The First Ever Airline Meal Looks Quite Familiar 100 Years Later

Food tastes different on planes, and airlines have attempted to adjust ingredients and packaging to create a palatable experience for travelers. Some airlines have absolutely nailed down the recipes and meal services offered to guests, even serving caviar and Champagne to weary passengers. Others, well ... We won't describe the more obvious shortcomings, but let's just say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

While there are a few ways you can try to make in-flight meals taste better (get ready to slather on the condiments), many elements are simply beyond our control. As much as the airline industry has gone through noteworthy advancements and fine tunings over the years, some of the food offerings you find served during flights today closely resemble the menu items that were presented to passengers onboard a Handley-Page flight over one hundred years ago. In fact, the first-ever meal served on a plane is probably something you've packed for yourself.

Packing meals for travel

In 1919, the very first meal in the sky was served to passengers traveling from London to Paris, and commuters were treated to wrapped sandwiches served with a side of fruit. The cold lunches could be purchased for three shillings, and at the time, the sandwiches were a novelty to unwrap and bite into while sitting inside of the plane. Though frozen foods were served to World War II soldiers traveling between destinations, the general public didn't get to experience any kinds of pre-packaged meals until this style of food was turned into a commercial service and made available to everyday passengers.

The world's first "flight kitchen" was brought to the masses in 1936, when United Airlines sought to cook and serve hot meals like scrambled eggs and fried chicken to customers. And though varying degrees of meals and meal services are now offered on airlines around the world, there's still something satisfying about unwrapping a sandwich in your seat after the plane has taken off.