The One Food You Should Never Order On A Flight, According To Experts

Feeling peckish on a flight? Go ahead, order a snack. Just make sure it’s not pasta.

Airline food catches a lot of flack for being a bit bland. However, it’s important to note that it’s more about the human body’s reaction to being 30,000 feet in the air than the actual food itself. A study conducted by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics found the combination of dryness and low pressure on planes reduces the sensitivity of human taste buds for both sweet and salty by 30%.

Furthermore, as Fritz Gross, director of culinary excellence at LSG Sky Chefs Asia Pacific, told CNN in 2012, airlines aren’t as interested in taste as they are focused on food safety.

“Our top concern is actually food safety,” Gross said. “Because we do such a large volume, we cannot afford to have things in there that are not right. You can imagine how easily an airline can get sued.”

Why then is pasta off the menu? Because beyond food safety, Gross noted, some foods simply cannot handle the cooking process at altitude. Pasta, like all dishes in the air, is typically reheated before serving, meaning it’ll likely be well overcooked by the time it gets to you. If you’re expecting it al dente, you won’t be happy. Furthermore, if the ratio of sauce to pasta is off, it will likely lead to a sloppy mess that will be far from tasty.

Additionally, as Travel + Leisure previously explained, Dr. Charles Platkin, executive director of the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center, reviewed and rated the foods available on 11 U.S. and Canadian airlines and noted that pasta or other carb-heavy meals may not be the best bet on flights for those either looking to find something healthy, or those hoping to arrive at their destination feeling alert.

“Eating lots of heavy carbs such as pasta with thick, dense sauces, breads, muffins or cakes will leave you feeling lethargic, cranky, and not full or satisfied,” he said. “Your blood sugar levels will spike and then fall, which will negatively impact how you feel.”

What then can a flier eat instead? The best bet may be to forgo airline food altogether and pack your own. Packing snacks like popcorn, protein bars, and whole fruits is easy, and even foods that are considered “liquid” like peanut butter and hummus come in TSA-friendly sizes, making it easier than ever to pack a few things, eat healthy, and avoid airline prices along the way.

Source: Travel + Leisure

Airlines And Flight Attendants Want Stiffer Penalties For Unruly Passengers: “It’s Out Of Control”

JetBlue Airways flight bound for New York returned to the Dominican Republic in early February after a passenger allegedly refused to wear a facemask, threw an empty alcohol bottle and food, struck the arm of one flight attendant, and grabbed the arm of another.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which detailed the incident in a report, slapped the passenger with a $32,750 fine.

Reports of verbal abuse, a failure to comply with the federal mask mandate and assault by airline passengers are on the rise. Airline industry groups, flight attendants and lawmakers want the government to do more to stop it.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday said it has received approximately 3,100 reports of unruly passenger behavior since the start of the year.

The agency said it has so far proposed fines totaling $563,800, though recent agency releases describe incidents that allegedly occurred in February, meaning there are likely more cases, and fines, yet to be disclosed.

The agency implemented a “zero tolerance” policy and threatened fines of up to $35,000 earlier this year, after a series of politically motivated incidents around the time of the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Passengers have 30 days to contest the fines.

Unruly passenger behavior or interfering with flight attendant duties is against federal law.

Flight attendant unions say their members have been insulted, shouted and demeaned by passengers, some of them intoxicated, and in some rare cases, violence.

A passenger allegedly punched a Southwest Airlines flight attendant last month. The flight attendant lost two teeth after she was struck, according to her labor union.

“It’s out of control,” said Paul Hartshorn, spokesman for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents American Airlines’ more than 20,000 cabin crew members. “It’s really coming to the point where we have to defend ourselves.”

Airline executives note that the cases are rare considering the number passengers they are carrying. Transportation Security Administration airport screenings recently topped 2 million a day, the highest since before the coronavirus was declared a pandemic in mid-March 2020.

But the issue adds to flight attendants’ stress after a year of job insecurity and health concerns from working in a pandemic, said Sara Nelson, a prominent labor leader and international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the largest flight attendant union with some 50,000 members across more than a dozen airlines.

“Even if it doesn’t rise to the level of a physical altercation, just the constant bickering and name-calling and disrespect, that wears away at people,” she said.

Most of the cases are related to passengers’ refusal to wear masks on board, which the Biden administration mandated earlier this year, though airlines have required it since early in the pandemic. The administration extended it through mid-September.

A passenger on a Jan. 7 Alaska Airlines flight from Washington, D.C., to Seattle allegedly pushed a flight attendant when cabin crew walked down the aisle to check whether travelers were wearing face masks, said the FAA, which fined the traveler $15,000.

There isn’t one single reason behind the incidents, according to Ryan Martin, a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, who has studied anger for about two decades. He said a sense of entitlement is a common thread in displays of anger, however.

“What we know is that entitlement is correlated with anger, meaning the more entitled you are the angrier you get,” said Martin, the author of “Why We Get Mad: How to Use Your Anger for Positive Change.”

Another factor behind disruptive behavior could be readily available examples, such as videos online, of others acting out.

“We’ve seen lots and lots of example of people losing their cool and having what I would call tantrums in the last year, very publicly,” Martin said. “Some of that may have modeled a way of dealing with problems for people that isn’t really a healthy, reasonable way to deal with problems.”

Increased anxiety returning to travel might also have heightened tensions, he added, though he noted that one of the better indicators for whether someone will turn violent is that they believe in violence to solve problems in the first place.

Source: CNBC