What’s the deal with airplane food?

Despite its notorious reputation, airline food remains a $6 billion industry that, for the most part, is shrouded in secrecy. Though full food service on domestic routes has largely disappeared on flights shorter than four hours, international and first-class passengers remain reliant on these miniature meals. The ever-evolving menus are conceived by the individual airlines’ culinary teams who consider flight routes and zones, seasonality, food trends, and seating assignments; the meals can cost the airline anywhere from $4 per head for coach to $100 for international first class. From there, catering partners prepare the meals and refrigerate them for reheating at 30,000 feet—and for competitive reasons, airlines rarely reveal which company they use. These teams continue to tinker with recipes and elevate standards, lest they become an easy target for oft-traveling comedians. Vox has the flight plan. 

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