字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 Airplane food used to look like this. And this. But now can look something like this. For many people economy class used to mean soggy pasta, rubbery eggs and dried out chicken. For a time, U.S. airlines even stopped serving free meals altogether in economy class. But in 2019 U.S. airlines posted their tenth straight year of profitability and premium and economy cabins are seeing more food options than ever before. At Delta, American and United, airlines work with celebrity chefs to help craft their menus for people sitting at the front of the plane. Passengers are a lot pickier than they used to be. There seem to be a lot more vegans. There seem to be a lot where people who are looking for high protein and low carb and gluten free and airlines are getting those requests and they're trying to change their menus to follow that. In 2018, almost 2.8 million people flew in and out of U.S. airports every day an almost five percent increase from 2017. Those extra travelers have forced airlines to rethink not only their menus, but also the way they deliver meals to passengers. With more people traveling than ever before, how do airlines make meals for thousands of people and what are the costs? Airlines in the U.S. started flying in the early 1920's. At the time, airplane engines were noisy and planes faced heavy winds flying at low altitude. To provide comfort for weary passengers airlines offered food. Some airlines had contracts with local restaurants who supplied food for flights on a regular basis. Others made stops mid-flight at restaurants on the ground en route to their final destination. It was much more common to, for example, fly from New York to Chicago and land in the middle at a small airport and make sure that the small airport had some kind of restaurant open. And so this is where the passengers would be fed. In the 1930s, airline meals started to evolve. In 1930, United Airlines became the first U.S. carrier to enlist the help of flight attendants. The stewardesses doubled as registered nurses who passed out snacks while also helping passengers who became airsick. In 1936, United opened its first flight kitchen in Oakland, California, serving hot meals including fried chicken and scrambled eggs. But it was a slow service because, in fact, a flight attendant was there more as a nurse to help you deal with your fright of being in the air or not feeling well after having eaten on the ground. The Boeing 247, unveiled in 1933, was considered by many to be the first modern air passenger plane. The planes seated 10 passengers and had a cruising speed of 155 miles per hour. At the time, everyone on the plane flew first class. The vast majority of passengers were wealthy, male and mostly business executives. Technical improvements during World War II allowed airlines to fly bigger planes longer distances. By the late 1940's, propeller planes flew 50 to 60 people at a time. You're not going to have a movie, you're not going to have music, so what are you going to do for these, say, on average, 12 to 18 hours that a transatlantic flight is going to take? Of course, the answer is drink and food. For some, the 1950's and 60's were seen as the Golden Age of air travel. At the front of the plane, airlines offered champagne and lobster thermidor. Food was served on white tablecloths and fine China. But for the masses, the introduction of jet engines in the late 1950's launched the era of the economy class. The 1950's announced a class divide. This is when you start seeing plastic wear. In the early 60's, airline catering was still generally part of the airline operations. Airlines relied on local airport restaurants or local airport hotels. But with an increase in passengers, carriers struggled to keep up with demand. In the late 60's and early 70's, more airlines either started their own in-house catering businesses or outsourced the work to third-party private catering companies. Historians say meals were reportedly good but dry. Food was cooked on or near the airport to preserve freshness and avoid contamination. With the launch of the Boeing 747 in 1970, planes could now carry up to 500 passengers forcing airlines and flight attendants to feed even more passengers. The 1970's brought about other sweeping changes for the airlines. Rising fuel costs from two separate oil crises gave carriers eager to cut costs an incentive to trim their food budgets. And the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 gave legacy carriers a new competitor - low-cost airlines. Budget airlines allowed travelers to buy tickets for as little as $25 making passengers pay extra for soft drinks and snacks. Cost cutting continued into the 1980's when American Airlines CEO Robert Crandall famously removed an olive from every salad in first class saving the carrier $40,000 in 1987. It's in the details. Are you going to include three cherry tomatoes in that salad that you're serving to economy class or can they do with two cherry tomatoes? That's laughable from our vantage point but when you're trying to serve 400 passengers and the big flying metal tube, that's going to make a difference for the accountants. In the early 2000's airline faced falling profits following the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the SAR's epidemic. From 2001 through 2005. U.S. carriers lost a record $60 billion, according to Airlines for America, an industry, trade and lobbying group. To save money many airlines stopped serving meals. Airline meals had actually gone out of fashion. The airlines stopped serving them when they were in these dire financial straits after 9/11, there were a series of bankruptcies and then followed by a series of mergers and airlines were looking to cut costs wherever they could. But by 2019, U.S. airlines posted their tenth year of profitability. In order to compete for those economy class passengers many airlines brought the free meal back. One of the biggest challenges airline chefs face is how do you prepare hot meals for thousands of people simultaneously? The answer, it takes an army. Emirates flight catering located at Dubai Airport makes an average of 225,000 meals a day for over 500 flights. To get the job done it requires a culinary team of more than 11,000 people, including 1,800 chefs. The facility operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Darren Bott is Emirates Airline vice president of catering. Emirates spends more than a billion dollars a year around the world on food and beverage, a ccording to Bott. Because of the size