or bag... also roasted nuts (raw may get you in trouble with customs) - almonds and cashews are my favorite.

                                                                                1. flew fm detroit to san jose and carried my water, purchased at the airport duty free. then on my return fm san jose, they made me eat icecream purchased at the airport before boarding. so tsa makes the rules and depending on who you get where there is no fixed policy. on long flights drink lots of oj and water and arrive feeling hydrated ..at least !

                                                                                  1. I always travel with hard candies, gum. Takes the hunger pain away, adds moisture to a dry mouth. I rarely eat much on a plane tho. Ginger ale once on the plane is about all I can tolerate.

                                                                                    1. I take empty 1.5 liter bottles-- of the Fiji variety** because they don't get squashed as easily (I should know, I drop the ones I use on a daily basis)-- and fill them at the water fountain *AFTER* clearing security check points. The poster who got through with that bottle was lucky; that sort of thing has never happened to me.

                                                                                      ** or any bottle that won't lose its shape, or you'll risk aggravating everyone around you as the bottle re-expands after you've opened it. Those bottles with little round rings (like Arrowhead, Evian, Poland Springs, etc.) that're supposed to ease the crushing process for recyling are the worst.

                                                                                      Trust me, even a small jar of honey or heavily-crystalized preserves/jam will get you in trouble...and (perhaps for you, only potentially) make you miss a flight.

                                                                                      As for food, I'd recommend taking fruit-- more fresh than dried, unless you can deal with the eventual tooth-aching sweetness-- nuts, gum (which I'll chew even while asleep for my ears...I wish I could offer them to screaming babies, but they'd probably choke to death, right?), and the like. I'm not that into crackers and stuff, but I really, really, really love those Snapea Crisps carried at most TJs and dehydrated veggie snacks. Ohh! I almost forgot-- cut up celery, carrot, *cucumber* and the like are great.

                                                                                      Back when I went to school in MA, my mother would buy me a Cinnabon for each red-eye out of LAX. I rarely ate them, but I thought it was one of the nicer things she could've done-- especially given its effectiveness in disguising that disgusting stale-air smell that just sticks onto EVERYTHING in the place.

                                                                                      1. Couldn't resist adding my $0.02 worth:

                                                                                        - Beachbum's idea is awesome! I will definitely pack a wrap/sandwich on my next trip (to Rome in April).

                                                                                        - carrying the empty bottle of water and filling it just before boarding saves you the espense of buying bottled water. And Fiji bottles are indeed the best.

                                                                                        - I usually don't have the foresight that Beachbum has, so I usually end up buying a meal at the airport Panda Express if I can find it or McD's. I save it for eating on the plane, once I'm settled in comfortably. Makes a longish flight so much better. Buy the apple pies (2 for $1) and save them for a tasty treat later.

                                                                                        -At the risk of sounding like an a##hole, I will say that I'm not really bothered about what my food smells like to the next person - that is their problem, and they are welcome to change their seating if they can't deal with it. Their probably more annoyed that they didn't think of bringing something to eat so that they wouldn't have to endure airline food. There. I said it.

                                                                                        -cheese, jam, crackers, bread should make good snacks. For jam/jelly, snag some small jars from restaurants or hotel room service trays as long as they are less than 3 oz. Or save them and refill as needed, making sure to keep the label intact so you can show the TSA yahoos that its within the allowed fluid/gel volume limit.

                                                                                        -the TSA is myopic and at best. Case in point: a few month's ago I boarded a flight from Miami to Detroit. TSA woman made a big deal of the fact that my itty bitty 1oz travel toothpaste didn't quite fit in the zip lock bag. She insisted that the bag had to close (which it did until she picked it up). Tried twice then gave up (couldn't sacrifice the hotel shampoo, etc that I had purloined). She sent the toothpaste through the xray in its own plastic bowl, then ran over to the other side to make sure that the scanner operator did not give it back to me, despite having xray confirmation that it was harmless. In the meantime they completely missed the two cigar cutters and lighter that I had in my carry-on (I had honestly forgotten about the lighter). The cigar cutters and lighter then made it through 3 other airport security check-ins (flights delayed/rerouted due to bad weather). Go figure.

                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: caliking

                                                                                          Sorry, nothing personal, but bringing McDonald's onto a plane fills up the whole cabin with fast food smell. There's nowhere to run.

                                                                                          1. re: caliking

                                                                                            Sorry, caliking, but you're not just sounding like one here. That is unbelievably rude - the other passengers (and not just the ones next to you, it affects at least half the plane thanks to the ventilation system) have nowhere to escape to, and must suffer from the smell for long after you've had your little snack. Please understand, this is a forced shared space, and it behooves us all to intrude on others as little as possible. That is the very soul of good manners. There are plenty of delicious foods you can bring on that won't affect others. I beg you, for the sake of us all, please see the error of your ways!

                                                                                            1. re: BobB

                                                                                              Here, here... the smell of salami, bologna, sweet pickles, and an unknown reddish paste on a "delicacy sandwich" is just not okay, no matter how delicious it is to the passenger who holds it...

                                                                                            2. re: caliking


                                                                                              Don't forget to pack the peanut butter to go with the jelly.

                                                                                              1. re: caliking

                                                                                                It often isn't even a matter of them liking or disliking the food item, it is the fact that it is a strong smell. These flights wreck havoc on many peoples sinuses and any strong scent (perfume, aftershave, food, mothballs from a stored sweater) cause them great amounts of pain.

                                                                                                A large part of consideration is not imposing your preferences on others and being aware & concerned about their comfort. Delayed gratification factors into this concept greatly.

                                                                                                1. re: caliking

                                                                                                  Funny thing I read this today- I fly out tomorrow at 7am, and have no provisions other than a good trail mix with nuts and dried fruit. Will stop at store tonight for wrap provisions. Made myself hungry reading old posts! Can't stomach the thought of Panda Express + Airplane bathroom!

                                                                                                  1. re: caliking

                                                                                                    Caliking, this might be the rudest thing I've read on Chowhound in the last couple of years. Are you kidding? I agree with the other posters who've registered their discontent with your take on this issue. It's your karma - and I guarantee you this attitude is definitely going to bite you in your aforementioned "a##" some day. Hopefully soon. and hard.

                                                                                                  2. Unfortunately, I travel all the time on international flights, so:

                                                                                                    Air crews are more than happy to give you all the water you want and to re-fill any water bottles you might have. If you don't have a bottle and are in coach, ask, and one of the air crew will get a bottle for you. Believe me, they know the importance of water and are not stingy about giving you water.

                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                        They can't. There are no microwaves on board.

                                                                                                        1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                          I have had no problem bringing sandwiches and the like on board and having the FA warm them in the galley ovens while flying in (domestic) first class. I have never tried in coach, though, and wouldn't depend on it.

                                                                                                          1. re: caliking

                                                                                                            What is going on? Many posters seem mis-informed about two things:

                                                                                                            The crew will give all of you tons of water on international trans-pacific or atlantic flights. People's apprehensions about having to haul water aboard are misplaced.

                                                                                                            On the other hand, crews have no way to heat things up for you. Forget it. Not going to happen. Can't happen.

                                                                                                            1. re: caliking

                                                                                                              Like I said, asking politely to have my own sandwich warmed in the galley oven has worked for me on multiple occasions while flying in first class. I haven't tried this in coach, though, and wouldn't rely on it (i.e. don't expect it.)

                                                                                                              Sam is right that airliner galleys are not equipped with microwaves but most do have conventional ovens for meal service.

                                                                                                              1. re: terrier

                                                                                                                Terrier, interesting. I've been in business many times when a mom would ask to get an infant's bottle heated. The reply was always that there was no way to do so. Even in the business and first galleys, however, I think the heating ovens are built such that plates or portions are slid in and out. Maybe a sandwhich is something that can be heated.

                                                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                  Exactly right. The ovens are made for heating up the small hot dishes of airline meals, not baby bottles. I've never had a problem with flat panini in a foil pouch - a big, messy cheesesteak might be a problem. (Rest assured that well-prepared flight attendants heat up their own food in aircraft galleys all the time.)

                                                                                                                  The only way to heat up a baby bottle in a commercial aircraft galley is with hot water. This is easy but time consuming if the galley's got a "hot cup," but may not be possible otherwise. I'm sure the hassle factor alone (plus corporate policy) is enough to ensure the answer is "no" most of the time.

                                                                                                                  (here's what a combo oven/hot cup looks like: http://www.aerolux.co.uk/GH3001-1.htm)

                                                                                                                  1. re: terrier

                                                                                                                    Hey, looks like it would fit in a Cessna 182. Thanks.

                                                                                                        2. my take is that cabin crew on flights to tokyo, hong kong and singapore should go straight to heaven. it's a tough slog.

                                                                                                          i now fly business to asia, sometimes first. i paid my dues in the cattle car days way back when i was shuttling from korea to the states. those were interesting times.

                                                                                                          nowadays, deb and i try to book outbound flights on days/times most travellers hate. this has had some interesting benefits like: cabins less than half full; less-harried attendants; opportunities to chat with some interesting people; and so on.

                                                                                                          on a recent trip to hong kong, marcia (united flight attendant), woke me up to ask if i liked classical music. dazed but no fool i said, "yup." she then waved deb and me to the mid-cabin serving station where martin beaver (tokyo string quartet) gave us a concert. there were five of us in total: deb, me, two (maybe three) attendants and martin. we were three-quarters into the flight so the cabin was dark. after the music, he passed around his violin. it was a stradivarius. i didn't drop it.

                                                                                                          bottom line is that choosing your flights wisely can make a huge difference in your comfort and enjoyment. hope this helps.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                            Great tip, but greater story! Thank you!

                                                                                                          2. You've got tons of suggestions here... I haven't travelled since they banned liquids, but my aeroplane food always includes dried fruit/nuts, the most natural muesli/cereal bars I could find in the grocery store, crackers, and homemade oatmeal cookies. Also a minimum of one large bottle of water and one bottle of orange/apple juice, but now you have to buy it at the airport. (Do they sell juice to take on the plane any more?)

                                                                                                            1. Monkfanatic, what airports do you usually fly out of going from the U.S.? I've found that certain ones have more good choices than others. Sea-Tac, for example, has a place in the main terminal that has great packaged sandwiches, yogurt parfaits that don't like like they are old or half sugar, cucumber salad, packaged salads with inoffensive dressings. I can't remember the name, unfortunately. The Minneapolis-StPaul airport also has some good options. Depending on where you are, sometimes the coffee counters, like Caribou Coffee in the upper midwest, have good sandwiches, pieces of fruit, yogurt, and other sundries that are nice to have on the plane. I love the sandwiches at Caribou Coffee, and Starbucks makes some that are pretty good, although expensive. I guess all airport food is expensive, though.

                                                                                                              My flight staples:
                                                                                                              Nalgene bottle that I fill after clearing security, usually at a water fountain. (Haven't gotten sick yet.) Sometimes if I buy coffee one of the baristas will fill my bottle.

                                                                                                              An Emergen-C packet or two to put in the water, sometimes when it's getting to be landing time. I don't know if it works (energy boost, immune boost), but it makes the water taste nice and I like the *idea* of an immune boost on the plane.

                                                                                                              A LaraBar. My favorite is the cherry pie, which contains cherries, dates, and almonds. They go down easier than a lot of the super sugary stuff at airports. They are entirely raw and vegan and packaged (but so delicious!), so they keep indefinitely and are not ruined if they get squished.

                                                                                                              Nuts. These have never been taken out of my bag.

                                                                                                              A piece or two of whole fruit. Ditto. Never confiscated. I eat them before I land in a place where there are agricultural concerns.

                                                                                                              Sandwich from somewhere in the airport. Somehow, sandwiches feel lighter and more comfortable to have in my belly when seated for so long. Sometimes a yogurt for the protein, since the piece of chicken in an airplane meal looks like a kindergartner's portion.

                                                                                                              A treat of some kind, sometimes. On an international flight, I usually eat and then try to sleep, so eating ceases to be a priority once I'm sated, socked (do other people's feet get cold on planes? Mine are always like icicles.), and sacked out.

                                                                                                              I've actually enjoyed all the meals I've had on international flights. The issue has been not having enough food to feel comforably full and to be able to eat when I want or need to. Hope this helps.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: slowfoodgrrl

                                                                                                                I like your choices...but add a few 2 ounce plastic bottles of Jack...gotta love that

                                                                                                                1. re: nyfoodjoe

                                                                                                                  Whether you're going to Asia or Europe from the U.S., these flights are pretty awful. My approach is eat to lightly and have plenty of protein and water in the days before the flight - also get enough rest. I have a nice meal before leaving for the airport, but nothing too heavy - remember, those airline bathrooms are not really pleasant the morning after the overnight flight (sorry, but these details count). Then, I pack dry stuff like almonds, chocolate bars, whatever; I don't want to have a debate with a person in a uniform about whether fresh fruit is a security risk. It's just not worth it.

                                                                                                                  I also get a tiny presciption for sleeping pills (which I usually never take) but nothing too strong, since I want to be alert in case of emergency. I also bring earplugs, an eyemask and one of those thin wool stoles to use as a blanket. I bring a toothbrush and a mini tube of toothpaste, since I'll feel better if I brush my teeth in the morning on the flight. I put on loose clothes and soft soled shoes and try to pack as lightly as possible to avoid aggravation, which makes the I-pod about the best thing ever invented for the entertainment of long distance travellers.

