If you don't think in-flight meals taste so great, you're not crazy. Fact is, even the snacks you pack for the trip probably won't taste that great either, making the whole flight suck a little more. Here's the reason why, and what you can do to make it better.
Sure, in-flight meals aren't usually that high of quality to begin with, but there's actually some science to why your taste buds aren't captivated by your meal. Chemist-turned-baker Janice Lawandi, PhD, at The Kitchn explains that it all comes down to your environment:
The science of taste and smell is complex... both senses require humidity to function optimally, and those senses are key to your eating experience. Depending on the flight's altitude, the humidity levels can drop below 15 per cent, which is less humid than a desert. With less moisture available and a low cabin pressure, taste buds are much less sensitive to salty and sweet. More importantly, odor receptors can't do their job. Just like when you have a cold or a stuffy nose, if you have trouble smelling the food, your sense of taste is also dulled.
On top of that, the noise of the plane itself can have an effect on you. So what can you do to actually get some flavour? Lawandi suggests you go for the umami. Your "fifth taste" remains intact and may even be strengthened by the dry air. Go for foods that are served with savoury sauces, or things with mushrooms, soy sauce or tomatoes. Even a glass of tomato juice might be enough to fulfil your need for flavour. You can learn more at the link below.
Why Does Food Eaten on an Aeroplane Taste so Blah? [The Kitchn]