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Healthfulness Of First And Business Class Cuisine  
User currently offlineusdcaguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 977 posts, RR: 2
Posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 5515 times:

When you think of it, business travelers are a group of people who, by and large, do not move most of the time. Although many of them may spend a lot of time walking through office buildings and airports, most of them do not lead fully active lives. Walking through most First and Business class cabins, it is easy to see just how many of the people (especially the men) are overweight. If these clients are sedentary so much of the time, I am surprised that airlines make it even hard for them to maintain a healthy weight by tempting them with 3-5 course dinners with unlimited alcohol. My experience has led me to believe that this is not good, for several reasons:

- Sitting anywhere from 8-16 hours after having consumed thousands of calories can lead to a bloated system, thereby making the trip uncomfortable and discouraging rest.

- Consuming multiple alcoholic beverages (welcome drink + aperitif + dinner wine + dessert liqueur) while flying can dehydrate one to the point of requiring many glasses/bottles of water to rehydrate. On top of this, alcohol is proven to discourage the body from falling into deeper sleeping patterns. After drinking heavily, many will awaken within 2-3 hours of drifting off.

- The combination of heavy food, dehydration, alcohol and lack of sleep can wreak havoc with one's sleeping patters and contribute to jet lag and therefore make travelers less effective at dealing with new places and people once at their destinations.

I know many travelers turn down the meals on offer, but I question how often this happens vs. how often they partake. Also, the rationale for buying business class is to get sleep and be prepared to work the next day. Is this happening if corporate travelers are indulging instead of resting? In lieu of heavy meals, what could airlines offer passengers that would help them rest more effectively? I have often thought carriers should serve a series of small, healthy dishes whenever passengers request them instead of one huge dinner. Also, should the meal taken before landing be the meal of focus instead of the meal offered immediately after takeoff?

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineNASBWI From Bahamas, joined Feb 2005, 1316 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 5464 times:

There are a few things to consider about your concern. One factor: even frequent travelers don't spend every waking moment on an aircraft. Of the people that fly most frequently, I'm pretty sure a large percentage of them don't fly on *that* many flights on which such meals and service is offered. Point: how often is anyone partaking of such a rich meal/service?

As costly as it is to provide said service, the costs would rise exponentially if the airlines were to try to cater to every individual's dietary needs. Point here: the airline wants to please the majority of their customers with a service catered more to their comfort, rather than their "needs". If a person wants to stick to a healthier diet, by all means eat something else or decline the meal offered by the airline.

Quoting usdcaguy (Thread starter):
Walking through most First and Business class cabins, it is easy to see just how many of the people (especially the men) are overweight. If these clients are sedentary so much of the time, I am surprised that airlines make it even hard for them to maintain a healthy weight by tempting them with 3-5 course dinners with unlimited alcohol.

They're not sedentary because of the airline; they're sedentary because of their way of life. Airlines cannot (nor should they) be held accountable for what their customers do off the aircraft. Sure, they're tempted. But they can always decline both the meals and the alcohol. How much is consumed is a personal choice, not a mandate.

Quoting usdcaguy (Thread starter):
Consuming multiple alcoholic beverages (welcome drink + aperitif + dinner wine + dessert liqueur) while flying can dehydrate one to the point of requiring many glasses/bottles of water to rehydrate. On top of this, alcohol is proven to discourage the body from falling into deeper sleeping patterns. After drinking heavily, many will awaken within 2-3 hours of drifting off.

Solution: don't drink so much alcohol, and consume plenty of water. Most, if not all frequent travelers are well aware of the potential for dehydration. The airline I work for (even though we don't provide F) dedicates a page on their advertising channel on how to optimize your well-being - particularly on longer flights. Advice such as moving around and drinking plenty of water is given. Whether or not the customer follows that advice is up to the customer.

Quoting usdcaguy (Thread starter):
In lieu of heavy meals, what could airlines offer passengers that would help them rest more effectively? I have often thought carriers should serve a series of small, healthy dishes whenever passengers request them instead of one huge dinner.

Some airlines do offer an alternative, especially on flights that depart late (knowing that many people won't want to consume as much at that hour). However, it's a choice the passenger makes. If he/she sees a light salad or a filet mignon, which would they choose?

In summary, passengers don't have to consume what the airline is offering just because it's there. Airlines shouldn't be forcing an ideal on everyone, either. That would be in poor taste, and most definitely poor customer service. Luckily, airlines can preserve their brand of service by offering palatable and diverse options, and customers can preserve their well-being by either declining or limiting their consumption of the service. What it boils down to is choice.

