If you’re travelling from one of the UK’s major airports, then planning your pre-flight meal has just become a whole lot easier. Browse below to find a guide to eating – and parking – at your chosen airport.
Save time and cut stress on departure day by picking your table and meal before you set off… leaving more time for duty free shopping and relaxation before you fly.
The perfect food for flying…
Using our guide, you’re sure to get a great meal at UK airports, but what you eat in the air is just as important – especially for those on long-haul flights. Airline meals have improved in recent years, but following our in-flight eating tips will help you arrive feeling fresh and ready to go.
Water: Humans feel most comfortable when humidity is around 40-70%, but on many aircraft this will dip as low as 12%. This can break down mucus barriers in our nose and throat making us more susceptible to any bugs you come into contact with. Taking fresh, clean water on the flight will help keep your defences in place. You might be sent to the loo more often, but this will simply help keep you mobile and fight the risk of DVT.
Don’t eat green vegetables: Going on holiday usually involves a straight swap between healthy green vegetables and week-long orgy of pasta and chips. Nothing wrong with that, but trying to counter this with a pre-flight tum-trimming frenzy of eating nothing but waist-squeezing greens could seriously damage your health. If you’re one of the thousands of people using blood-thinning medications such as warfarin, bombarding your body with greens such as cabbage, spinach and broccoli will create a huge spike in vitamin k. This will make the warfarin ineffective and could result in a dangerously low INR reading (the measure of how long your blood takes to clot) – leaving you dangerously prone to a killer DVT. So, if you’re using a blood thinner, don’t be tempted to boost your diet by eating extra greens.
Chewing gum and sweets: Air pressure at cruising height is much lower than you’d find at sea level. This can cause the amount of oxygen in your blood to fall – resulting in a mild form of hypoxia, which can leave you feeling listless, dizzy and faint. Low pressure can also affect your ears and make them painful – especially for kids. Recent research suggests that chewing gum can improve memory and alertness by sending more oxygen and nutrients to the brain. So, if you’re finding it hard to concentrate on the scintillating in-flight movie, you might want to get chewing. Additionally, we all know that sucking a boiled sweet will help ‘pop’ your ears.
Don’t eat baked beans: They might look tempting as you tuck into your pre-flight full-English breakfast, but baked beans will make for an uncomfortable flight – for you and the passenger sitting alongside you. Reduced air pressure in planes can cause gases in the digestive system to swell by a third – resulting in bloating that cause aches and discomfort. You know your body better than anyone, so make sure you avoid the foods that fill you with gas.
Meal times: Long-haul travellers will have to deal with jet lag and all the problems it brings. Getting your body’s digestive system in time with that of your destination will help minimise fatigue and the possibility of developing constipation on the flight. In the week before you travel, gradually move your mealtimes closer to those of where you’re heading.
Oily fish: If you want a fresh, healthy complexion as you step from the plane, then scoffing plenty of oily fish such as salmon and mackerel in the week before you fly will help achieve this goal, according to skin therapist Louise Thomas-Minns (uandyourskin.co.uk). If a smoky dead fish doesn’t float your trawler, opt for walnuts and fruits such as Kiwis.
Don’t rock the salt – go pepper instead: Airline meals used to be heavily salted, but health-savvy travellers have forced providers to look at other ways of creating tasty meals – without having to resort to a Sodium Chloride overload. However, travelling at 27,000 feet results in humans losing around 30% of their taste sensations – which could prompt you to add more salt that normal in an attempt to compensate for the loss of flavour. This will merely result in damaging dehydration and uncomfortable bloating. If you need some seasoning, choose the pepper sachet instead.