Does Airline Food Always Have to Suck?

Go behind the scenes as an airline tries to make food interesting and enjoyable.

ByABC News
February 19, 2010, 11:05 AM

NEW YORK <br/> March 1, 2010&#151; -- Airline food has never had a good reputation. It's often dry, salty and looks like something more fit for a dog than a human.

But for those lucky enough to sit in the front of the plane, meals are served on fine china and come in multiple courses. They not only excite the taste buds but bring back a sense of service and class to flying.

Preparing such a feast is not an easy production.

Every few months, Singapore Airlines reviews, tastes and tweaks its dishes for the coming season. It's a complicated process that not only has to factor in taste but cost and airplane galley space constraints.

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Hermann Freidanck oversees all food and beverage service for the airline and personally tastes -- along with a team of other chefs -- each dish.

Throughout the event, Freidanck would take a bite, puck his lips and then give blunt critiques to the chefs and caterers surrounding him.

"You put too much in," he told one chef after sipping a soup. "It tastes too fishy. For a wonton soup, it tastes too fishy."

Singapore Airlines flies two of the longest commercial airline routes in the world. Its Singapore to Newark, N.J. flight is 10,317 miles and takes about 18 hours. The flight from Los Angeles to Singapore takes even longer -- at 18 and a half hours. The L.A. route is longer due to headwinds; the Newark flight goes over the North Pole and is faster despite the extra 1,200 miles flown.

Food for its passengers isn't just about eating.

"Because our flights are so long, our food has to do more than feed you. It has to entertain you," said airline spokesman James Boyd. "It's about a lot more than just getting you fed."