United in-flight food review

During my last flight to Israel nearly a year and a half ago I penned a piece entitled “EL-AL in-flight food review.” Please enjoy this companion piece and feel free to cross-analyze the two experiences.


Prior to boarding, I purchased a mocha coffee drink in a can and paired it with a blueberry muffin that possessed too much zest for my liking.


In a pandemic the notion of eating on a plane is tricky. Do you risk possibly contracting the virus or infecting other passengers OR do you starve? Most of the flyers on this flight elected the former, even going to such lengths to risk it all without masks for the entire duration of the flight.

It began with water and coffee.

Then plastic-wrapped kosher meals were distributed to the vast majority of customers. I inquired about a non-kosher vegetarian meal for myself, to which I was instructed to wait until the kosher meals were distributed. I waited. My veggies never came. I harangued a flight attendant after nearly crying over my neglect. Then I finally received my meal:

⁃ The entrée was manicotti with spinach and mushrooms. I ate the perhaps odd choice for an international flight, obviously scraping away the mushrooms.

⁃ As a side there was something (bulgur, perhaps) that tasted faintly like charoset that I didn’t take to

⁃ There was a roll that excited me until it touched my tastebuds and I promptly removed it from my mouth

⁃ Almonds (?)

⁃ For dessert, I indulged in a surprisingly adequate vanilla bean gelato


The arrival of the final in-flight meal came at an odd time, as the food wasn’t breakfast-y yet not filling enough to consider a proper lunch. The timing was odd, as the American clock brushed 4 AM while in Tel Aviv it was already past 10:00. Nevertheless, I attempted to eat:


⁃ Water


⁃ Some combination of veggies that tasted like tabouli that I had to taste twice to ensure I was not a fan

⁃ What I can only assume to be United’s over-seasoned attempt at falafel, hummus, and mini pitas

It was gross.

If I were to grant United a letter grade on their culinary pursuits, I would have to award them a hard C+. While there was intention behind the dishes, the edibility was lacking.

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