Monday, January 23, 2012

Why Do In-Flight Meals Taste Different?

Despite the lavish menu offered on those rare occasions that you manage to afford to fly first class; have you ever wondered why in flight meals / airline food taste different in comparison to their ground-level counterparts?

By: Ringo Bones

Imagine that this is one of those rare occasions that you’ve managed to afford yourself to fly first class and you’ve been served a course that previously you can only get when a wealthy relative or co-worker has a lavish wedding reception. Have you ever noticed how that well-reviewed up-market white wine that you’ve just been served tasted a little more sour compared to the last time you tasted one in a rich co-workers wedding reception? Or come to think of it, why the sudden craving for tomato juice?

Recent studies conducted on in-flight meals / airline food served by major airline companies have shown that lowered cabin pressure and lowered prevailing relative humidity in the passenger plane’s cabin as soon as it has reached cruising altitude of around 35,000 feet affects how most foods and beverages taste compared to the ones served at ground-level. The average cabin pressure of a plane in a typical airliner reaching cruising altitude of 35,000 feet is similar to the prevailing air pressure found on top of a mile-high / 5,000 feet high mountain. But to what extent does the lowered cabin pressure and relative humidity affect the taste of airline foods and beverages on offer?

To wine connoisseurs, heavy earthy wines tend to retain their ground-level taste even after the plane reaches a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet while lighter white wines tend to taste more sour. And to those watching their salt/ dietary sodium and sugar intake, be careful, because a reduced air pressure and humidity can reduce our tongues’ ability to perceive saltiness and sweetness by as much as 30%, so airline foods tend to contain 30% more sugar and salt than average. And for some strange reason, tomato juice tend to taste better in the reduced air pressure and relative humidity of an airliner reaching their cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, so be prepared for tomato juice cravings if you have ever tried drinking one in-flight.

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