What’s the deal with airline food?
It’s a question travelers and stand-up comedians have been asking for decades. Bags of peanuts, barely-edible dinner rolls and the dreaded “meat-like substance” have been a staple of in-flight dining for decades. There are even websites devoted to all things airline food, such as AirlineMeals.net.
But did you know that airline food is celebrating a milestone birthday? Eighty-five years ago this month, the first meal was served on a commercial airliner.
Back on May 1, 1927, Imperial Airways (now known as British Airways) unveiled its “Silver Wing” lunch service on a flight from London to Paris. For one shilling, three pence, passengers were offered what British Airways Heritage Centre Curator Paul Jarvis called “luxury sandwiches.” At least the passengers could enjoy an alcoholic beverage to wash the sandwiches down.
The service went away when Britain entered World War II, but was restored in 1952.
CNN’s Jim Boulden pays tribute to the first airline meal in the video above.
Previously - The fare up there: Air Force One and The TSA won't swipe your pie – but will they take the cake? and Plane fare
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I knew the food was going to go downhill years ago when they stopped giving your REAL silverware.... Now, not only do you not get any silverware (plastic or otherwise), on most flights your don't even get peanuts. You pack food in your bag, TSA takes it away....then you get stuck on a tarmac for 8 hours and miss two meals..... It is all total BS and misery... I used to enjoy flying. Now I dread every second of it.
One of the longest yet most memorable flights I ever took was when I got shipped out for Viet Nam in 1970. We were on an older 727(I think) and the only food we had during the 13 hour flight was sandwiches and sodas but the most memorable part of the flight was the stewardesses. These were more senior ladies that wore an array of patriotic pins, banners and hats and they attended to our every need. While out over the middle of the Pacific ocean, one pulled out an old beat up 6 string acoustic guitar and started a sing-along to help pass the time and to help put our minds at ease and forget about how much our butts hurt from the gumaglobin (sp?) shot we got before we left March AFB. Those shots made the buttcheek it was injected into swell up and hurt pretty bad when you had your hiney plopped in a plane seat for 13 hours. Anyway, I just wanted to share that flying experience with everyone so that you will realize how good we have it today, stinky feet, bad breath and foul body odor included.
Yes,the 70's were the best years for airline travel.I worked for Braniff for
20 years before the bankruptcy.Back to the subject,the first class food was
fantastic and coach was very good.In the 60's they had in first class small
(4 cigarette)packs of Winstons,lots of booze,and beautiful stewardesses.
I even married one.
I have flown on PI,BN,CO,LH,NE,WA,TT,AL,OZ,SO,DL,BA,AA,PS,PA,TW,UA,and SW.
Braniff was still on top.
Now a days,(retired from AA) airline travel is a real pain.
The year, below, was "70-71
New Years eve/day I flew a charter Northwest Airlines from Seattle, Wash. to Korea with 220 other G.I's and kept flying into midnight 3 times. So we celebrated New Years 3 times. All got drunk and they served 3 hot breakfasts during the many hours flying time. Crossed the International Date Line and got to Korea on Jan. 2nd. Picked up the day coming back, I guess. Never forget that flight.
ahhhhh quit whininnnn... i flew on one trip where you had to bring your own lawn chair. well on a more serious note, when in a pressurized tube at forty thou feet you loose some of your sense of taste. also remember the airlines dont make the food.. it's vendored out
i always travel (PAKISTAN INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES) when i go back home pakistan food always great even domestic in USA FLIGHT always peanuts and coke cola or any kind juice they always cried about oil price ,oil priced nothing to do with your service ,air hosts are rude specialy in A A do not want to travel again ,best service in the world airline i travel once is LUFTHANSA AIRLINE
Ay!! Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan put Pakistan to shame like donkey with my cousin!
In my family we used to refer to Delta as "Chicken Airlines", as that was the only meal we ever seemed to see in coach.
Now you get an old soggy "turkey" sandwich on any flight longer than 13 hours long.
I remember flying nonstop from SYR to MCO on Piedmont Airlines (now US Airways) when I upgraded to First Class they served breakfast which was Western omelets with bacon and home fries (that put Cracker Barrel to shame). That was a hoot.
i have flown on airliners since the early 1950s. the food and service used to be excellent...now the people that used to have to ride the bus now infest the airways dressed in flip flops,shorts,and backpacks and in need of a bath..this is one time the "good old days" were really good.
On the other hand, you could smoke inside the plane back then. Maybe the food wasn't actually better or people's body odor worse, but it was just that nobody could tell. :)
One time Saran Palin happened to be on the same flight I was and much to everyone's surprise she brought onboard with her a huge platter of mooseburgers. There was also an equally huge tray of s'mores !
Moose burger is actually pretty good.
