I'll never forget the first time I did a solo backpacking trip to Europe and was given a gift of enough air miles to fly first class! I flew Alitalia and, let me tell you, they fed me nonna-style: constantly. And it was divine. And that was AFTER I had spent three weeks in Italy eating some of the freshest most amazing food I'd ever tasted. To this day, every time I step on a plane I have my fingers crossed that we'll be served some of that delicious pasta.
Or the time I took a short-haul flight on Air Canada during Oktoberfest season and had a tasty sausage and spaetzle meal. It took me years of asking my German friends what that "kinda crunchy, tiny, kinda pasta-y" dish was. I now own a spaetzle maker, thank you very much. I know what you're all thinking: "Food - a HOT meal - on a short-haul flight?? No, no, my friend. You are mistaken." Trust me, it was nearly 15 years ago when times were good.
I realize that those two experiences may be unbelievable exceptions to the rule, but last month when we flew to Vietnam on Air Canada, we experienced a new low in air "fare". The first leg of our journey was a 15 hour, non-stop flight from Toronto to Hong Kong. We departed at 10am and about an hour in, they served lunch.
My 1 year old son, who is a fantastic eater, gobbled his with gusto. I sat back and began to relax, thinking that the next 12 hours or so would be just fine if the rest of our meals were like that. A few hours later the flight attendants started wheeling out their carts and I heard them say to the passengers across the aisle "Soup and sandwich?" Huh. Soup on a plane? An odd choice, I thought, but JR was getting antsy so the timing was perfect. Just then, the flight attendant looked over at me, with JR on my lap and as I nodded to her, she gingerly placed a . . . CUP NOODLE . . . on my tray. Um, I was about to object, but honestly, what choice did I have? Now, I know I didn't pay as much as the people in Business Class, but over-processed, MSG-laden Cup Noodles in a styrofoam cup?! The same Cup Noodles that desperate university students by at the dollar store?? I was handed a pair of chopsticks and left to my own devices. My son thought me trying to feed him impossibly long, curly noodles while he sat on my lap was a riot. So too did my fellow passengers when he started wearing the noodles. Meanwhile, I was silently outraged and furiously wrote a strongly worded letter to the CEO in my head.
I would have loved to pack my own meals, as this NY Times article suggests, but "pack 24 hours worth of meals for two adults and 1 toddler" just didn't make it on my to-do list...I'll know better for next time!
Misery loves company, as they say, so tell me about your worst air fare!