Worst in-flight meal you've received?

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Melburnian1

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The bad meal I remember most was on EK in J from Sydney to Auckland. Lunch was described as a lamb dish but it must have been prepared by Jack Spratt's wife as the ratio of meat to fat was about 25/75. It was also swimming in some sort of oily gravy with a couple of small potatoes and carrot included. ....

Airlines must swim everything in gravy to minimise the chance of meat drying out, but as someone who detests gravy, it's annoying to have to scrape it off. Inevitably some remains.
 
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Ventura

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Got to be Aeroflop... student days on my way from London to Nairobi via unscheduled overnight stop over in Moscow (where friend was assaulted by transit hotel staff member) and unannounced fuel stop in Odessa. Food loaded on in scheduled stop in Cairo, a curry- it had to be made of camel-hump or similar. Gristle, every bit of every lump. Made the meal provided in the Moscow transit 'hotel' (hard rye bread, lump of cheese, black tea- same for every meal) seem almost edible.
 

Berlin

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Airlines must swim everything in gravy to minimise the chance of meat drying out, but as someone who detests gravy, it's annoying to have to scrape it off. Inevitably some remains.
As I've just posted in my new "Best in-flight meals" thread, the only acceptable way to minimize dryness of a steak in flight, is to top it with a generous slice of Fois Gras :p
 

wheelsup

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I liked that once on a HBA - MEL lunch flight (can't recall the airline), they didn't even bother trying - just offered selection from a tray of 6-inch Subways.
 

Himeno

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Re Qantas and Neil Perry. He must be laughing all the way to the bank. The only time I ever ate at Rockpool (I was a guest as I could never afford his pretentious prices) I was singularly underwhelmed after all the hype. Neil Perry inspired? Inspired by what, I wonder.
I had never heard of Neil Perry before Qantas started screaming his name everywhere.
Same goes for the other "designers" Qantas gets to do their lounges, seats, uniforms, etc.
 

althaluss

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The late great British actress Hermione Gingold is quoted as saying, about airline food, "If it's brown - it's meat. If it's white - it's sweet. If it's grey - don't eat."
 

tdimdad

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A curious question: how much do you think the port of departure influences the quality & variety of the food on international flights? It's prepared from locally available ingredients and it would be natural to have variance even if the same recipes were used. Looking at meals in return flights, you tend to get nicer meals one way than the other way.
 

SRS65

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A curious question: how much do you think the port of departure influences the quality & variety of the food on international flights? It's prepared from locally available ingredients and it would be natural to have variance even if the same recipes were used. Looking at meals in return flights, you tend to get nicer meals one way than the other way.
Totally agree - great meal with QF in J to HK then virtually inedible offering on the return leg.
 

Snowant

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I've been flying QF business the last few years on upgrades, and am very underwhelmed by all this Perry stuff. I don't recall the food in Economy Au-US being that bad to start with, and the business stuff is not great. Everything seems to feature seafood or nuts, am allergic to both, and whatever is safe to eat is really quite disapointing.

Best QF plane food I had was years ago, ADL-CBR after a day of meetings. First, they were very generous with the beer (James Squire) and the dinner was a giant rissole on a bed a mashed potato. Yum! After we landed, and while they attached the plane to the walkway thingy, the back door opened, some groundstaff clumped in, and the hosties pointed them toward their goal which was the oven with some leftover dinners in it. Clearly i wasn't the only one who liked that rissole.
 

dmgale1960

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These comments remind me that it is always a good idea to eat in the Lounge before departure - although I've has some very ordinary lounge meals as well - and take snacks if you can!
 

Berlin

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I've been flying QF business the last few years on upgrades, and am very underwhelmed by all this Perry stuff. Everything seems to feature seafood or nuts, am allergic to both, and whatever is safe to eat is really quite disapointing.

I share your pain- I’m allergic to seafood and walnuts and far too often the only proper main meal on QF features at least one of them. Which then leaves you with the kind of cough you often end up with- a salad full of rocket kale, a microscopic toastie and so on. I’d so much rather just get something tried and tested, like a lasagna or the aforementioned risolles which were amazing.

