I am not an international businessman of unbridled fame, but I have spent a fair amount of time in airports. Many different airports on two continents, which doesn’t sound like that many continents except you really cannot include Antarctica in your continent list for this particular purpose. And honestly, I love airports. They are full of duty-free shops, weird products not sold in regular stores, and people getting excited about vacations or seeing family or getting away from family or what have you. But you know where airports really fall flat on their butts? The food options.
Now, bear with me. I am not calling for all upscale, fancy-pants dining. I am also not calling for an all organic health food extravaganza. And sure, some airports have got some great options, like a Chipotle or a sandwich place with decent fair, but it’s not the norm. All I want is more options than Taco Bell or smashed and wilty looking veggie sandwiches. I mean, come on, people – we have found a way to make texturized soy protein delicious. Shipping in some decent, grab-able eats shouldn’t be too hard.
I don’t know if I’d be yelling about this so loud and so proud if it weren’t for all the regulations that make bringing in your own food so difficult. Sure, I can carry pounds of delicious fruit and nuts cakes/breads on board, but a fresh salad and some nice hummus is an entirely different story. Forget salad dressing – I got yelled at for having my chapstick not in a clear plastic baggie when going through security – those are not the people you want to mess with.
And I admit that some of it is me. I am a nervous flyer and I cannot eat heavy foods minutes before takeoff without running some risk of in-flight gastro-intestinal disaster. Eating a personal pizza from Pizza Hut is just not going to cut it. I know I am not alone in being a nervous flyer and I have a hunch that I am not alone in calling for more nervous-stomach-friendly options, like something light and generally bland and maybe not covered in a ranch dressing sauce.
Airplanes used to be the butt of all the food jokes and if you flew in an airplane back when they still provided food instead of just peanuts and soda, you know exactly what I am talking about. The weirdly sweet and sticky yet flavorless and mushy entrees left so much to be desired. But the airplanes stepped up (well, or got rid of food service altogether, but in my book, that is indeed a big step up) and now you can get hummus and pita chips or apples or whatever for a nominal (exorbitant, but not if you convert to sky-dollars) fee. All I’m asking is that the airports do the same.
Asking for my favorite local Thai place to add a world-wide airport chain into their business model is definitely a bit much (though I can and do dream of eating delicious Pad Thai before takeoff), but there must be something that’s more appealing than the current fare. Anyway, if you hear about TSA confiscating pounds of carrots and hummus (perfect snack combination, by the way) from a disgruntled lady passenger, well, hey, at least I’ll get my 15 minutes of fame.