Sunday, January 13, 2013

How to Eat First Class in Coach


Comfortable airline travel might be as old-fashioned as steamer trunks, but you can still eat well— even in coach.  As we all know, sitting in coach on any airline these days particularly flying domestic, is sheer travel torture.  But it is the way most of us must travel, even if our employer is paying.  Business class is simply too expensive for most companies, and particularly most people in these lean economic times. 

airplane meal coach
Part of a recent lunch I packed myself for a flight from Austin, TX to Washington, DC.



So what are your options for eating well in coach?  You can buy a boring overpriced lunch box on some airlines, pick-up some unhealthy take-out at the airport, or pack an appetizing, filling, healthy lunch before you head for the airport.  Yes you can bring food through security, so long as you have ALL of your liquids packed properly and stored in a 1-quart Ziploc bag.  
An American Airlines Snack Pack.
It's been my experience that when one searches for articles on healthy delicious snacks or meals to pack on flight, they are either useless or way too complicated— often involving freezing food, or in some cases even heating up pasta by asking the flight attendant for hot tea, pouring it over the pasta until it's hot, and then draining the water back into the hot water cup. Really? I barely have room to move when flying coach let alone set-up a mini kitchen.  However I have been traveling for a long time, both coach and business, domestic and international, and I've learned a few things about what makes for a good in-flight meal and I've learned you can pack one yourself without a lot of work or hassle. 

Having flown business class a number of times, I'll never forget when I took an international flight across the Pacific from Los Angeles to Taipei on a highly rated international carrier.  We were given course after course of light fare combined with a small but satisfying dinner.  Most of the plates of fruit, cheese, and appetizers were cut small and made easy to digest.  Since then, I've always been sure pack small, easy to eat portions for air travel. 

For my most recent voyage, I packed a kale salad with carrot, tomato, a good amount of salt and pepper, red onion and a coating of olive oil and lemon juice.  I also packed some red bell pepper, celery and carrot sticks with a nice healthy dash of salt. Yes I know we shouldn't eat too much salt, but at high altitudes your tastebuds diminish, and with liquid bans being so strict, I generally try and not run the risk of having my lunch confiscated because my hummus was too moist.  

I also packed a little charcuterie, which I enjoyed with my complimentary Ritz crackers on Southwest, combined with a fish taco and a little cheezy Texas spoetzel from supper the night before.  In total it took me about 20 minutes to pack the whole thing and store for my flight the next day. 

One of the reasons I like to use finely chopped kale for an in-flight salad, is because it tends to stay nice and crunchy, unlike lettuce which tends to welt and become soggy when seasoned and chilled overnight.  Fresh green leaf lettuce would probably work well too.  Also, when you salt and dress your salads, veggies and entrees the night before, the food absorbs the flavors better.  Next time you look to pack an in-flight meal, pack something that will be good cold, as some of the best in-flight meals I've ever eaten, including business class meals provided by the airline were served cold. Also follow these tips to ensure you have something healthy and tasty to take your mind off the sardine can that you're in. 

1. Get a bento box.  I use this one

2. Prepare bite-sized, easy to eat meals that will keep well overnight and until your flight. 

3. Avoid liquids in your packed meal. 

4. If you pack alcohol (which you can) pack it into 3 oz. travel-sized containers and put it in your required 1 quart Ziploc bag to get through security, and be somewhat discreet when in-flight.  You can pre-mix some pretty awesome in-flight cocktails with the complimentary drinks available. 

Bon Appetit


 


Oh and P.S. this is one of the worst flu seasons we've had in a very long time, so be sure and wash, wash, wash your hands and do not touch your face! Especially while at the airport.  Also, be sure and keep a little bottle of hand sanitizer with you at all times, and apply it before and after you get on the plane.  That recycled plane air isn't the best when it comes to avoiding germs so do your part!


My sister thinks it's funny to sneak up on me and take unfortunate pictures. Little does she know she has inspired me to remind people to avoid the flu by washing their hands :)



Wine Tasting Program

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