[Edited 2011-12-04 11:48:38]


Fierce, Fabulous, and Flawless ;)
User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9666 posts, RR: 52
Reply 2, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 5423 times:

Quoting usdcaguy (Thread starter):


When you think of it, business travelers are a group of people who, by and large, do not move most of the time. Although many of them may spend a lot of time walking through office buildings and airports, most of them do not lead fully active lives. Walking through most First and Business class cabins, it is easy to see just how many of the people (especially the men) are overweight

Obesity in America does have some correlated with salary and wealth (lower income = higher obesity). I think you might just be seeing a snapshot of American men in their 50s that represents the obesity problem in America. While not active in their work environments, often the upper class is the one to utilize gyms, sports leagues and dietary discipline. If you go walking through inner city Detroit, Houston, or LA, you'll see far more obesity.

Quoting usdcaguy (Thread starter):
If these clients are sedentary so much of the time, I am surprised that airlines make it even hard for them to maintain a healthy weight by tempting them with 3-5 course dinners with unlimited alcohol. My experience has led me to believe that this is not good, for several reasons:

Some airlines do have a healthy choice on their menu and label it as such. Usually at the advocacy of some vocal groups (hungry girl is one of them) are what encourages restaurants and companies to improve the menu options. Maybe one day we will see more airlines promoting a healthy choice entree option. I'd love to see that. There's no reason ever to have a 5-7 course meal, but in general flying is boring, so having a 2 hour meal is a good waste of time. A huge meal with a dessert and free flowing alcohol at the end is never a low calorie endeavour, but it is what people seem to want. Offering choices is all the airlines can do.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineshankly From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2000, 1545 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 5405 times:

Quoting usdcaguy (Thread starter):
When you think of it, business travelers are a group of people who, by and large, do not move most of the time

....a rather shortsighted assumption that everyone who flies Business Class is an archetypal Businessman or woman

I (and my family) fly up front, but purely for leisure purposes. No dullard corporation paying my airfare.

So for me its a case of bring on the prawns, beef, cheese, champers, wine and cocktails, 'cos I live a good balanced lifestyle when not on a plane and want to emjoy those 8, 10 or 12 hours to the full!



L1011 - P F M
User currently offlineum78 From Italy, joined Nov 2011, 42 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 5384 times:
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I do not really see the problem.
When you purchase any class ticket you can select the type of menu you need, lower in salt, vegetarian, or much more.
It's just a choice of the passenger, exactly as the life style.
Airlines must, provide in C and F an exclusive product, also under the culinary experience. This is part of the expectation the customersof this class have.


User currently onlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20731 posts, RR: 62
Reply 5, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 5284 times:

Quoting um78 (Reply 4):
Airlines must, provide in C and F an exclusive product, also under the culinary experience. This is part of the expectation the customersof this class have.

When traveling I would much rather have simple food done well, something that can be reheated properly at 35K feet, than waste calories on an airborne culinary experience of what is ... airplane food. I'd rather waste those calories on the ground instead where food doesn't need to be overseasoned to taste right, and comes fresh from the kitchen.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 6, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 5202 times:

Quoting usdcaguy (Thread starter):
If these clients are sedentary so much of the time, I am surprised that airlines make it even hard for them to maintain a healthy weight by tempting them with 3-5 course dinners with unlimited alcohol.

Providing options isn't "making it hard for them". If you don't have enough willpower to not eat food you shouldn't be eating the airline's options or lack thereof aren't the problem.

Quoting usdcaguy (Thread starter):
Also, the rationale for buying business class is to get sleep and be prepared to work the next day. Is this happening if corporate travelers are indulging instead of resting?

Relative to economy class absolutely. Even then, I don't consume more food or alcohol in business class than I would if I wasn't flying...just because the airline sticks it in front of me doesn't mean I have to eat/drink it.

Quoting usdcaguy (Thread starter):
I have often thought carriers should serve a series of small, healthy dishes whenever passengers request them instead of one huge dinner.

Several do, or at least offer the option.

Quoting usdcaguy (Thread starter):
Also, should the meal taken before landing be the meal of focus instead of the meal offered immediately after takeoff?

It all depends on where the sleep cycle lands within the flight.

Tom.


User currently offlinedfambro From United States of America, joined Nov 2009, 330 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 5049 times:

The number of calories they push towards you on LH First is ridiculously high (mmm, caviar, more please!). And then you arrive at the F club in FRA or MUC and there are about a billion more calories at the (excellent) buffet/restaurant and jars of candy everywhere. Then they drive you to your gate, as heaven forbid you burn any calories by walking. It's to the point where I go very easy the day before flying them, and skip my last meal before the flight.

Upgrading to LH F is definitely my favorite way to use those United SWUs!

The whole thing would be a health disaster if it were a daily experience. But for me it's just a few times a year, and it's a treat. I don't find it makes the jet lag any worse, actually it's probably better. That could just be from relaxing in a whirlpool bath during the layover in the FRA/MUC lounge, though.  


User currently offlinePA110 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2008 posts, RR: 23
Reply 8, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 5016 times:
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I really don't understand the OP's point. Is there a point? At the end of the day, the meals served in first and business class are still portion controlled. It's not like you can nip back to the galley and get an extra serving. For those with sedentary lifestyles, the least of their concerns should be in-flight meals. As someone who has traveled F/J extensively in the past, I can assure you the calories consumed on in inflight meal are a fraction of what you would get in a restaurant, or at home for that matter.

