The main food and drinks to avoid on planes

If you think airplane food is the tits, you’re either lying to yourself, don’t have tastebuds or have magically been able to fly first and business class every time.

However, for the rest of us folk stuck in economy, the options can be sparse and ~icky~ to say the least.

But certain food and drinks aboard planes are worse than others – either because they’re not cooked properly, not great in the air, or will just annoy the sh*t out of your flight attendant.

And whilst it’s easy to bring your own food on a shorter flight and avoid plane food altogether (personally, we like to take copious amounts of snacks, always), it’s hard to only eat chocolate and chips for 26 hours straight.

Luckily for you (and the rest of us, tbh), CN Traveller has spoken to a few “airline insiders” on what to avoid for your health and sanity.

Coffee and Tea

The hot water on planes has been wildly debated, but just how much should you really avoid it? Bobby Laurie, a travel expert and former flight attendant, told CN Traveller that it’s not going to kill you, but should probably still be avoided.

“The reason why coffee has such stigma attached to it is that the water is loaded into the airplane into a tank that never actually gets emptied when the aircraft is serviced, so some of the water is constantly recycled [every time],” he said.

“That’s why it gets that stale taste that bleeds through in the coffee maker.”

The same thing happens when making tea. And it’s a no from us.

Sweet Wine

This one may surprise a few of you, but, as our taste buds change when we fly, sweet wine like riesling will end up tasting more acidic and bitter than rich and sweet. But why? Laurie said that in the sky, our taste buds pick up the tannins in the sky more easily and quickly – and your sweet wine won’t thank you for it.

Food on delayed flights

This is sort of a no-brainer that a lot of us would forget after finally boarding a delayed flight and being offered a hot meal – that’s been sitting there for hours. That’s right, if there’s something wrong with the plane or weather is delaying take-off, the catering carts will usually remain onboard.

“The food is just sitting there, and in the summer, it will be without air conditioning,” Laurie said.

Once, he was working on a flight that had taken off after an eight hour delay when a first class passenger wondered about food.

“I told him the meal had been cooked on a Sunday, you were supposed to leave on Monday, and now it’s early in the morning on Tuesday, with the food onboard for 10 hours. You decide,” he said.

Yeah, we’d rather go hungry too.

Shaken cocktails

This one even effects first class and business passengers! Any cocktails that need a shaker, like a margarita or cosmo, will make you the bane of any flight attendants existence, because it slows down service. Most service carts also don’t have room to keep cocktail tools on top – so they’re often put in the ice draw with the beer cans, making them all gross and sticky as well. Ick.

Diet Coke

Okay, we love Diet Coke, but apparently, flight attendants do not. At alllllll. Diet Coke fizzes more than regular coke, which takes longer to pour, which slows down service. And travel expert Ramsey Qubein told CN Traveller that you might not enjoy it anyway.

“Some FAs get around it by opening all the cans in the galley but what they don’t realize is that the drinks end up being rather flat when they get to the passengers,” he said.


If there’s one thing we definitely don’t want to eat on planes, it’s eggs. Well, and fish, but we haven’t heard of anyone getting sick from gross fish (yet). Either way, they’re both slimy and should not be in the air.

“I’ve personally been sick twice from eggs not being cooked well enough,” Commercial pilot Laura Einsetler told CN Traveller.

“If they’re not cooked to a consistency of rubber, you’ll want to pass on them.”

So, a choice of rubbery or slimy? We’ll pass, thanks.

Bloody Mary mix

If these weird savoury cocktails are your thing, try and avoid them onboard flights. It’s filled with sodium, which can cause you to swell at altitude.

And if cankles don’t faze you, the salt content will also make you thirstier.

More water = more bloating and more bathroom trips.

Both sure-fire ways to have the worst flight ever.