Junk snack food on planes

It's my holiday and I'll eat this if I want to. Photo by Lars Ploughmann.

The Wall Street Journal reports that airlines in the US are struggling to figure out what fliers really want when it comes to food. Despite doing their darndest to introduce healthier items onto their in-flight menus in a bid to get passengers to purchase food, airlines are finding it’s really the cheeseburgers, chips and candy that travelers want.

“United Airlines tried offering “active” and “organic” snack boxes with high-protein, low-fat and organic items, but ended up donating thousands to food banks before eliminating them from the menu. The best-selling item at United and Continental airlines now: A 553-calorie “tapas” snack box for $8.49 stuffed with nine different items, including three different kinds of crackers plus olives, hummus, cheese spread, almonds and candy.”

Now, that doesn’t sound so unhealthy to me, but then, what do I know? According to one dietician quoted in the article, that snack box is only okay if you’re sharing it with two of your fellow passengers.

Anyway, the real question is why are we choosing to eat so much junk mid-air? If you listen to what the experts say, it’s because we’re bored and want to nibble – which a can of Pringles certainly makes easier to do. But I think the real reason is because we’re on holiday – and when you’re on holiday, you want to indulge a little. Which means if I feel like a cheeseburger, a cheeseburger is what I’ll have. Of course, this is coming from the person that used to eat those unidentifiable gelatinous desserts that were an obligatory accompaniment to formerly free airline meals, so perhaps I’m simply lacking in common sense when at 35,000 feet. Still, it’s food for thought.

What do you think? What kind of foods do you eat on a plane and why?