FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

About Your Airline Meals

When was the last time you ate one of your meals on an international flight?

I’m talking about steerage, because that’s the only way I can afford to travel.  Always at the back of the plane, right in front of the row with the screaming babies.  Forget about noise and space and think for a minute about getting to the airport the required three hours before flight time.  When the dinner is finally served (about an hour and a half after departure) it’s been six or seven hours since you’ve last eaten.

On my recent flight from Washington (Dulles) to Munich, this is what I was served for dinner: a stale roll with a pad of margarine; a wilted salad probably weighing  one ounce; a goop of pudding for the end of the meal and the entrée: identified as the “chicken” dinner.  And that entrée?  Perhaps an ounce and a half of plain white rice; two carrot slivers the size of a United States quarter; one piece of broccoli, not much bigger than the carrots; and—finally—a sliver of chicken about the length of a paper clip. All served plain, with no sauce or seasoning.

I figure that the entrée cost 1½ cents for the rice; 1 cent for the vegetables; two cents for the chicken, i.e., for a grand total for 4½  cents.  Maybe with the uneatable dinner roll, the salad and the dessert another four cents; but if I am off a bit in my calculations here, it is obvious that the meal cost United Airlines no more than ten cents—and that’s being generous by any measurement.  United Airlines must have spent more money on the 12 gram (less than a half an ounce) bag of pretzel sticks I was handed when I purchased my drink than what the entrée cost.  Shouldn’t the pretzel money be spent on a better entrée?

Does this meal work for you after six hours without eating?  Would it ease any of your hunger pangs?

I lucked out on my return flight home (from London to Washington) by ordering the exotic vegetarian dinner: yellow rice, including the odd pea mixed in it (3 cents cost); curried chick peas masala (3 cents); cooked spinach (3 cents).  I estimated that that entrée cost you nine cents, but at least it had some flavor and evidence of a gourmet cook (I’m joking, of course).  Since I had assumed the worst, I brought a large sandwich along on that second flight—since I didn’t see any reason to starve again—but should I be expected to do that on an expensive international flight?

So here’s my question besides concluding that meals prepared in the United States cannot actually be regarded as meals.  I know these are difficult times for airlines, but on the first flight you charged me $7.00 for a small bottle of cheap Australian wine.  It wasn’t even the normal split.  It was a plastic bottle with a trickle of wine in it that must have cost United Airlines 25 cents.  Couldn’t some of the enormous profit from that bottle of wine have underwritten a better meal?  Perhaps ten additional cents, thus doubling what you are currently paying for your entrées?

Do you really think that I will fly United in the future for any international flight?

I have a proposal for you—again because I understand that you have to cut corners somewhere.

Am I correct in concluding that United Airlines agrees with the recent Supreme Court Citizens United decision?  Corporations are people, yes?  If that’s so, and if these are such needy days for United Airlines, why don’t you apply for food stamps?  And then since you will clearly qualify on both counts (United Airlines is a people and your corporation is going hungry), take those food stamps and spend a little more on each entrée for your international flights.  Not for the meals for the top one percent in First Class but those of us who have put up with the innumerable humiliations of flying third class.

What do you think?  Will this work?

Let me know when I can begin flying United Airlines again.

Yours sincerely,

Charles R. Larson

Charles R. Larson is Emeritus Professor of Literature at American University in Washington, D.C.  Email: clarson@american.edu.

 

More articles by:

Charles R. Larson is Emeritus Professor of Literature at American University, in Washington, D.C. Email = clarson@american.edu. Twitter @LarsonChuck.

December 12, 2018
Arshad Khan
War, Anniversaries and Lessons Never Learned
Paul Street
Blacking Out the Yellow Vests on Cable News: Corporate Media Doing its Job
David Schultz
Stacking the Deck Against Democracy in Wisconsin
Steve Early
The Housing Affordability Crisis and What Millennials Can do About It
George Ochenski
Collaboration Failure: Trump Trashes Sage Grouse Protections
Rob Seimetz
Bringing a Life Into a Dying World: A Letter From a Father to His Unborn Son
Michael Howard
PETA and the ‘S’-Word
John Kendall Hawkins
Good Panopt, Bad Panopt: Does It Make A Difference?
Kim C. Domenico
Redeeming Utopia: a Meditation On An Essay by Ursula LeGuin
Binoy Kampmark
Exhuming Franco: Spain’s Immemorial Divisions
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Democratizing Money
Laura Finley
Congress Must Reauthorize VAWA
December 11, 2018
Eric Draitser
AFRICOM: A Neocolonial Occupation Force?
Sheldon Richman
War Over Ukraine?
Louis Proyect
Why World War II, Not the New Deal, Ended the Great Depression
Howard Lisnoff
Police Violence and Mass Policing in the U.S.
Mark Ashwill
A “Patriotic” Education Study Abroad Program in Viet Nam: God Bless America, Right or Wrong!
Laura Flanders
HUD Official to Move into Public Housing?
Nino Pagliccia
Resistance is Not Terrorism
Matthew Johnson
See No Evil, See No Good: The Truth Is Not Black and White
Maria Paez Victor
How Reuters Slandered Venezuela’s Social Benefits Card
December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail