Surviving Long, Foodless Flights to Puerto Rico and Beyond
Apparently things were different before 9/11, but nowadays, airlines aren't just cheap, but they've reinvented cheapness in ways that really astound. If ever there could be a way to make air travel more inconvenient and uncomfortable, they've figured it out. So here's a couple ways you can make your flight more bearable.
We have a 14-hour, 23-minute flight, spanning some 5,000 miles, and that doesn't count how early we have to show up for check in. All this time, and there isn't even snack service on the flight. I won't name the airline, because I don't have to, they're all the same way in the domestic market. If you want nuts, however, you can buy them at higher-than-ballpark prices. Yikes.
Not to worry though, we know how to eat in transit, and that's without trying to stuff down a quick hamby, assuming you have time and that they're open, which you might not, and at the hours we're flying, they aren't. Tricky sentence with detached clauses? You should see the security rigmarole, that is tricky.
But if you want to eat well and make your fellow passengers jealous, there are two things to remember. You can bring all the snacks you want on the plane, and more importantly, anything you can make with hot water, you can make with "tea water" since they have that stuff on tap.
Here's an easy list of highly portable snacks to consider:
Chips & Crackers - You can get a variety pack of cookies, chips and crackers like those super tasty Cheez-Its. They're pretty small, but you can bring more than one, if you like, and it's a delicious way to pass the time.
Fruit Cups - Again, they ain't big, but they're healthy, and you know if they offered them on the plane, you'd eat them all the way to your destination.
Pudding & Jello Cups - They're only maybe three or four spoonfuls, if you dip as deep as I do and they're sure to make other people on the plane super jealous... especially the kids.
Candy Bars - What else can I say about this but candy bars, candy bars, candy bars!
Premium Nuts - Forget that consolation prize you don't even get any more, bring your own. Go easy with honey roasted, or hog wild with the likes of Macadamia or Pistachio.
Sandwich - It doesn't keep quite as well as traditional dry goods, but stop off at the deli on the way to the airport, splurge the five-bucks, and get something better than anything they serve in transit anywhere short of first-class.
Here's an even better list of foods that go great with hot water you can get on the plane:
Oatmeal - You can bring traditional, flavored Quaker oats packets and pour the contents in a cup provided by your flight attendant, or you can go even easier by getting the ready-cup that only requires a few ounces of hot water. Instant, baby, it's a great thing.
Cup-a-Soup - There are many different kinds, such as the cheap stuff most people like, or the much fancier kind you can get from the Asian grocer. Hot & sour, spicy beef, you name it, they make it, and all you need is a bit of hot water, and you've got the tastiest hot meal on a flight that doesn't even have cold snacks.
Hot cocoa - It's not food, but it can be comforting and, again, all you need is some toasty water.
While you're thinking ahead about your flight, pack a couple wet-naps, even if you're not a messy person, it's a nice way to degrease yourself after sitting stuffed in a speeding people-tube. Chapstick and Purell are nice too, but I'm not done suggesting my clever wisdom just yet.
Or go a little crazy with these absurd, just about doable ideas:
Mashed Potatoes - There are some really great brands of premium potato flakes that don't require butter or milk, just hot water and spoon to stir it. It's a bit silly, but not as silly as my other suggestions.
Mug-o-Bouillon - It's not a very tasty idea, but nothing says "I've got a hot cup of mostly dissolved chicken concentrate" quite like a steaming cup of half-melted bouillon enjoyed at 30,000 feet.
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup - It's ridiculous, but there's a product called Soup Starter that only requires hot water. Take some of that, add a can of pre-cooked chicken, and you've got a slightly crunchy, tepid, homemade chicken noodle soup while flitting through the jet stream. It's a terrible idea, but you'd be pretty darn memorable.
Not-So-Easy Mac - It only takes hot water, plus 3-minutes in the microwave. All you're missing is the microwave, so chow down on macaroni al dente and find out for yourself if other passengers are jealous, curious, or just disturbed.
Stovetop Stuffing - Why not? Add scalding water, give it a stir, you've got everything you need right there. While you're at it, you can bring a pack of instant gravy and mix that up right too. It won't taste quite right, and you'll surely be the weirdo of the flight, but it's something to think about.
Until a passenger's bill of rights becomes reality, or people actually convince the airlines that they're willing to pay an extra $5 or $10 to be treated decently in-flight, this is the best we can do. It's not common knowledge, but it's knowledge, and I share it with you free of charge. And why? Because I care.
Above - Put it in your mouth or on top of your head, either way it's a meal in flight and that's nothing to laugh about these days.
Above - You can see a sampling of the many, tasty selections we're bringing on our flight. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.