Nobody ever expects airplane food to set the standards for fine dining, but ever wonder why airline food tastes terrible?
Turns out it may not be the food.
Modern airplanes are pressurized so they can create a smoother flight at high altitudes, the upside is that you can breathe comfortable high in the air, the downside is that it affects your senses and your taste buds.
In a study done by German airline Lufthansa in 2010, they found that people’s ability to taste salty and sweet flavors could be diminished by as much as 30 percent, while the ability to taste sour, bitter, and spicy flavors remained relatively the same.
Also, cabins have decreased humidity, typically lower than 20% and that tends to dry out your nose and dulls the olfactory sensors essential for tasting the flavor of food.
People taste from the vapors of the food entering their nose as they are putting food in their mouth, and cabin pressurization can cause mucus membranes to swell, blocking this pathway not helping the cause.
The fact that the food is usually pre-cooked and refrigerated, and then reheated midflight does not help the cause either.
But don’t give up on airline food just yet, there are places like the Fraunhofer Instituted in Germany, that uses a simulated aircraft cabin environment to test different food flavors and smell for flight.