Dear New Flight Attendant- What You Don’t Know About Airplane Food

Dear New Flight Attendant,

Congratulations and welcome to the best and worst thing of your life.  This job is filled with many highs and many lows, and with all of my baking background, I’m not the FA to sugar coat things.  Today, I want to inform and help you with one of the issues that we face everyday…


When we all start the peanuts, candy, cookies, coffee, sodas, snacks, sometimes meals are great to carry you through the day, but you will soon learn you get tired of them.  Beef jerky and wasabi almonds kind of make me cringe now.


Side note: Surviving Airplane Food Is More Serious Situation Than You Think…Gross!!


Its hard to have decent meals on the plane.  Time and lack of supplies are always an issue.  Your day starts with a wake up call at an ungodly hour, traffic or freeway diversions, parking, employee bus, TSA, boarding, take-off, service, trash, and then finally a moment to think about yourself and remember your not just hungry, your starving!  So you reach for that airplane food.  I have learned over the years how to plan and organize.  I have also became a cold leftover connoisseur (Pizza is great. Tacos not so much). A warm meal becomes a delicacy.  Each and everyone of us becomes a MacGyver chef at some point in our flight attendant career.  We collect plastic utensils and condiment packets like they are going out of style.  We boil water in an empty soda cans in ovens and tinfoil is gold.

As a seasoned FA I feel it is my responsibility to help show you the ropes, so here are some of my recommended required items that you should never go to work without:

#1 Tin Foil: If you thought the job was hard on your nails… ALWAYS get heavy duty.


#2 Plasticware: There will be a day when you are in a hurry and forget to snag a couple from the restaurant in the terminal. You will be forced to eat your food with stir sticks, chop stick style.


#3 Instant Coffee: Planes break! Delays are a part of the job as well as lack of sleep. Pick your favorite so you can find a happy moment to escape to.


#4 Soup: Just incase, its always safe to have some sort emergency food in your bag. Protein drinks and bars only go so far. Be careful with cup of noodle… the sodium bloats and gives  a stomach ache.


#5 Oatmeal


#6 Your favorite condiment… hot sauce or seasoned salt


  • Storage in your bag can become a problem too.  We already look like bag ladies and men, so don’t waste your valuable storage space with used tupperware. I  found making meals at home and bagging them in plastic ziplock is the most efficient.  I could put in a microwave at my hotel or transfer it to tinfoil and cook it on the plane and throw it all out when I’m done.
  • Put your food in the oven before you do service, that way when you are done it’s ready and your not waiting.
  • Sometimes I make things in bulk and freeze them so I can grab and run.  You can freeze practically everything burritos, chili, anything…




Cupcake Lasagne

CAUTION: Not all frozen ready meals at the market are oven proof.

Other times I would boil noodles and pour sauce over it.


Pick your favorite noodles, pick your favorite pasta sauce… I like fettuccine with canned chicken. lol

Trying to stay  healthy is a factor too, and it can difficult when you are doing flight with agricultural restrictions.


Ready made salads in a bag are great! I’ve added canned chicken to these too 😉


Fruit is hard to get and these little packets are great.  They are under 100 calories too.  Baby food is another alternative.

When you get a good crew there is nothing better.  Potlucks are like mini parties and can be really fun.


Pick a theme and let everyone sign up for something. I have done breakfast burritos, burgers, hotdogs, baked potatoes, tacos, and many more

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Pizza could be fun 😀

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I like to surprise my friends with fun sweet snacks… Sure way to put a smile on sometimes sour faces.

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On other notes when I don’t have time to prepare I have been known to throw some raw meat in a bag with the salad dressing of my choice as a marinade.




For me this section is gold and I always keep at least one of these items in my freezer.

Other snack ideas:

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peanutbutter, jelly, etc.


Small fruits, berries, cut up vegetables

Good luck to all of you, and don’t stress out- it can be fun.

XO, Emily

Emily Food

About the Author Kara

Curious. Bubbly. Creative. Curating a life I don't need an escape from and inspiring you to do the same.

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