However, in defense of the Neil Perry “stuff”, I had some of my best airline meals too in there. I find that strangely, he is best of he does meals from more exotic quisines- I had excellent Perry Asian, Mexican, Middle Eastern and Italian. When he does a dry lamb roast or the likes- not a fan.
 

jkbaus

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Early 1980's. January.
My partner and I were on our first overseas trip, Sydney to Beijing on CAAC.
Don't remember the first meal on route

Unscheduled stop in the dark.
Walk across dimly lit tarmac. Lots of uniformed men with guns.
Think it was Guanghou.
Taken into a large room where westerners were kept separate from other passengers.
Someone spoke to us in a loud, authoritiave voice in probably Cantonese or Mandarin which we couldn't understand.
Kept in the room for about 2-3 hours then back to the plane.

After take off we were all handed our food - an orange, and amenity/ souvenir - a size xx_L tan vinyl belt with CAAC logo buckle.

Arrived in Beijing a few hours behind schedule to begin the next adventure.
 

itchy feet

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Two QANTAS domestic flights in 2017. "Snack" is a better description yet QANTAS called it a meal. On one flight the only offering was Chinese Pork Buns (3, prepackaged by a supposed Pork Bun guru who's name escapes me). I love steamed pork buns. These were inedible. Pork filling (what little there was of it) was scaldingly hot to the point of being dangerous. Bread dough was rubbery. Took one bite of a bun and that was one bite too many. On another flight the only offering was Roast Beef sandwich. Bread slices as thick as door stops, grey roast beef and all topped with onion relish. I declined the cabin crew's offer. After one bite, from the look on his face I think the fellow next to me wished he had too. Since then on any domestic flight I've declined the offer of any food.
Daughter of a friend had an anaphylactic reaction to an inflight meal (QANTAS again). In her booking she's noted her shellfish allergy. Meal served was chicken. One bite and her lips began to tingle, .... she alerted a member of the cabin crew to her predicament. Fine print on the label " contains .... prawns"!!
 
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Pushka

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These comments remind me that it is always a good idea to eat in the Lounge before departure - although I've has some very ordinary lounge meals as well - and take snacks if you can!
Definitely. We didn’t in the Sydney F lounge thinking we’d get a nice meal in J on a flight to Bali. It was indescribably bad. Will never skip the lounge meal again.
 

Anna

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In F once on QF on the way to HKG, as part of the 'tasting menu' I was served some completely inedible tubes of tough meat that were once apparently Neil Perry Lamb Strips but had been badly overcooked. Very disappointing.
 
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Good thread ...
"worst" has to be relative to expectations.
Actual worst was probably a 1971 THY flight from Ankara to Beirut where the offering was a very stale piece of cake and orange cordial.
Didn't really care though as the main objective was to get to Beirut. Mind you I have been on Turkish airlines since and thought they were excellent.
But back to expectations ... On QF the Perry inspired menus are really good and raise expectations, but the food presented rarely matches the vision.
March 1999 QF business was the first time I can recall crew presenting the "new menu" (Perry) dinner out of LHR on way to SIN. The cabin was in a general revolt and the crew were apologising each time they presented a dish. The old standard of a tender piece of fillet steak, some roast potatoes and a green was sorely missed. Of course a couple of glasses of a nice red helped.
Now, my expectations are that I will not die of hunger. Anything better is a bonus ... with a couple of glasses of red.

Also, I never buy food on board.
I either snack before, take a sandwich for a longer flight (or train), or look forward to something nice after arriving.
 

Forg

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I had never heard of Neil Perry before Qantas started screaming his name everywhere.
Same goes for the other "designers" Qantas gets to do their lounges, seats, uniforms, etc.
I’m not exactly Captain High End Dining, but I’d definitely heard of him when Qantas hired him to do their stuff (it was lounges before in-flight wasn’t it?).

Are you in Sydney though? I don’t know that he had the Melbourne restaurants yet (if he did it would only have been the first Rockpool outside of Sydney). I’d never heard of George Columbaris nor The Press Club before ... that cooking show he was on. Ah - Masterchef.
 

MsTee

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So Neil Perry is a real person, is he? (I'd not heard of him either, except on Qantas.) I wonder if he's embarrassed by the creations he's supposed to have inspired?
 

Berlin

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So Neil Perry is a real person, is he? (I'd not heard of him either, except on Qantas.) I wonder if he's embarrassed by the creations he's supposed to have inspired?

You can easily spot him by his horrible hair style when he’s “on the markets”, sourcing the “freshest local ingredients” (i.e. bad cuts of sheep, cheap ‘white fish of the day’ and, of course, lots and lots of Kale) :rolleyes::eek::D
 
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