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Travel Tip: What Happens to Your Taste Buds on Airplanes

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796px-EVA_Air_Hello_Kitty_mealOn the rare occasion that you get a hot meal on a plane, you might notice it doesn’t exactly have that home-cooked flavor. Why? Because it’s next to impossible to make food taste good on planes.

The fact is, your taste buds are heavily affected when you’re 30,000 feet in the air. The change in air pressure can reduce your sense of taste by as much as 30 percent!

Add in all that dry air and it’s a miracle we can taste anything at all.

That’s why so much of airline food is extra spicy or salty.

Airlines are pulling out a lot of tricks to try to improve their food, at least in first and business class and on long-haul flights.

Etihad Airways actually raises its own chickens and bees to provide ingredients in flight.

American Airlines is consulting with celebrity chefs like Richard Sandoval and Marcus Samuelsson to design its menus.

Plus, because water boils at a lower temperature in the air, British Airways worked with Twinings to create a tea that brews better at a higher altitude.

There are no foolproof solutions, but at least they’re trying to make the experience a little better.

For more information, visit the Airlines & Airports and Culinary Travel Archives.

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