Why Airline Food Tastes So Bad

I hate to start off with a title like that since I’m in the food industry and understand the issues airlines need to face to run their catering operations, but apparently it isn’t the food, it’s the atmosphere.

Airplane food tastes bad because your brain can’t handle the noise

For as long as there have been hack comedians, humanity has pondered the question: “What’s the deal with airline food?” Well, science has figured it out: airplanes are just too damn loud for food to taste good.Generally speaking, it’s not just that airplane food tastes bad – most passengers, when asked, report that the food is bland and a bit flavorless. Airlines have been very heavily seasoning and salting their foods for years in an attempt to counteract that, but they don’t have much success to show for it. As it turns out, it might have been easier to just figure out a way to make the engines run silently.

It’s an interesting premise.  I haven’t witnessed it myself though.  If we just talk about foods we are familiar with, I don’t think a red delicious apple tastes different on the ground or in the air.  I do wear some Shure earbud headphones which are practically an ear plug also (passive noise canceling) but that amplifies noise from chewing.  I also don’t notice any difference between beverages.  Maybe there is some taste memory so since I’m eating a red delicious apple and know what it should taste like it will taste that way unless it is bad.  In that case I’d need to eat 1/2 of a sandwich onboard and 1/2 of a sandwich in a quite location and determine a difference.

Until then I think this is an interesting hypothesis and making a quieter airplane would be very nice, but there isn’t a correlation to me.