Back in 1979 the meal we were served on Northwest Airlines was GREAT! We were on a 747, that was exciting enough for me, but we were served a Beef Filet with the BEST AuGratin potato side dish. A salad and rolls! Plus had a complimentary cocktail! We were not in first class either. I can just imagine what they had! The stewardesses were so friendly and accomodating as well. I have flow only about 10 times since, and have never even been offered a meal. Just the peanuts, and the stewards/esses acted like they were doing us a favor to bring them. Gone are the days when flying was a real treat.
back in 1979!!!! lololololmfao
I remember flying BA in 1978 and I only 12 at the time but the service was awful Air NZ the service couldn't have been better so friendly even got a trip to the cockpit so things don't change that much on some airlines
The airline with WORST " food " was Canadian Air ( I forgot the exact name ) ; I remember during a long flight from Hong Kong to Toronto, one of the " meal " , a cup of 50 cents' instant noodle ! No wonder this airline exist no more !
All Asian based airlines; Cathy, Singapore Air or Japan Air etc serve excellent food. Plus, their stewardess are young , smart, if not pretty, and, VERY polite. You won't find those crusty old bags of then Delta or NorthWest !
No wonder the food is terrible–it was started by the Brits! The worst food in the world is British food!
British food is not the worst food in the world. What an overgeneralization. There is good and bad food in all cultures. My family is British, and my grandma and my mum made/make delicious British food! Making overgeneralizations like that just destroys any credibility you could hope to have.
NO BANGERS AND MASH FOR YOU!
I can't seem to get past the names of the British foodie favorites..... Bubble and Squeek???? Spotted Dick??? Not very appetizing to be sure...
The "old" Frontier Airlines used to have the best meals. Steak and lobster with a crab salad, dinner roll and a comp bottle of wine on most dinner flights. All in standard class. Those were the days back in the 70's.
Drive and eat anything you want.
I just have one question:
Will it be chicken or pasta today?!
I know quite a few of you have had the same question given to you one too many times as well! I am begging these airline food people to mix it up a little!
GIVE THE AIRLINE FOOD TO THE POOR, THEY WILL EAT ANYTHING
i took a charter once to the Bahamas. the flight attendant (whose name tag read "Hey Miss") made the customary safety announcements... "the bottom of your seat can be used as a floatation device as well as your inflight lunch".
I think the last meal I had on Delta was 85 years old. As a matter of fact, I think the stewardess was, too!
The Schilling is Austrian currency. The Shilling is British currency.
Thank you. Editorial standards on cnn.com could be better.
Sie haben recht, danke.
The Austrian Schilling is now obsolete, replaced by the Euro in 1999.
Schillings were also the currency of Ireland, New Zealand and Somalia,
as well as Malta, British Ceylon and some others.
hmmm.. try spending some euro's in the uk.. they most of the time will refuse them. theu are staying with the good old pound and pence
I flew Delta and Korean Air overseas recently and they both had pretty good food.
People used to get dressed in their Sunday best when they flew.
Now they wear pajama's or gym clothes. They try to find the absolute
cheapest ticket they can. Then bitch about the food and
how tight the seats are.
Coco2121. I paid a premium to fly on what is considered a "premium" airline and on a direct flight. I paid DOUBLE what I paid 5 years ago (at the same time of year). Yes, the seats were squeezed quite a bit more tightly. But I really don't feel that I am out of line for complaining about the food being so subpar that it made me physically ill.
Oh, double what I paid 5 years ago. Same time of year (both trips were in April) and same exact airline.
Very similar to the movie theatre patrons' attire through the years!
Just flew Air France last week. The food on the flight home on Friday made me EXTREMELY ill. Airlines have really made flying a miserable experience by cutting costs.
I've always found Air France to be better than most. Given a choice I'll go with Air France. Their service has always been above average and I've never had complaints about the food.
they did that to you because they probably knew you were american...
They serve food on airlines?
LOL!!! How old are you?
Our planes are pretty spectacular, and so is our Texas food. Enjoy!!
I remember many years ago flying on Braniff and having something they called a "Branwich" and it was delicious!!!!
Ha!! Great Memory Don...Makes me wonder if Sonny Bryan's became famous because of Braniff? Another Great Braniff haunt...Dunston's Steak House on Harry Hines Blvd.
i came back from vn in 1969 on an orange DC8 with BI in large black letters on the vertical stab...i still have a blanket from that fllight...a gift of one of the f/a's. braniff will always be #1 with me...i know tom would have hated to see if go.
Want good service?
Fly on an Asia based airline.
85 years for Airline meals to become sub-par
Asiana Airlines, based out of Seoul-Incheon totally rocks. Always a choice of two or three entrees, and they are usually pretty tasty.
85 years?! Doesn't this stuff have an expiration date?
Thanks for the memories,Jim. As a Special friend of mine is streaking through the skies to Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix,AZ it makes me wonder...Do the peanuts taste better at 30,000 feet?
THE BEST airplane food I have ever eaten was DEFINITELY on Cathay Pacific!! Although, Turkish Air wasn't all that bad... Cathay Pacific did blow it out of the water though. Lots of seafood and I am obsessed with seafood. I loved the trolley car that would come up and down the aisle, it was like a moving buffet! I didn't have to go anywhere lol!
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