Why Is Airport Food So Terrible?

Why Is Airport Food So Terrible?

Kate Gagnon
May 29, 2014
(Image credit: Romulo Carvalho under CC BY 2.0)

This week, I ate a lot of dry Caesar salads and limp, over-refrigerated wraps with questionable expiration dates. Almost everything was dressed too much or not enough, and I washed it all down with light and sweet burnt coffee and possibly, maybe, the whipped cream top of a Frappuccino. No, I wasn't having some sort of bad streak in the kitchen where my taste buds went rogue and craved mediocre everything. I was traveling.

It struck me like it does every time I'm in an airport: Gosh, this is like a food lover's hell. Typically I spend at least 15 minutes cruising the options and making mental notes. I probably look idiotic pacing through the newsstand like a crazy as I survey the options with any protein whatsoever and settle on a bag of cheddar snack mix. If I choose something more substantial like a sandwich, I almost always happen by another kiosk that has slightly better looking options for slightly less coin. Inevitably this results in a strange purchaser's regret and more of me looking crazy while I walk around with luggage and psycho I-want-a-real-meal eyes.

Nowadays there are some passable sit-down restaurants at airports (even more passable than the airport Chili's, I swear), but I'm almost never early enough to make that a possibility. Plus, how down on my flight delay luck do I have to be to indulge in that $19 tuna avocado roll? Pretty down.

I guess everyone pretty much stopped brown bagging it to the airport with the introduction of the no liquid or gels policy a few years back. Now that the rules have loosened though, why don't I bring my own snacks to the airport? Homemade granola, quinoa salad, or even a casual charcuterie and cheese combo. Besides getting a few disposable containers (who wants to lug dirty Tupperware through security?), there's little that's standing in the way between me and a delicious in-flight meal. Just imagine how jealous everyone will look when I pair those pretzels and ginger ale with something delicious and homemade!

Have any of you tried this? What are your go-to recipes for travel?

A Few Ideas for Good Travel Food

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