Monday, September 15, 2008

In Flight Snacks Available for Purchase

I put my mother on a plane today, after a lovely layover of a few days during her journey from her home in Hawaii, to see her sister in Baltimore, Maryland.

She's flying United for the entire trip, and for the first time in her many decades of flying, she's learned that everything is now alacarte -- from luggage to peanuts. She paid for every piece of luggage checked ($25.00 per bag), and, her ticket prominently stated "in flight snack available for purchase." The in flight snack typically consists of a miserable turkey sandwich, bag of chips, and commercial granola bar or cookie, and roughtly costs betwen $5.00 and $7.50 depending on which airline you're on -- some of the better United flights do offer a boxed kit with a bit more substantial and varied fare, including applesauce cups and more.

I've followed Biggie's blog for years, and recall her packing delightful bentos for her family to take on flights. She has some terrific tips for packing your own carry-on food. Even so, I hadn't thought of packing a bento for my mother, until she remarked how sweet and handy it had been, for the first leg of her flight from Hawaii to California, that my younger brother packed her a lunch bag. It was if the child was sending the parent off on a school bus, and as he took her to her plane, gave her a bag with cheese, crackers, and a steak sandwich.

For my mother's flight today, I said a silent thank you to my brother for packing her a lunch and reminding me that even though I can't send her on her way with a juice box or even a bottle of water, I CAN send her with a nice packed lunch that meets airline standards.

She wasn't in the mood for much protein -- but said she'd enjoy some sweet and savorable nibbles. Pity I didn't have time for a photograph, but in my mother's plastic disposable bento box, which I tied close with a nice raffia string, I packed:

2 slices of dark brown bread and butter
(chewy, dense squaw bread thickly buttered with unsalted butter and cut into strips)
Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese (sliced into small strips)
Sesame Seed Crackers
Salted, cured olives (2 cracked green olives and 2 kalamata olives)
A handful of walnut halves
A baby Fuji apple (cored and sliced, and sprayed with lemon juice)
A condiment packet of peanut butter
A bar of dark chocolate

I tried to assemble an interesting array -- a bit of cheese, olives, and crackers, a bit of bread of butter, a bit of fruit and nuts, and a piece of good, dark chocolate for dessert. I hope she enjoys it. Safe travels, Mom.

How are you packing for travel these days? Buying on board, buying at the gate, or packing snacks?
(Photo by USAToday)


  1. we either pack something or buy in the airport. I have a lunch-sized insulated bag which is perfect to take along

  2. My favorite snack to take on trips is homemade Chex Mix. It is a guilty pleasure. I get to snack while reading during a long flight. Now that's the way to fly.

  3. This whole liguid and gel law has messed things up for us. I used to pack 7 layer dip and chips and everyone in my family was happy as we passed it to eachother. I don't think they would let that on. Calafornia rolls pack nicely. Our last trip we ate big breakfasts in the airport and packed candy bars. We did buy on the plane once but it was expensive and full of nut products that we would have had to land the plane if my son accidently ate that. So it is expensive and tough now to do. So sweet of you to pack for your mom!

  4. I guess spray cheese in a can would be forbidden. It could be fun though :-)
    I usually take a couple of cliff bars and drink the free water they offer.
    Nuts are a good choice. I have taken sandwiches in my carry on for the layovers.
    Its hard to resist the lure of cinnabon.