Airport Food Has Come a Long Way Since the Early Days of Air Travel

Think you can’t get a good meal at the airport? Think again.

Remember the good old days when air travel was a luxury that included first class service from attentive stewardesses who fluffed pillows with a gracious smile and treated passengers like royalty? And who could forget the “delicious” airport food found during those extended layovers? For frequent fliers that remember those airport meals, delicious airport food is an oxymoron. A bag of chips and a soft drink from vending machines isn’t a gourmet meal in any decade.

Flight attendants are still there with a smile for passengers, but the food has changed considerably. In today’s airports, vending machines have been replaced by restaurants that serve a multitude of culinary delights to calm prickly passengers.

Stuck at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL) airport? Make your way to Terminal E for a gourmet meal at One Flew South. Try the Pan Roasted Snapper and a Triple Chocolate Torte. It will put a smile back on your face.

The Tortas Frontera restaurants found at Chicago O’Hare International (ORD) airport serve some of the best Mexican food to be found in Chicago. One look at the menu may have you hoping for a flight delay.

If you are a beer connoisseur, stop by the New Belgium Hub at the Denver International (DEN) airport and raise a pint or two before hopping on that next flight. The food is good, but it’s the beer that keeps frequent travelers coming back for more.

John F. Kennedy International (JFK) airport in New York City boasts upscale restaurants featuring Chef Andrew Carmellini and Jason Denton. Savvy travelers can dine in style in Delta’s custom dining area where the airline has installed Apple iPads for travelers to use to check flights and order food for delivery to Delta’s departure gates.

Three-fourths or more restaurants in large U.S. airports now offer at least one high-fiber, low-fat, cholesterol-free meal on their menu for health-conscious travelers.  The trick is to eat smarter. If you’re in a hurry and need a snack, choose bottled water and pretzels instead of a soft drink and chips. If it’s a fast meal you want, bypass the burger and fries and look for sandwiches made with lean meat or veggies and whole-grain bread.  A slice of veggie pizza and fresh fruit are good choices. Salads are always a winner, but opt for vinaigrette or a tablespoon of regular dressing to keep it healthy.

The good news is airport food is getting better all the time. Even fast food has come a long way in quality and taste. The traveling public expects healthier and tastier choices and restaurateurs are stepping up to accommodate them.

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