Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Food for traveling kids: pizza at the gate and on board?

This morning I saw this story at about possible pizza deliveries at the gate at Minneapolis - St Paul's International Airport. Ordering pizza by cell-phone as you pull into the gate, having it delivered as you disembark sounds like a great idea. It would be especially convenient if you're in a hurry between flights, or at an airport where the nearest kid-friendly eatery is in a completely different part of the airport.

Apparently Delta Airlines has a competing plan already in the works for additional seating areas at the gates in some airports where you could sit down with some fast food.

My first thought when reading the story was: I hope this catches on, just like I hope those water filling stations at San Francisco airport catch on. My second thought was: I hope that they expand on this idea and start serving pizza on board as well.

Pizza on board?
I've often thought that pizza would be a perfect food to serve on board an airplane. No cutlery needed, comes in flat boxes so it doesn't take up a lot of space, and a popular, tasty, kid-friendly food to boot. If there was cheese pizza available on the long flights I go on with my children, they would be very pleased. Maybe the airline would be well-advised to skimp on the tomato sauce, and offer the pizza with a small package of wet wipes, but I still think it would be a fantastic idea. Instead of the usual "chicken or beef?" question I usually get when choosing my meal on board Lufthansa and KLM, it could be "pepperoni, deluxe or cheese?".

Kids' food on board: the bad and the good and the better
The offerings of food on board are sometimes a little strange, especially for kids who can have somewhat limited palates. I can remember some odd KLM-sandwich between Amsterdam and Stockholm with some kind of chutney, onions and mortadella. My kids took one sniff and look and turned that down. It didn't taste bad, just not the most kid-friendly meal I've ever seen. On Iceland Air my kids got a very dry and very black and rather cold cheeseburger that didn't impress them either. At least those meals were free of charge!

Since my kids favor pasta dishes, I always hope for that when we're on board. I also wish more airlines would offer healthy, simple, plain foods for kids on board: things like vegetable sticks with a dip on the side, apple slices, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes. Sometimes that stuff is available, but it should be more common

Another food I'd like to see on board more often is plain chicken that is not necessarily breaded into chicken nuggets. Chicken drumsticks maybe? I'd also love it if sauce, such as tomato sauce, was offered on the side with more dishes, instead of poured all over the dish, whether it be pasta or chicken or something else. Lots of kids are really against the whole "food touching each other" thing.

Plain cheese and ham sandwiches would also be a nice choice for kids. Crackers and cheese are always good, as are yogurts and whole fruit. I'm all for letting kids try new and exciting foods (mine have a thing for feta cheese, olives, and prawns), but on board a long flight is not always the best place to challenge their taste buds!  And yes, I would love to see some pizza served on board for kids and for adults!

Image of very tasty looking pizza thanks to public domain images.

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