Another beautiful hot, Sunday morning here in Cowtown, perfect for browsing the net. I ran across this address in the Food Section of the Star-Telegram this morning: AirlineMeals.net. It looked like fun and is. Especially if you have flown a lot or worked in the aircraft industry. I have been lucky enough to have done a little of both.
Skip Skipworth and I were visiting about airline meals the other day. When I worked for TWA in San Francisco in 1953, my job was to enter the airplane after passengers and crew had departed. I picked up and reviewed the forms and also rode the brakes with a mechanic from the gate to our maintenance area. Flight 38 Red Carpet from New York to San Francisco was my favorite arrival. All First Class and we really did roll out a red carpet when the passengers deplaned. We took a short dinner break about the time the plane arrived and the mechanic and I always raided the galley. The airline always provided more food than was needed for the number of passengers on board. I don't know why unless some passenger might request more than one meal.
These meals were something this old country boy had never seen. I had seen tenderloin and T-bone steak but never bacon wrapped filet mignon! Fried chicken but never pheasant under Plexiglas and never, ever wine with a meal! Those were just a few of the meals the mechanic and I partook of on the trip to the hangar. They would have been tossed by Sky Chef when they replenished the galley anyway so we didn't consider it stealing.
Over thirty years later, 1984, I flew first class TWA from Dallas to Cairo, Egypt. The food and service were still just as good as I remembered. The Flight Attendants were pretty cute too. I can't say that much for some other airlines. Japan was all right if you like to ride in seats that appear to be seven-eighths the size of other airlines. Two menus to choose from, Western and Japanese. In for a penny, in for a pound I always say. I chose the Japanese. My first experience with sushi, raw eel. I didn't recognize the eel or might have gone Western. Come to think of it, about the only thing I recognized was the rice. One nice little touch before the meal was served--hot towels. Very refreshing.
Today's meals on all tourist class flights consists of peanuts and pretzels or pretzels and peanuts. Take your choice, they are both stale and because of labor problems, served by a surly Flight Attendant ready to give you an attitude adjustment with very little provocation.
Lufthansa was a nice experience. In 1985, I had to fly home from Germany aboard one of their 747s. I had broken my leg a few days earlier and doctors at the hospital in Wiesbaden had placed me in a body cast to immobilize the limb. This made it very awkward but the Frauliens came through. They removed the arm rest, fashioned a bed and propped me up for the long nonstop flight to Dallas. They even helped me go potty which I really appreciated. All in a days work the way they approached it.
I have not flown commercially since March 2002. We attended funeral services for my father in law in Detroit and flew Northwest. We had the typical peanuts and pretzels both ways but while we were waiting for the order to board the plane I spotted the pilot. Something about him was familiar and I introduced myself. He said I looked familiar too and then we figured it out. When he was in the reserve, he ferried F-16s from Carswell to different bases. I had launched him several times but didn't recognize him at first without his helmet and other gear. We had a nice chat before we boarded and I was feeling pretty good about seeing him. Nonie and I have a joke, that I will run in to someone I know from my past every where we go and today was no exception. About an hour in to the flight, the Flight Attendant from First Class came by and wanted to know if I was B.F. Worden. Then she wanted to know if I preferred white or red wine. I thought it might be some sort of survey so I told her "white." She returned with a magnum of imported wine and announced it was compliment of the captain in appreciation for my contribution to flying.
Fortunately, I didn't impress anyone enough to be bugged by autograph hounds when we landed although I did receive one admiring glance from the two year old little boy seated in front of us.
So, if you are bored, have flown a lot or never, take a look at the website. Some history there and bound to make you thankful you don't have to survive on airline food.