On my flight from LA to Madrid on American Airlines, I was really let down by the meal. My hopes were somewhat higher on the return flight (first on Iberia with no meal, then on British Airways for dinner). First, the good news: it was, as I hoped, better. The bad news? It still wasn’t anywhere close to good.
As the cart rolled down the aisle, I was mulling over what my options might be. I assumed it would be a traditional British “meat + veg” situation. Would they go ultra-traditional and serve roast Christmas goose and figgy pudding? Had they figured out how to make fish and chips work on a plane? Perhaps a tribute to England’s sizable Indian population with a curry dish? No, no, and kind of.
When the flight attendant got to me, he said my options were “chicken and pasta.” I asked him to elaborate. “Tortellini or chicken mushroom.” Only slightly more descriptive, but I’ll take it. I instinctively chose the pasta and once it hit my tray table, I realized my mistake. The label said something like “Tortiglione with herbed pesto.” Wait a second… isn’t that EXACTLY what I ate on my outbound flight on American??? ‘Twas. Not about to make the same mistake again, I got the flight attendant’s attention and switched to the chicken immediately.
Without burying the lede too much: it wasn’t terrible. The chicken was able to stay moist enough in an absolute torrent of “mushroom casserole,” which was more “gloppy brown sauce” than any casserole I’ve ever seen. Throw in some oven-roasted potatoes (the best part of the main course) and a side of peas and leeks that weren’t as mushy as I expected and overall I wasn’t angry. It was, perhaps, the epitome of what people think of as airline food, but it wasn’t all that bad. Good flavor on the sauce (thanks, salt!), great texture on the potatoes, and a passable vegetable. Not bad, BA!
As a side dish, they served a curried slaw — remember that Indian tribute I mentioned? This wasn’t my favorite by any means. The carrots and cabbage were crisp. The slaw was creamy, almost too much so. Overall, I can say that the first few bites were interesting. So much so that I actually said “interesting!” out loud. Sorry, seatmates. After that, though, the curry flavor became overpowering and somewhat cloying. I gave up.
Luckily, the last component — dessert — was great. “Lily O’Brien’s ‘Doubly Delicious’ Orange Chocolate Mousse.” It wasn’t light like a traditional mousse, but more like a whipped pudding. The orange and chocolate were a great match for my limited taste buds. I enjoyed every single bite.
Before we landed, they served a little snack box consisting of a chicken salad sandwich with Caesar dressing. Totally fine and mostly unremarkable. Lots of dressing. The oatmeal bread was pretty good. That’s about all I have to say on the subject. Oh, and there was a scone with clotted cream, too. Eh.
Overall, this was a very middle-of-the-road flight food experience. It was economy, so I suppose I shouldn’t expect too much. I don’t think I’ll be telling anyone to fly British Airways as a result. I’m sure the premium cabins are a much different experience, but I can’t vouch for them personally at this point.