Remember When Airplane Meals Were Included With the Price of the Ticket?

Remember when meals on an airplane were included with the price of the ticket?

I do.

I don’t recall the airplane meals being anything like what I would normally consider food. But still I liked them and looked forward to them. Airline food had a special taste and consistency that I could enjoy back in the days when my digestive system could still hit a curve ball.

If the flight was long enough to be considered meal-worthy, the “steward” or “stewardess” (the ancient names for flight attendants) would serve each passenger breakfast, lunch, or dinner, depending on the time of day. My favorite meal was dinner, followed by a distant lunch and an even more distant breakfast. Lunch was just some turkey with a squeezable packet of Hellman’s, and breakfast was allegedly “eggs” and “sausage” but no laboratory could confirm this. But dinner was always great, and the main reason was because of the dessert.

Dessert was the crown jewel of the plastic divider plates, and carrot cake was the dominant dessert. I was on a flight to Florida to see my grandparents and eat ice cream every day when I had my first taste of airplane carrot cake. I went down the aisle of the plane, asking people if they were going to eat their carrot cake, or if they were going to finish their carrot cake if they had already started on it but looked like they might be full.

The most memorable airplane experience was when I flew to Vancouver Island the summer before my senior year of high school to spend two weeks studying killer whales and whether they preferred cable or satellite. The in-flight desert was a Table Talk apple pie. I wolfed mine down and then asked my classmates if they were going to eat theirs. Word spread quickly throughout the Boeing 747 that I was willing to eat unwanted Table Talk apple pie, free of charge, and the white and red boxes were piling up on my fold down tray. I was only halfway done when they announced that we were landing and had to put the tray tables back in their upright positions and that our Captain had turned on the “no-gluttony” sign.

Those days are over. Today, the flight attendants go down the aisle asking if anyone wants to purchase food. I don’t know if they sell dessert because I am too cheap to find out. I’m sure that some economics professor could prove to me on the back of a napkin that tickets would just be more expensive if the meals were included, and that this pricing model is really more efficient because people who don’t want meals can elect to forgo them and thereby reduce their flying costs. Of course, the professor would have to bring the napkin because I won’t pay for that, either.

Soon you’ll have to pay extra for a seat. The passengers will be standing on the plane as it taxis towards the runway, and the flight attendants will go down the aisle, asking three passengers at a time whether they would like to purchase a seat for the flight. Most people will decline the offer, because they will refuse to pay for something that used to be included. I know this because I will be one of them.

0 thoughts on “Remember When Airplane Meals Were Included With the Price of the Ticket?

  1. Hey, your idea for your blog is great and your posts are very funny and well written. I’ve read them before and bookmarked your blog.

    It would really be great if you put a tag cloud or categories on your front page because I reckon lots of people would immediately go “oh, I wonder if he’s written about….xyz?” but there’s no quick way to find out. Eg, I’d love to see if you’ve written about cassettes for example, or answering machines (which I just talked about a bit in a post) but I have no way to find out, other than check through every post in your archives. But love the blog!

  2. Hello, I just left a comment and then looked through all your archives and it seemed as though you haven’t written on either cassettes or answering machines yet, so there’s 2 ideas for you that I’ll look forward to reading about sometime! My interest in answering machines was because I was writing something about the song “Hello, this is Joanie” (you might remember it?) so I looked up the clip on Youtube, and the answering machine depicted in the clip was halariously HUMUNGUS! The phone was sitting on top of it! They must have become much smaller before they actually became common household items. In country towns in Australia, anyway!

  3. Haha! An European company have actually suggested standing seats thus making more room and cheaper flights. No kidding. Look up Ryan Air. They are the worst, I think you have to pay to use the toilet now as well. Never used them, never will, I guess!!

    I did not fly until I was 15 or something, so I was to late for any type of food!

  4. Welcome to Delta, would you a seat for your flight today?

    That’s great. One strategy to consider for getting food still. Find an elderly woman. They usually don’t eat much of their meal. Politely ask for the leftovers. They might be afraid of you, but those meals are expensive.

  5. Wow. I… didn’t know meals weren’t included. I mean, I fly a lot, but mostly overseas aka 8 hours plus. I’ve always had at least two meals. Huh. Does this “no-meal” policy apply only to shorter flights?

  6. I may be in the minority here, but I like airplane food. These days, I fly Delta overseas, and I’ve never had to pay for a meal. I still remember the pizza I got on a return flight from England in 1994. It was that good! Which airline is making you pay for the food? -Jen

  7. Ohh you brought back such wonderful memories of inflight service. I use to be one of those Stewardess’ and our flights served three course meals in first class which we harbored a carving set to use on the roast. Imagine getting that through security… The dessert was a full blown cake, accompanied by your favorite liqueur and coffee served in real china cups….And a plane ticket cost half the price it does now.
    spread the humor:

  8. I abhor plane travel. I don’t do it very often, but it makes me very anxious. Anxious as in: Will I be expected to fly the plane in exchange for a seat on it? If I lose enough weight, will I have to share my seat with another slim passenger? If I stretch my legs out and my feet reach underneath the passenger’s seat in front, will I have to pay a portion of his or her ticket? Will I not be let off the plane until I use the supplied hand vacuum and clean my area?

    Criminy. I’d walk if I had the time and enough comfy shoes.

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