I have to warn you: this will not be pretty. I flew on Royal Air Maroc twice last week and twice I was reminded of the old days of airline food where comedians were accurate in their joking and passengers had to endure foil-covered rectangles of food that desperately strived to be as good as wedding food. From the cleanliness of the plane to the complete indifference of the cabin crew to the tasteless, overcooked slop that wound up on my tray table, I can say with confidence that I will do my best to avoid Royal Air Maroc for the rest of my life.
While I could write for days about the overall experience of flying Royal Air Maroc, I’ll just briefly say that the massive hunk of gum I found affixed to the seat in front of me was merely a metaphor for a flying experience that seemed to be stuck in 1994. Outdated equipment, oblivious flight attendants, and a lack of comfort that seemed wholly intentional made me feel completely chewed up and spit out. I won’t even get into the part where a baby was changed in the middle of the aisle and the crew did nothing to stop it. So, let’s move on from the general complaints and go straight to what I care about most: the food.
“Chicken or fish?” “Chicken or fish?” I heard the question over and over again as the clunky steel cart moved down the aisle. My belief in these situations is always that chicken is the safer option, so I knew that my meal would be fowl before I knew it would be foul. After un-foiling the package, I found out that I had both chosen correctly and chosen terribly.
I think the best menu description for the chicken would be “Chicken A La Don’t Care.” It’s a rubbery chicken breast covered in a smattering of mystery herbs on top of a bed of mashed potatoes (the best part of the entree by far) and a melange of antique frozen vegetables. Onions, tomatoes, eggplant, and squash form an insult to ratatouille in a sauce that seems closest to the classic “oil drippings” you find after microwaving something that should not have been microwaved. On the side was a salad made three weeks ago, a potato salad that would have been good with 75% less mayo, and a piece of cake that appeared to be in the running for “Cheesecake Imitator of the Year.”
I won’t bore you by going into the tasting notes of the dish, but let’s just say that I found the flavor to not just be lacking but hiding. The potato salad was actually not too bad thanks to a significant amount of onion added in but the heavy, oily chicken dish successfully knocked away any good will completely. I ate it under protest. Sadly, the highlight of the meal was when I took that thick slice of Tillamook cheddar and slid it inside the stale roll.
My return flight was somehow even worse. This seemed impossible, but while the chicken on the way to Casablanca was vaguely American in its origin, the Moroccan version was purely insulting to my tastebuds. This time the option was chicken or beef, but for the sake of comparison, I chose the chicken. What I got was something akin to “Cinnamon Toast Chicken with couscous.” Check it, yo:
The chicken itself bordered on spongy. That’s not a word I love using in relation to chicken. The onions and couscous would have made for a fine stomach-filler if it wasn’t completely drenched in a sweet cinnamon glaze that would have been cloying even on top of a Cinnabon. I ate three bites and tried to push the tray away in exasperation. Sadly, the tray table was sloped downward and kept coming back like the world’s least delicious boomerang.
It’s hard to make out what the side dish is based on the photo, but it’s some sort of artichoke heart something with a single olive. How generous! I was only able to make it through two bites before the fibers of the artichoke got stuck in my teeth like a physical warning of the damage my stomach was about to receive. Instead, I chose hunger knowing that I would land at JFK and soon get to enjoy the splendors of JetBlue‘s T5 restaurants. More on that later.
You get the gist of my experience here, right? While other airlines are bringing chefs on-board and aiming for a truly improved international product, Royal Air Maroc is the equivalent of a C student: trying to do the bare minimum just to get past the threat of flunking entirely. If given the choice, I will gladly excise R.A.M. from my flying life indefinitely.
Have you flown R.A.M.? What was your experience like? Were my flights outliers or the norm? I want to know.
More Fly&Dine Morocco coverage here: