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Airplane Food Dilemma [moved from Manhattan board]

  • k

In a few weeks, my family and I are leaving really early morning to JFK. The flight we're getting on, doesn't have complimentary food and I'm not about to eat overpriced, bad quality, airport food. I recall reading somewhere there is a catering service that will deliver fresh food to you (it wasn't FreshDirect). Has anyone heard of such service?

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  1. They'll deliver to the airport or your apartment/house? What neighborhood are you leaving from? Which airline are you taking?

    1. I am sorta confused by your question. Are you thinking of a catering service that will deliver fresh food to you at the airport? The Plane?

      3 Replies
      1. re: Quine

        Sorry, what I meant was, this catering company would deliver the food to your home, so you can schlep it onto your flight.

        1. re: kaya

          Er, is that normally just called delivery service...as in chinese, pizza, etc?

          When I know I am going on a flight, I buy a grat italian sub the day/night before. They do so much better with the time and ease of eating.

          With an early AM flight, I'd just pack a great lunch.

          1. re: kaya

            I don't know where you are located but I would suggest ooking for a bagel place in your area that does breakfast catering, EG: Bagel Boy in Brooklyn.
            They will deliver a great breakfast for your family.
            Have a safe flight. :-}

        2. Shoot me now, but I am thinking that it might just be worth it to pick something up at the airport after all. The truth is that the food court stuff is not as outrageously expensive as you would think. I took a 6 am flight from LaGuardia a few months ago and survived on Au Bon Pan until I got to Dallas. If you are getting something hot delivered to your home, you either have to eat it there, so you have to get up even earlier, or it will be cold and likely congealing by the time you get to the airport, where you will be sitting for 45 minutes to an hour, anyway. Otherwise, the bagel/deli delivery idea sounds pretty good.

          FYI, check out this link for info on food at JFK:

          1 Reply
          1. re: Shayna Madel

            I sheepishly have to concur. The food at the JetBlue terminal is actually passable, you can even get pasta with truffle oil or sushi. And the prepared foods offered at the two market places have a wide variety of prices so you're not stuck with a ten dollar hot dog.

          2. Just put some food in your pocket or bag before you go! Is that so difficult?

            5 Replies
            1. re: NYJewboy

              It really is difficult when you have two young children in tow and leaving the house by 5a. I wish I was flying on Jet Blue- at least I know the food they sell is edible! I'm flying out of JFK, on AA and their hot breakfast sandwiches look pretty gross.

              1. re: kaya

                If you are a AMEX Platinum card holder I believe you are allowed in the Admiral's Club as a perk. They should have decent food. Also, AA just built a new terminal. Usually there are new and better places to eat so you may be okay. Or just stop by Gray's on the way to the Mid-Town Tunnel or Manny B. They're open 24/7, they have fresh squeezed oj, coffee and pineapple juice. I can't imagine the hot dogs or their breakfast sandwiches being worse nutritionally than anything you can get at JFK.

                1. re: bigmackdaddy

                  I just flew on AA from JFK and the options in the terminal aren't that bad. There's an Au Bon Pain too. Or, like others have suggested, a quick stop at a bagel place on your way out of town may be a good idea. And it's true about the Platinum AMEX -- it gets you and two guests into many airport lounges.

                  Whatever you do, don't wait until you get on the flight -- the food they sell is disgusting, overpriced and there's only one healthy option -- trail mix. And they often run out before the flight attendants even get through the whole cabin.

                2. re: kaya

                  Adding on the "kid factor" is making things make sense. There are several options:

                  (1) You place an order the night before your flight, for an early morning delivery. You pray they deliver the food on time. You end up with the kids eating while you are getting to the airport, the food flies all over the place and someone's ticked that you messed up their car. OR, the kids eat at the airport, where you will have to be killing some time after you clear security anyway and that hot breakfast you ordered isn't so appetizing anymore...

                  (2) You pick up some cereal, fruit (you can probably get it already cut up if you don't think you have the time to do it yourself), rolls/bagels and juice boxes and put it all in a bag you can grab from the fridge on your way out the door (tape a note to the door as a reminder) and you either feed the kids on the way to the airport or you eat at the airport. Just remember, they may not let the juice boxes through security, but you should be able to get water or juice once you pass security.

                  (3) You stop somewhere on the way to the airport and pick something up and pray you can get in/out quick enough that it does not interfere with the time you need to get to the airport.

                  (4) You cave like a house of cards and "make do" with what the airport has to offer, which may not be as bad as you thought. And given that you apparently are coming from Manhattan (I see the transfer from the Manhattan board), the chances are that the airport prices aren't so bad in comparison. Some of the food places are probably in the area of the terminal before you have to clear through security and some after. Usually the better selection is in the outer area. Just remember again, if you buy liquids, make sure they are consumed before you go through security or you will be cursing yourself for having to toss all the half-consumed drinks...

                  1. re: Shayna Madel

                    Didn't AA just open up a brand new, state-of-the-art terminal at JFK?

              2. We have this situation quite often.

                I often make egg salad sandwiches the night before and put in the fridge, along with baggies of grapes or carrots or whatever. buy some small juice or milk boxes.

                i also sometimes buy the small cereal boxes as a "plane breakfast treat." each kid gets to pick two, and they eat them dry with a milk box chaser.

                then in the morning, put it all in your carry-on bag. always bring more food than you think you will need, for unexpected delays and bored children.

                the problem with relying on the airport options is that if something goes wrong and you don't have time to get anything at the airport, you're in big trouble. nothing worse than flying with hungry kids and no food. (and i mean that for everyone on the plane!)

                so i would do your own shopping and skip the delivery. better not to rely on others so early.

                8 Replies
                1. re: missmasala

                  Wow. Thanks for your excellent suggestions. I will weigh each option and discuss with my other half. And you're right, we can't rely on airport options especially when the little ones are very picky. Looks like we'll be packing food with us.
                  Cheers again!

                  1. re: kaya

                    We have travelled with 2 young kids since they were 10 months old. We use the missmasala plan, except we are lazier. We go to the bagel store the evening before, and everyone picks a bagel sandwich the way they want, then I add on some pasta salad, other premade salad, coffee cake, mini muffins. All goes in plastic bag at store. We stop at deli next door, and buy some pre-cut pre-packaged fruit, as well as personal packages of cookies and chips. Added to same bag. At home, all goes in fridge, and in am chaos, the large plastic bag and a 1/2 roll of paper towels goes into my backpack as a carry-on. Everyone knows what they have to eat, and how long its got to last.

                    When they were younger and only wanted finger foods, I packed plain pasta, cheerios, cut grapes and goldfish all in ziplocks. One of each food for each child. They loved it.

                    1. re: Love to Eat

                      I lovet the part abut the paper towels. May want to consider either a few damp ones in a ziplock bag, or some handwipes, also. Does anyone know--can you get the juice boxes through security?

                      1. re: Shayna Madel

                        i have in the past (even since the "no liquids" rule), but who knows?

                        i find it all depends on the airport and the personnel.

                        i pack them mainly to have at the airport, since i feel you can always get the kids a drink on the plane. sometimes i pack empty sippy cups for the plane and just have the flight attendants pour the kids' drinks straight into them. then spills aren't an issue.

                        1. re: missmasala

                          I think you are right. I was on the way back from a vacation and had a bottle of salad dressing in my hand luggage. It was picked up on the x-ray. The TSA guy who checked it saw that it still had the plastic seal around the neck, took pity on me and said that if I opened it and tasted it, I could keep it. (It was a guacamole dressing, thick and green and you could not see through it....) I think you're right about the planes having drinks for the kids. Most have at least orange juice and maybe apple. You might even be able to get milk if the kids want "wet" rather than dry cereal.

                  2. re: missmasala

                    as much as i love egg salad, i would be so bummed if i were sitting next to you on a flight and you pulled out egg salad sandwiches. the smell and the potential mess (i always end up dropping egg out of mine) are not really airplane-ready.

                    juice / milk boxes cannot go thru security, technically, but sometimes you'll get a slow screener who lets it slide thru.

                    1. re: tracyk

                      I try to steer away from "stinky" food on airplanes when I bring it onboard. So when I go to the Italian deli to pick up some of the best subs in all of NYC (featuring various meats, homemade fresh mozzarella, sweet peppers and marinated mushrooms) to bring to my cousins out of town, I don't get one of those for the plane, I tone it down and go for the fresh pork or fresh roasted turkey, with fresh mozzarella.

                      1. re: tracyk

                        oh, the egg salad is for the car or the airport. that would never last til the plane. the extra cereal boxes are for the plane. or PBJ. and fruit.