and scope of who we are, we're running in excess of 7,000 menus a year. The whole exercise takes minimum of 12 months, really from start to finish to to start from creating new dishes in that concept development facilitate to ultimately getting those onboard in flight. Because Dubai is in the desert, almost all the food used in the kitchen has to be imported. Fruits and vegetables come from Europe, berries from the US, beef and lamb comes from Australia, and poultry comes from South America. Meal production starts roughly 48 hours prior to take off. In addition to a bakery, a butchery and a vegetable prep area, the facility also has a Japanese, an Indian and a Middle Eastern kitchen. In 2018, Emirates Flight Catering customers consumed 110 million meals, including 1,400 tons of potatoes, 72 million bread rolls, 61 tons of strawberries and 188 tons of salmon. Every raw materials principally imported, which is a massive and very complicated supply chain and logistics challenge. Once meals are cooked, they are plated, placed in a cart, put into refrigerated vehicles and then loaded onto the plane. A fully loaded A380 can hold anywhere from 40 to 60 airline meal carts weighing more than nine metric tons. Airline catering is an almost $6 billion business in the U.S., according to IBISWorld, a market research firm. While a few airlines like United Airlines have some in-house catering, most meals are provided by third party airline catering companies. In the U.S. LSG Sky Chefs, Gate Gourmet and Flying Food Group are three of the biggest operators and have kitchens on or near airports around the country. Together, they make up nearly half of the U.S. airline catering market. In 2019 L SG Sky Chefs had estimated revenue in the U.S. of $1.6 billion, Gate Gourmet had estimated revenue of $714 million and Flying Food Group had estimated revenue of $490 million dollars. They are all private but from what the companies have revealed to the public - In the U.S., LSG Sky Chefs had estimated net income of $61.5 million in 2019, Gate Gourmet had estimated net income of $61.2 million and Flying Food Group had estimated operating income of $29.8 million. Airlines face a number of hurdles getting hot meals to customers - no open flames on a plane means everything has to be reheated. Another big problem? Your tastebuds are dulled at high altitudes, meaning your perception of saltiness and sweetness drops. So, your plane food probably tastes more bland than it actually is. Let's look at how United the sole major U.S. carrier to handle its catering in-house designs its menus. United distributes more than 50 million meals a year. Menu design can be anything from redesigning the breakfast service to redeveloping United's first class Polaris dinner service. Gerry Gulli is one of United Airlines two top chefs. He manages more than 2,500 catering employees and works with a team of design chefs from United and chefs from their partners at Gate Gourmet and LSG Sky Chefs. Over the course of several days, the chef's test different recipes and tweak them. We test everything and put it through how it's actually going to be handled on the plane. We just don't want to come up with some great new fancy ideas. We just want to make sure that the outcome is going to be executed the way we want it day in and day out. The team also takes into account feedback from customers, flight attendants and their data analytics team. Anything that happens on an airplane can immediately become viral. You serve a bad meal and it's going to be on Instagram, it's gonna be on Twitter. So airlines sort of don't want that embarrassing PR. Singapore Airlines produces about 40 million meals per year. To keep its offerings fresh the carrier changes its menu weekly on regional flights and monthly on international flights. We rely on expertise of the local caterers to advise us what fruit and vegetables in season, what fish is great this month and then we map that out over the course of the year. Despite those efforts, airlines like Singapore still face logistical challenges. It can take up to seven weeks to get some lettuce and fruits into the kitchen for Singapore Airlines. In 2019 the carrier expanded its farm-to-plane initiative for one of the world's longest flights. The 19-hour journey from Newark to Singapore sources, leafy greens and vegetables from Aerofarms, an indoor vertical farm located in a former warehouse near Newark Airport in New Jersey. AeroFarms is a private urban agricultural company. We grow without sun, without soil. Instead of sun we use LED's - light-emitting diode's. Instead of soil, we use a cloth growth media that's made out of 100 percent recycled materials. A eroFarms claims it has over 300 times the productivity of a normal farm because of the fast crop cycles, the fully-controlled environment and the stacks of plants. We harvest the vegetables and the leaf green at eight o'clock in the morning and those leaf greens on the flight at eight o'clock the next day. But while U.S. airlines are making billions labor union leaders say many of the airline caterers in the U.S. who prepare first class meals for American, Delta and United are struggling to make ends meet. In November 2019 thousands of airline catering workers demonstrated at about 15 U.S. airports calling for better wages and affordable health care, according to Unite Here, a union that represents 20,000 workers in the airline catering industry. Airline catering kitchens are factories. There's workers preparing that food. There's workers plating that food. There's workers loading that up into that cart. More than half of the workers at two of the nation's biggest airline catering companies, LSG Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet earn less than $15 an hour and struggle to pay for their company's expensive health care, according to Unite Here. And airlines aren't just facing labor issues. With more people flying cabin waste has also become a top concern for airline execs. It is estimated that the airline industry produced almost 6 million tons of cabin waste in 2017 costing the airlines almost a billion dollars, according to the IATA. Twenty percent of that waste was made up of untouched food and drinks. But despite these issues, the in-flight catering business is expected to grow at a rapid clip. T he global airline catering business could surge to more than $9.5 billion by 2026, according to a study by Fact.MR a market research company. And with the number of travelers expected to double by 2037, premium and economy cabins could see even more food options in the future.