That aside, there seems to be an underlying assumption that every meal is unhealthy and travelers will eat everything that is served to them, and this is simply not the case. Very odd POV from the OP.



It's been swell, but the swelling has gone down.
User currently offlineEddieDude From Mexico, joined Nov 2003, 7592 posts, RR: 42
Reply 9, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 4978 times:

Quoting usdcaguy (Thread starter):
When you think of it, business travelers are a group of people who, by and large, do not move most of the time.

That seems like a very unfair stereotype. There are lots and lots of CEOs, investment bankers, top lawyers, private equity fund managers, self-made millionaires, etcetera, who constantly fly long-haul in business class, and who also find the time to do yoga, train for marathons, swim and do many other forms of exercise to keep themselves in good shape. By the same token, while these people will more often than others enjoy expensive dinners at top hotels or restaurants, they also try to keep a balanced diet when not entertaining clients or colleagues or celebrating a deal or another noteworthy occasion.



Next flights: MEX-GRU (AM 77E), GRU-GIG (JJ A320), SDU-CGH (G3 73H), GRU-MEX (JJ A332).
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25627 posts, RR: 22
Reply 10, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 4963 times:

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 6):
Quoting usdcaguy (Thread starter):
I have often thought carriers should serve a series of small, healthy dishes whenever passengers request them instead of one huge dinner.

Several do, or at least offer the option.

Virtually all major airlines have a selection of lower-calorie special meals available that can be requested at the time of booking. And if you eat the regular meals, you don't have to eat everything and few passengers do. Nowadays, with most major carriers offering flat bed seats, many passengers prefer to skip the inflight meal and sleep as much as possible. Carriers like BA and LH have a good selection of food in their lounges so many passengers eat there before boarding and have virtually nothing during the flight, execpt possibly a light breakfast before arrival on overnight flights.


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26600 posts, RR: 75
Reply 11, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 4934 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 5):
When traveling I would much rather have simple food done well, something that can be reheated properly at 35K feet,

That's why the vegetarian chili United has on some of its domestic F flights is so good. I don't get why airlines have to try and make "normal" food. Why not stuff that goes well on board?

Quoting EddieDude (Reply 9):
By the same token, while these people will more often than others enjoy expensive dinners at top hotels or restaurants, they also try to keep a balanced diet when not entertaining clients or colleagues or celebrating a deal or another noteworthy occasion.

Not to mention that good hotels and restaurants often offer options that are healthier than others.

Or you can go to a restaurant that specializes in lasagna  
Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 10):
Virtually all major airlines have a selection of lower-calorie special meals available that can be requested at the time of booking.

United/Continental has become terrible at this. Its vegan, religious, or bust.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 12, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 4807 times:

Quoting PA110 (Reply 8):
At the end of the day, the meals served in first and business class are still portion controlled. It's not like you can nip back to the galley and get an extra serving.

Actually, at least as of a few years ago, BA had a "larder" at the back of the business class cabin were you could indeed nip back and serve yourself. It was great.

Tom.


User currently offlineBabybus From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 4792 times:

Quoting usdcaguy (Thread starter):
The combination of heavy food, dehydration, alcohol and lack of sleep can wreak havoc with one's sleeping patters and contribute to jet lag and therefore make travelers less effective at dealing with new places and people once at their destinations.

I mentioned all these things in my comments on someone's trip report.

A lot of food also causes bloating and flatulence yet end up on menus. Serving cheese as a dessert in J/F on night flights is also not good for sleeping.

I guess the suggestion would be if you think it will affect your sleep or cause you to fart all night you shouldn't eat it.

We know people's digestion isn't what it used to be and we see that in the large number of special meals given out.


User currently offlinegenybustrvlr From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 261 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 4497 times:

This is a very stupid thread. Are you saying I'm destine to be a fat sloth because I fly all the time for business? Of course the food is not healthy and drinking a lot will pack on the pounds but no more so than a night out at a nice restaurant on the ground or the big lunch I eat everyday.    That's why a pay a personal trainer to kick my @$$ several times a week - and it works. Obesity is nothing more than a lack of willpower and self-discipline - period. Airlines play no role.

User currently offlinefbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3713 posts, RR: 28
Reply 15, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 4493 times:

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 12):
Actually, at least as of a few years ago, BA had a "larder" at the back of the business class cabin were you could indeed nip back and serve yourself. It was great.

Still do, and in fact it's evolved from 'Raid The Larder' (a glorified snack basket) into Club Kitchen which has refrigerated things plus ice cream etc. First has a snack menu.

Even economy on longer flights had 'Tuck Box' which was basically chocolate biscuits and things. Not sure if they still have that now.



"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
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