                                                                                                                  At the airport, I buy the biggest bottle of water I can find after security; I might even buy two. I'll drink a lot of water, but pretty much resolve not of eat unless I get really hungry. When I do get hungry, I eat some of my snacks. I'll drink some juice offered by the airline if I feel like it. Once there's about 10 hours to go on the flight (or sooner if I get really bored or irritated) I'll take a sleeping pill and doze off.

                                                                                                                  This is a strategy honed over years of finding out what does and doesn't work for me. It makes a very irritating process somewhat less painful and getting some sleep on the flight makes the jet lag recovery a bit easier. The earplugs are essential - I recommend the foam ones.

                                                                                                                  To those of you who "don't care" whether the smell of your food offends others on your flight - hear, hear! Let me know what flight you'll be on so I can sit next to you and share my anchovy, kimchee and pastrami with extra aioli sandwich. Dee-licious and really holds one over on those long-haul flights.

                                                                                                              2. We just flew Islandair to Paris and they actually had cases of bottled water as you entered the plane (take as many as you wanted). Nice. For the long flight, there is a nice sleep aid (non-habit forming and doesn't contain pain reliever) made by Tylinol called "Simply Sleep" - awesome!!!! Eat light.

                                                                                                                1. I eat like a king on airplanes. I have 2 small plastic Coleman coolers, one 4.7 liters, the larger is 8.5 liters. One or the other is my carry-on luggage, depending. I bring hearty sandwiches, shrimp coctail, coctail sauce, cheeses, pate, fruit, chicken salad, the list goes on. All of it permissible. Tupperware containers and plasic utensils are fine. I don't use the frozen gel-packs because I had one confiscated along with my corkscrew. But a zip-lock bag with ice passes; I get these dumb quizzical looks and I move on. I get funny looks from adjacent passengers when I spread my feast out on the little tray, but I couldn't care less. Maybe I gave them a good idea for their next trip. And the cooler is always useful at my destination. You can't bring liquids, but you can bring a lot of food with you.

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                    Hats off to your ingenuity!

                                                                                                                    1. Does your cooler count as your only carryon? Or are you able to take a laptop/briefcase also?

                                                                                                                    2. Do you usually just fill one ziplock with ice and not carry a shaving kit/toiletries on board (since you're only allowed one ziplock bag with fluids)... I know ice is not technically a fluid but I wonder if the TSA sees it that way...

                                                                                                                    1. re: caliking

                                                                                                                      Both coolers fit inside a canvas bag, like a gym bag, that I have used as a carry on for years. The chilled food items are in the larger cooler. If TSA takes the ice bag, everything is already cold enough for the next few hours. They did take a gel pack once. I could ask for ice on board, but I am careful to be totally self sufficient. I use the little cooler for my toiletry ziplock, and other dry goods like camera, glasses case, foreign dictionary.It's not being used as a cooler now, just a small hard container. And there's room on the sides to stuff some softgoods. I have two similar green bags, and I have always been able to carry them both on. I don't travel with a computer or laptop. When I board, I remove the food cooler and put it sideways under a seat. This way, I can do about a 10 day trip with just carry-on, unless its a dive trip. The corkscrew I lost was on a swiss army knife I had intended to stow with my dive gear. I paid the stupid tax for that blunder.

                                                                                                                  2. Leaving from home is easy: Pack grain- or pasta-based salads, fruits, nuts, rolls, crackers, cheese, prosciutto...tons of stuff you can take that keep well, don't smell, and taste delicious. Coming home is more difficult, I find. You have to search out food that travels well, and it's a good idea to be equipped with some ziploc bags, a couple of plastic containers, plastic forks, etc. these items can be difficult to find abroad, especially in small quantities. As for water, I buy a couple of bottles after security. You never know about the water on domestic or international flights -- sometimes it's bottled, sometimes it's tap, diluted with iffy ice.

                                                                                                                    1. Regarding smelly foods: I adore eating pungent, spicy foods, having come from a culture that seems to specialize in them. But PLEASE realize that being bothered by strong-smelling food on a flight is not a choice. My late husband underwent years of chemotherapy that made him highly sensitive to smells that had once been pleasant and even delicious to him. He did not choose to become blindingly and horrifyingly nauseated by odors he was exposed to -- it just happened to him, one of the many things he could not control. I'm sure so many of you can relate in one way or another, but for those of you who don't, please consider that some day you might be in those very same shoes. Please please please be kind and think of others around you.

                                                                                                                      String cheese, carrot sticks, cucumber & apple slices, beef jerky, pretzels all are fun. Twizzlers are a gross treat I allow myself only in airports and on planes. I flew a 14-hour flight from Chicago to Seoul on Korean Air Lines and none of us, including my two young-adult sons, wanted it to end. I have NEVER experienced superior service of that caliber on an American carrier. I could go on and on, but to stay on topic I'll just say that on top of everything else, the food was delicious. I've been recommending Korean Air Lines to everyone since our return.

