Why tomato juice tastes best on a plane


Have you ever felt let down by the taste of food and drink when flying on a plane? Here’s why we can’t blame airline catering – and what the best tasting drink is to order when cruising at 39,000ft on a plane.

tomato juiceFinding a contact address for a 'real' person at Amazon can be stressful for some  (Credit: Pxhere)

Why does food and drink taste bland, or even bad on a plane

Well science says that as we move to higher altitudes, our taste buds and sense of smell both become less sensitive. As taste is a combination of both, sweet and salty flavours become less pronounced making food taste exceedingly bland.

Why do our taste buds and sense of smell stop working so well on planes, though?

The cabin has extremely low humidity at altitude – around 12%, which is drier than most deserts – and combining this with low pressure reduces sensitivity to sweet and salty food by around 30%, according to a 2010 study carried out for German airline Lufthansa.

What is the best food to eat on a plane?

While our ability to recognise salty and sweet flavours falls as we soar up to 39,00ft, our tastebuds’ ability spot sour, bitter and spicy flavours is left almost totally unaffected. Scour the inflight menu for spicy options such as curry, along with citrus-based desserts next time. Other plane-friendly meals include those prepared with mushrooms, tomatoes and soy sauce.

The best tasting drink on a plane is tomato juice

While most people would never consider tomato juice while firmly on the ground, it seems that ordering a glass of the fruit juice – yes they are botanically classified as a fruit – will give you one of the most refreshing and enjoyable drinks on offer in the plane cabin.

Why does tomato juice taste better on planes?

The normally earthy flavours associated with tomato juice are altered when tasted at altitude – turning more sweet and fruity. Additionally, tomato juices are often mixed with spices, so will taste even better as these are not impacted by altitude in the same way that sweet and salty flavours are.

Should I add some vodka to my tomato juice?

You certainly could, but remember to keep your alcohol intake to a minimum when you’re on a flight – especially if you’re on a long-haul service. Too much booze will increase the risk of dehydration

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Author: Pete Barden:

Twitter: @pete_barden

Pete Barden is a qualified journalist who has written and produced for publications including The Sun (thesun.co.uk), New Statesman Media Group, Whatcar? (Whatcar.com) Stuff Magazine (Stuff.tv), Fastcar Magazine (Fastcar.co.uk), Maxim Magazine and UK broadcast stations within the Heart network (Formerly GCAP). Pete specialises in motoring and travel content, along with news and production roles. You can find out more about Pete Barden on LinkedIn.

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