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Why Does Airline Food Taste so Awful?
(Listen to the 1-minute Travel Audio PostCard)
Is it actually the food the airlines serve (when they do) that tastes so bad, or is it the flying experience make the food taste so awful?
Wired Magazine reported that a handful of brave volunteers made “the ultimate sacrifice for science” and ate airline food. Voluntarily.
Apparently a lab was set up that perfectly simulated the intense dryness, stale air and ear-irritating low pressure of airline cabins.
Germany’s Lufthansa Airlines spearheaded the experiment basically because they wanted some scientific sense of just how air travel affects the taste buds. So the volunteers were jammed into an Airbus A310 fuselage to find out.
From there, the hapless tasters were subjected to motors under the seats recreating the full sense of engine vibrations, while the ”cabin” air pressure was lowered and humidity reduced to a parching 15%.
The “flyers” were served various meals, tasted the food and, Wired reported, reported back that the “pressurized cabins dulled the senses,” causing food to taste as if it had 20% less sugar and salt than it actually did.
Lufthansa says it will correct the mistaste by adding more sugar, herbs and spices to liven up the flavor.
They say they’ll also add humidifiers and pay more attention to aroma.
It seems that the nose feasts before the palate so, according to one airline head of on board services: “If you serve hot brown water and fill the cabin with the aroma of coffee, people will perceive the drink as coffee.”
Of course they could just serve good coffee and let the natural aroma entice the passengers.
Now there’s a novel idea.