TR AV EL TRUTH

Are you al­lowed a se­cond air­line meal? Oliver Smith asks for more

The Sunday Telegraph - Travel - - East Asia -

The idea of hoard­ing plane food might seem lu­di­crous. Af­ter all, in-flight cui­sine has some­thing of a bad rep­u­ta­tion. Why would you want to eat more of it than is nec­es­sary?

But air­line meals have come a long way from the ined­i­ble gruel of yore. Thanks to food sci­en­tists and tal­ented chefs (even He­ston Blu­men­thal did a few shifts in the BA kitchen in 2011) it’s pos­si­ble to have a per­fectly sat­is­fy­ing sup­per at 35,000ft. So why stop at just one? Can pas­sen­gers ask flight at­ten­dants for a se­cond hot meal? Or a third? And what about a few more bags of nuts while you’re at it?

The answer is a re­sound­ing yes. “If a cus­tomer re­quests ad­di­tional food, be it a bag of pret­zels or an ice cream, we will try to ac­com­mo­date,” said a spokes­woman for Vir­gin At­lantic. “And if we have some [hot meals] left at the end of ser­vice, we can of­fer an­other.”

Bri­tish Air­ways no longer of­fers free meals on short-haul flights, but on long-haul routes, where food and drink is in­cluded, it has a sim­i­lar pol­icy. “In the un­likely event that a cus­tomer asks for an ex­tra meal, our cabin crew will ac­com­mo­date where pos­si­ble,” the com­pany said.

An Aeroflot spokesman said: “Re­quests for ex­tra food from pas­sen­gers are not turned down. Pas­sen­gers who ask for an ex­tra meal will be given one, sub­ject to avail­abil­ity.”

How of­ten will there be left­overs, then? Ac­cord­ing to fre­quent fliers, more of­ten than not. Stephan Se­graves, co-host of the air travel pod­cast Dots, Lines and Des­ti­na­tions, said: “When I have [asked for an ex­tra help­ing] in econ­omy, it was be­cause I was com­ing straight from work, usu­ally run­ning late for the flight and had no time to grab some­thing in the ter­mi­nal. I would ask the crew for an ex­tra, if they had any, when they were done with ser­vice. They were a lit­tle sur­prised, and one even said: ‘You sure you want sec­onds of this?’ – but all obliged.”

Nik Loukas, founder of the In­flightFeed blog, said: “I’ve asked for sec­onds a few times. I know it sounds weird ask­ing for more, but some­times I’ve been quite hun­gry or the por­tions have been small. I po­litely ask the crew, and I’ve yet to be met with a ‘No’.”

So if you’re still hun­gry af­ter your first meal, don’t be shy – ask for more. You may even want to pop a hot meal, or a few bags of crisps and a sand­wich, in your carry-on bag for con­sump­tion later. It could save you a few quid.

There are en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits, too. If pas­sen­gers don’t eat all the fresh food on board, it is sim­ply thrown in the bin. “At the end of the flight, am­bi­ent sealed items that have not been used or con­tam­i­nated will be reused on an­other flight,” said Vir­gin. “Our fresh prod­ucts will be thrown away as we have to be com­pli­ant with food safety reg­u­la­tions.”

Scoop­ing up all those left­overs will pre­vent good grub, and its pack­ag­ing, end­ing up as land­fill. Plas­tic waste is a hot topic and the air­line in­dus­try is re­spon­si­ble for pro­duc­ing more than five mil­lion tons of rub­bish every year, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Air Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion, and most of that ends up be­ing in­cin­er­ated or thrown into a very deep hole. Barely any­thing is re­cy­cled – so do your bit to help.

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