Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Juice or cookies will not only keep
them distracted during ascent and
your airline 2 days before your flight to
secure y our meal. Then double-check
when you check in.
Become a v egetarian. D ieticians and
frequent fliers say v egetarian and vegan
meals ar e often better than standar
descent—often the scariest par ts of
flight for a child—but also help their
little ears pop as cabin air pressure shifts
rapidly. Juice (paper cartons travel best)
will also keep them swallo wing and
help them to stay pr operly hy drated.
Avoid giving y oung childr en gum or
hard candies, since sudden turbulence
may cause them to choke.
• If your children are very young, bring
pacifiers. The act of sucking will keep
their ears clear. By the same logic, take-
off and landing are the perfect times for
feedings. Your kids will be distracted
from the deafening cabin noise, and
their ears will pop mor e easily. If your
schedule won 't allo w this, tr y placing
drops of water on an infant's tongue, to
facilitate swallo wing. D on't forget to
pack bottles and extra milk or formula
as well, as these are unavailable on most
aircraft. M any airlines pr ohibit flight
attendants fr om pr eparing formula,
so it 's best to pack y
airline far e. Vegan meals skip cheese
and sw eets, leading to a healthier but
more spartan platter.
Fly a tasty airline. The Zagat organiza-
tion rates airline food annually . F or
2001, M idwest E xpress had the best
economy-class meals (including fr esh
chocolate-chip cookies and r eal plates),
while America West rated the worst of
the airlines that actually ser
ve meals
(think that afor
ementioned tur key
In general, coach-class passengers no w
get meals only on flights cr ossing two-
thirds of the countr y or mor e; ev eryone
else gets peanuts or other minibags of
snacks. (Continental and Alaska ar e w el-
come ex ceptions, but “ meals” on Conti-
nental flights under 3 1 / 2 hours ar e of the
dreaded turkey sandwich variety.)
Most lo w-fare airlines generally ser ve
only snacks (except for Midwest Express),
even on cr oss-country flights. B ut some
offer better snacks than others. S outhwest
offers a nonyummy bag of salted peanuts.
But jetB lue ser ves up classy blue potato
chips, and Frontier goes even further with
chicken wraps and specialty bagels.
The Economy-Class Meal
Policies of Major Airlines
Alaska: F ood ser ved on flights of 2
hours or mor e. Breakfast 6 to 8:30am;
lunch 10:30am to 1:30pm; dinner 4 to
America W est: F ood ser ved only on
flights betw een the East Coast and
Phoenix. B reakfast 6 to 9am; lunch
11am to 1pm; dinner 5 to 7pm.
American: F ood ser ved only on non-
stop, transcontinental flights. B reakfast
5 to 8:30am; lunch noon to 1pm; din-
ner 5:30 to 7pm.
our bab y's food
Tasteless: Dealing with
Airline Food
Most airlines have cut back on food service
recently—and even if you do get a “meal”
on a domestic flight, it's likely to be a limp
turkey sandwich. Your best bet is to
brown-bag homemade sandwiches. Unlike
fruit, for example, they hav e no lefto ver
parts to throw away, and you won't have to
tussle with airport security over silverware.
But if y ou insist on eating economy-class
cuisine, here are some tips:
Order a special meal. M ost airlines
allow coach-class passengers to or der
from a range of special meals, including
low-fat, low-cholesterol, vegetarian, and
children's meals (usually a hamburger or
hot dog). These meals aren't necessarily
fresher than the standar d ones, but at
least y ou'll kno w what 's in them. Call
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