Not a political diatribe, not to fear.
One of my very favorite websites is AirlineMeals; I enjoy reading about food in any form, but somehow the multitude of reviews and pictures of not just your mainstream airlines, but ones like Air Kazahkstan and Air Vanuatu feels like the most self-indulgent form of armchair travel. For someone who really can't stand flying, but likes the *idea* of flying, this is a great treat.
What isn't a great treat, though, is digging through these reviews over time and realizing that most travellers are, frankly, big whingers. I don't know about you, but I've accepted the reality of air travel for the last, oh, 30 years: it's NOT A FIVE STAR RESTAURANT IN THE SKY. Flight attendants are NOT WAITRESSES. Nor are they your airborne mommies, but that's another rant. Some reviews on AirlineMeals are fairly positive, albeit surprised, but the vast majority talk about "hard bagels" and "tasteless rice" and "soggy vegetables". Okay. Ignoring the fact that pretty much sums up most people's "home-cooking", let's understand one simple thing. Everyone flies. EVERYONE FLIES. I don't care if you're flying first class on Singapore Airlines or chartering a FunJet to Las Vegas, you can find pretty much the whole gamut on airplanes.
And that's a good thing, that almost anyone can get where they need to go, reasonably quickly (at least compared to other travel options). But therein is the point: it's transportation. It's not a dining experience. The fact that you get fed at all is now amazing, which is maybe an understandable gripe, but I for one would rather have something in my stomach, regardless of quality.
I'd like to think that most of these bitching reviews are posted for the entertainment value afforded, say, me, but that's not the case, sadly. I really think these travellers expect a level of personalized, impeccable service that went the way of the 707s. I'm not so sure that's a bad thing, though; I mean, for the price of a standard airline ticket, we had a dinner at the famous
French Laundry in Yountville, California (just up the road for us). And to tell you the truth, it wasn't the greatest meal I've ever had in my life. It was good, but it wasn't spectacular. The service was pretty good, and the wine list was extensive. But for the same money, I could have gone to London, or Hawaii, or possibly even farther given some luck on the discount travel agency sites.
And I would have probably gotten some food on those flights too, but the French Laundry didn't send a car to pick me up.
by at January 02, 2005 2:15 PM