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Odorless Airplane food?

I recently had an international flight that left at 5am (so I may have just been very sleep deprived and cranky), but the guy sitting next to me opened a sealed package of cashews - an item I don't consider very fragrant and like eating. However, the smell in the context of being on an airplane felt like someone had just stuffed my head into a jar of cashew butter. I was very aware of the smell and was thrilled when he put them away.

That being said, when the flight meals were passed around, there was no noticeable smell (and I never remember smelling an airplane meal). Not that in-flight (coach) meals have ever been known to be amazing - but this made me wonder if something is specifically done to food served on airplanes to make it as odorless as possible?

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  1. they're generally served warm leaving less fragrence, not hot, or cold and most items are wrapped. I just love the person on an early am flight with a smelly cheap meat cold cut sammie or sitting next to someone who had heavy garlic and ripple wine the night before.

    1. "if something is specifically done to food served on airplanes to make it as odorless as possible?"

      Probably something in the process that also renders them utterly flavourless.

        1. re: whs

          Interesting. Well, I have to say, after nearly gaging on this guy's fairly generic "brought from home" snacks - I was thrilled that the actual in-flight meal was completely nondescript.

        2. I was on a flight once and a person in front of me (at least it was not right beside me) ate a brought-from-home tuna salad sandwich. I have always wondered whether that person was simply oblivious or deliberately brought that sandwich to annoy others.

          6 Replies
          1. re: John E.

            I've been guilty of eating a muffaletta from Central Grocery on a flight back home from New Orleans.

            1. re: whs

              "eating a muffaletta from Central Grocery on a flight back home"

              To my ears, used to British English, that sounds like something that could easily get you arrested here.

              1. re: Harters

                heh -- but it's really just a delicious sandwich of meats, cheeses, and pickled vegetables.

                  1. re: Harters

                    Or a phone number furtively stuffed into your pocket...

                  2. re: whs

                    Me too! Fortunately, my BF was seated next to me, and if anyone was hating on me from behind or in front of us, I didn't notice. It sure was GOOD!

                1. I have no idea what is done to the plane food, but I can smell it before I see it when they start serving it to the first rows far away from me on international flights. I am guilty of bringing things like barbacoa tacos or Vietnamese salad rolls on the plane. I have to eat something, after all all. I'd draw the line at anything overtly fishy.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: luckyfatima

                    I actually did smell the food on my very last flight - but it was also an unusual case where the hot meal was actually served hot (and not lukewarm). This was a meal on Swiss Air, which I find for coach to be a hair better than most other coach flight experience.
                    However in general, I think I'm just sensitive to smells but the cashews had me wondering if it was just me or something else. .

                    1. re: luckyfatima

                      I can almost always smell beef dishes from the opposite end of the cabin -- and pasta dishes as the cart gets closer to me