The art of eating on aircraft

So, here’s an interesting question… how do you tackle dinner on an aircraft where everything is packed together on a tiny plastic tray and balancing gingerly on a fold out table while the pilot tries his best to find the bumpiest patch of clear sky around?

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Well, I start by fitting everything onto the fold out table and positioning it so that anything that may fall off is something that will cause the minimum amount of damage. The exception to this is usually the wine which balances precariously over the edge of the indent in the table specifically design to fit the base of either the coffee cup or the wine glass but cunningly, not at the same time that the plastic dinner tray is on the table.

The next step involves very careful use of utensils in order to eat the food without knocking anything off. This can usually be accomplished fairly easily when the meal doesn’t actually require cutting anything other than a bread roll. If you are lucky enough, the butter won’t be frozen solid and therefore may actually be spreadable which also helps with the 3D gymnastics taking place in such a confined space directly over your lap where a spill would make the remaining 9 hours of an 11 hour flight very uncomfortable – not to mention embarrassing at the other end.

Having successfully completed the meal, it is now time to try to put everything back on the tray in order to give it back to the crew. This is more challenging than it sounds because the plastic wrapping has a habit of not crumpling up into a convenient ball and fitting inside the now empty hot meal container. Inevitably it unfolds itself and the lid springs off when you least expect it. After sitting for the next 15 minutes and trying not to tough anything in case it explodes, it is now possible to relax, extend one’s legs and look forward to the next 7 hours of being stuck in a small cramped economy class seat until having to repeat the procedure with breakfast served two hours too early.

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