person eating an in-flight meal / airline food on a plane
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
December 19, 2023 ·  4 min read

5 Food And Drink Items Airline Employees Avoid On Planes

Traveling has just as many upsides as it does downsides. The adventure and excitement come pouring in. So, too, does the reality of costly meals, outings, and souvenirs. Meanwhile, new experiences and new places are on the horizon, yet, traveling can be exhausting. Here are some tips and tricks to travel more efficiently, and 5 airline food or drink items that airline employees never touch. 

1. Airline Food like Steak

Traveling by airplane. Passenger enjoying dinner in economy class during long haul flight.
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Steak is one example of an airline food to avoid because it is often overcooked. Although it’s a matter of preference, flight attendants often avoid this airline food because it’s just too well done. While this tip is subject to personal preference, a flight attendant for Delta Airlines explained, “The ovens are only so big, and there is only so much food that can fit in it. If you are particular about how your steak should be prepared, don’t eat it.” 

2. Or Main Entrees

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A study commissioned by aircraft carrier Lufthansa more than ten years ago found that at higher altitudes, foods become less flavorful. As a result, companies started making airline food with exuberant amounts of salt. Therefore, someone with high blood pressure or prone to bloating from too much salt should stay away from prepared airline food, like entree options during long flights.  Vanessa Rissetto, a registered dietitian in New Jersey and cofounder of Culina Health explained, “Because of pressure shifts, some people retain water during a flight, so something overly processed or too high in sodium might exacerbate,” continuing, “Try some electrolyte tabs or coconut water to help with hydrations, and try whole foods like veggies and fruit, or lean protein, to help you feel your best.”

3. Cheese Platter 

Cheese platter with fruits on a white background. Close up. Festive gourmet snack.
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Cheese is one of the most popular and easiest snacks on the go. Therefore, it’s no surprise that it’s a popular menu item available to travelers. However, flight attendants warn that in many cases the cheese platters are a disappointment because they’re not fresh and are “shelf-stable products.” 

Extending Beyond Airline Food

woman passengers eats lunch in travel aboard of international flight
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Certain airline food isn’t the only thing that flight attendants and other employees suggest avoiding. This also extends to water and alcohol. 

Read: Study Finds Water on Airplanes Could be Making You Sick

4. Water

Female passenger holding a bottle of water next to her phone on the airplane tray table.
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Although in cases of bottled water this tip doesn’t apply, avoiding tap water and ice as well as tea and coffee are recommended by airline staff because bacteria is stored inside the pipes and it’s unclear how often the pipes are cleaned. However, a 2019 study showed Alaska Airlines and Allegiant Air offered the safest water. Meanwhile, Spirit and JetBlue had the worst quality water. Another reason flight attendants may avoid coffee and tea isn’t just the tap water. Tea and Coffee, as well as alcohol, have a tendency to cause dehydration when they aren’t balanced well enough with water or with certain health conditions. 

5. Alcohol

Business travel by airplane. Man looking through window and drinking champagne during flight.
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Dehydration is seemingly more likely while in flight, so it’s best to avoid alcohol. “The barometric pressure in the cabin of a plane is lower than it normally is,” Dr. Clare Morrison explained. “This decreased pressure means that the body finds it harder to absorb oxygen,” she added. “This can produce light-headedness or hypoxia. In other words, the lower level of oxygen in your blood means that you may seem more drunk in the air than you would on the ground after consuming the same amount of alcohol.”

Money Saving Suggestions 

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According to a popular travel Blogger, there are other things to consider beyond airline food and drinks. In fact, another important aspect of traveling is cost. He suggests things like avoiding paying for a taxi and dining away from areas with a high volume of tourists. Also, waiting to book your trip until airlines or hotels offer deals may help save money, assuming flexible travel dates. Using a travel card for rewards on everyday purchases is another great way to save money. When traveling, maintaining good health and hygiene is equally important as saving money.

Read: 40 Towns You Haven’t Heard of But Should Visit ASAP

Health and Wellness not Limited to Airline Food

Travel, airport and excited woman with passport. travel ticket and documents for immigration, journey and flight schedule. Backpack person with identity document search for international registration
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Most people would agree that it’s incredibly frustrating to work hard and save for months to finally be able to relax and enjoy some downtime or adventure, only to wake up sick on day one. Therefore, keeping up good health and saving money while traveling might be just as important. Good hygiene practices include frequently washing hands, carrying hand sanitizer or wipes, and using shoe bags to avoid carrying germs indoors. It’s also important to take care of your body so you’re fully energized and your immune system can fight off any lingering illnesses. Taking immune-boosting vitamins or supplements along with staying hydrated and making sure to get enough rest are all great ways to ensure you’re feeling your best and ready to take on the memorable thrill of each day, or the divine relaxation of doing absolutely nothing. Traveling is just as challenging as it is rewarding. Fortunately, we are lucky enough to have access to the internet and stories about other people’s experiences from which we can hopefully learn and enhance our own experiences. 

Keep Reading: Why Do Flight Attendants Have a Higher Risk of Developing Cancer?


  1. How To Stay Healthy While Traveling: 7 Tips To Help You Avoid Getting Sick.” Travel Observations.
  2. 16 THINGS NOT TO DO WHEN YOU TRAVEL.” Nomadic Matt 
  3. The Food and Drink Items Airline Employees Avoid on Planes.HuffPost. Anna Rahmanan. May 6, 2023. 
  4. Everything tastes different in the air – the effects on the taste experience in the aircraft cabin.Fraunhofer.