Is fine gourmet food tasteless at 35,000 feet?
Passengers often describe airline food as tasteless, but menus have been improving recently. There is a trend among full-service carriers in Europe to create additional “gourmet” menus for all passengers – but for an extra fee for those seated in economy.
Air France serves foie gras terrine and Austrian Airlines has Wiener schnitzel and sushi on its €15 in-flight menu.
However, these menus may only have snob appeal. Scientists say that our ability to taste food decreases by 30% at most flight altitudes. The dry atmosphere and cabin air pressure affects the sensitivity of the taste buds. Dishes that taste great on the ground are hard to identify at 35,000 feet.
[pictured: Austrian Business Class meal; courtesy Austrian Airlines]