The best way to deal with airplane travel eats and drinks and get the best service? Serve yourself! Between waiting for an hour or more for the smallest glass of water (or other drink) in a plastic cup, or having the choice between overpriced, awful eats, I find it best to just bring-my-own-everything. I can eat and drink what makes me feel good, and enjoy it when I want.
Here are 8 tips for fresher, cleaner, healthier, and tastier airplane eats and drinks:
- Take a reusable water bottle. Fill it before getting on the plane, after security (bars are a good bet). You will avoid waiting on board for a fill, and won’t need to buy bottled water.
- Take a travel mug/container for your hot beverage of choice. I always travel with a small bag full of instant drinks and my favourite teas, and fill it before getting on the plane as well. The water on the plane always tastes funky and again, the waiting thing. My bottle keeps things hot for 8 hours, so even on a long flight, I can have my tea when I want to.
- Take your own cutlery. You won’t get through with your dinner knives, but a butter knife is OK. I have never had an issue take my sporks from Bambu or my to-go ware.
- Take your own containers full of (almost) anything you want. A note from experience: Do not take yogurt or hummus and count on it passing security, they change their mind about these being liquids or not it seems! Containers of liquids, non-solid food and personal items in your carry-on must be 100 ml/100 g (3.4 oz) or less. All containers must fit in one clear, resealable bag no more than 1L in capacity (I use reusable ones). The bag must be transparent so screening officers can easily see the contents. (Source: Canadian Air Transport Security Authority). Click here for up to date details in Canada, and check this app for up-to-date allowances from the US. A note on NEXUS: If you are travelling with NEXUS, make sure you do NOT use the kiosks, and see the person at the NEXUS desk to declare your airplane eats instead, otherwise you can lose your privileges.
- Buy something for your trip home too. Either fill your own containers again, or if that’s not an option, use the container the restaurant or store provides.
- If you have an instant oatmeal or some other food that requires hot water, fill your thermal bottle with hot water after going through security and you can make your food on the plane when you want.
- Take fresh fruit and veggies. Just wash them at home or at the hotel and put them in a container, or they will possibly take them away through security.
- Stick to nut-free snacks. As a mother of a child who is anaphylactic to all tree nuts and peanuts, I am sensitive to this even when traveling alone. Airlines often make last minute announcements about not being able to eats nuts on a flight, and if that’s all you’ve brought with you, you’ll be back to relying on the airline eats.
It’s interesting how the airplane travel and the airline industry are focused on airplane exhaust/chem trails, but the waste generated on each flight from food and drink packaging, newspapers, and food waste is huge. We have immediate control over this, so let’s eat and drink better, and waste a bit less, too. Call me crazy, I’m good with that, but I think everything tastes better when eaten with real cutlery and not sipped out of plastic.
Also, please check out my Eco-Travel Roundup for more of my tips and tricks for taking conscious habits on vacation.