How Altitude and Noise Affect Taste of Airplane Food

In a lofty video essay for Cheddar, producer Patrick Jones explains why airplane food leaves a little something to be desired. He starts off with the history of food service on flights, beginning with the brown bag lunches of the early days of flight. The next few stages were more about accommodating opulence and wealth, as the rich were the only ones who could take flights. After the 1978 Airline Deregulation Act, flights became more affordable with different classes flying at one time.

In 1978 President Jimmy Carter signed the Airline Deregulation Act. The law altered the course of the entire airline industry pun intended. Before the airline industry was deregulated the Civil Aeronautics Board told which airlines could fly what routes and even set prices prices that Congress had deemed to be inflated.

Jones then goes back to why airplane food isn’t all that good. He explains that it’s a combination of recycled air and loud noise that affects a human’s sense of taste.

The lack of humidity is an issue because it affects your ability to taste. Let’s also remember that food can go dry because it’s under that same lack of humidity. Your sense of smell works with the moisture in the air and if that moisture is not there you won’t be able to taste things as well as you can on the ground. …constant loud noises such as a plane engine also dulls your sense of taste.