Throughout the years, dining options on airplanes have gone through a series of transformations. Since the first airline meal was served on a Handley-Page flight from London to Paris in 1919. Airplane food has continuously fluctuated with the times, ranging from luxury cuisine and service options to pre-packaged foods and even fast-food meals inflight. With technology and food sensitivities on the rise, airlines are heading in the direction of becoming more tech savvy to ensure that travelers needs are met. Here’s a look into just how far we’ve come since the early 1900’s.
Let’s flashback to 1919, the meal consisted of pre-packed lunch boxes, costing three shillings each. This concept took flight by the 1930’s when United became the first carrier to install kitchens on-board to provide passengers with hot meals during their travels.
By the 1950’s, flying on an airplane was considered a luxury, and became especially appealing to a higher class of diners. This brought on an era of table cloths and silver service to airline dining, and by the 1960’s, this concept expanded to high-quality cuisine, with British Airways even serving luxury items such as champagne, caviar, foie gras, and lobster.
Soon thereafter, as airline travel became a more popular mode of transportation for the masses, lowering the cost of tickets would take priority over the quality of food served in-flight. Though some European flights continued to pride themselves on fine dining in the air, many carriers decided that it was more economical to reduce the quality of food served in the air to generate cheaper airfares.
By 2001, the website airlinemeals.net was launched, allowing passengers to discuss airline food and post pictures of their in-flight meals, making it easy to see and compare the variety of meals served on different airlines and in different classes. Yes, by the turn of the century, the quality of airline food became a concern when choosing which airline to fly!
Today, we see airplane food becoming more tech savvy, allowing passengers to know what they will be served prior to boarding and even allowing passengers to choose their meal upon booking their flight. We have come a long way from in flight lunch boxes, and although airline meals don’t always have the best reputation, they are sure to continuously improve.