                                                                                                                      Have a safe and enjoyable flight!

                                                                                                                      Oh, one final tip. In my vacation-minded gluttony, I stuffed myself with a huge Italian beef sandwich at the airport just before boarding the flight. Big mistake. Don't ask your digestive system to handle a giant meal when you're going to be confined for a lengthy period away from your usual routine and without exercise. Uncomfortable.

                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: jhuston

                                                                                                                        I have to second the request to not bring smelly food. For some reason McDonald makes me so ill. (havent been in one it 20+ years) I actually get migraines from strong odors from food and fragrances. I have gotten to the point that if someone is eating something offensive I have to to say something. As you state nausea will kick in and then neither the eater or myself is going to have a good flight.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Ljubitca

                                                                                                                          I feel you with the migraine. On a plane I often get migraines coupled with nausea and the strong scents are just torture. Perfumes/colognes are the worst because they also give me sinus headaches/runny nose and sometimes an asthma attack, but that Subway sandwich with onion isn't really all that much better in a confined environment. I can still smell the sandwich from 10 rows back.

                                                                                                                          1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                            This is true - although its things that are smoked that usually get me like bacon or all thing McDonalds - Popeyes Kills Me. But I have to tell you I would take the smell of an onion any day over a smokers exhaled breath who sucked up 50 cigarettes before gettting on a plane.

                                                                                                                            1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                              Even the odor coming out of Subway shops smells nasty to me. I imagine it's supposed to smell like a bakery but for some reason it seems more like garbage.

                                                                                                                        2. If you can sleep, you won't need to eat as much anyway and will probably arrive feeling better. I think grapes are great and always appreciate the hydrating quality of fresh fruit on flights. There isn't much that makes those 15 hour flights much fun though, regardless of what you eat.

                                                                                                                          1. Could you, perhaps, take a different airline that has better food?

                                                                                                                            On AirFrance the food is pretty decent (in coach, think good domestic first class meals 15 years ago) and you can get up and hang out in the galley and drink all the water you want (and a lot of wine too).

                                                                                                                            When I do manage to have enough forethought and space to pack food, I tend to go for sandwiches like bahn mi and other things on baguettes. Even if they get crushed the stuff inside stays, well, inside (mostly).

                                                                                                                            1. We just flew domestically in August this year changing planes multiple times. There was always food and water to be purchased after you went through security and American sells snacks such as chips, candy bars, etc. on the plane. They even take credit cards for it! I personally have never found airline food to be all that bad. Granted, it's not exciting but neither is a fat-free granola bar.

                                                                                                                              1. 1 glass wine from plane
                                                                                                                                1 bar decadent chocolate - vosges is a good one
                                                                                                                                1 Tylenol PM

                                                                                                                                See you in Taiwan!

                                                                                                                                1. Well I don't know what type of food you do like, but I say sandwiches would be the easiest, well-preserved food, if its nothing perishable. I wouldn't mind eating peanut butter and jelly but you might be looking for something a tad more sophisticated, not sure...

                                                                                                                                  1. Cliff Bars
                                                                                                                                    peanut butter sandwich
                                                                                                                                    tuna in the ready to go packs with crackers
                                                                                                                                    cheese sticks
                                                                                                                                    quaker oatmeal in the to go cup and add hot water
                                                                                                                                    instant soups and add hot water
                                                                                                                                    baby carrots

                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: jroxybabe19

                                                                                                                                      Tuna and small enclosed spaces should not mix. If I was next to you on the plane you would be unhappy when I threw up.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: jme1beachbum

                                                                                                                                        I have done it before and didnt have anyone complain. Its a good source of protein, or maybe some protein powder in water. And so far I havent had anybody throw up on me.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jroxybabe19

                                                                                                                                          I love tuna, too, but agree that tuna and small, enclosed spaces should not mix. I'll be the second person throwing up.

                                                                                                                                    2. My standard long flight fare -

                                                                                                                                      Dry Cereal - I repackage into zip lock bags.
                                                                                                                                      Red Vines Licorice
                                                                                                                                      those little pretzel/ peanutbutter cracker sandwiches (guilty pleasure)
                                                                                                                                      Goldfish crackers
                                                                                                                                      good dark chocolate (big bar I can break into pieces)
                                                                                                                                      Luna Bars
                                                                                                                                      I pick up a deli sandwich (usually ham and cheese on rye) just in case I need something bigger...