United In-Flight Food Review #2

In transatlantic travel tradition, I have comprised a brief review of the culinary offerings on my flight from TLV to EWR:

My flight was set to depart at 10:30 AM, an odd time to fly into another time zone. Perhaps due to this timing the meals were not defined so much as presented sporadically without definitive titles. There was no LUNCH, DINNER, BREAKFAST; there was some food, a snack, and some more food. I didn’t mind the informality—if anything, I’d only take grievance with my self-hindering vegetarianism. The selection was odd.


About an hour and a half after takeoff I came to and realized that people were eating. I had zonked out for the beginning of the flight, as is my prerogative. Noticing that my fellow travelers were chowing down inspired me to ask a flight attendant about the possibility of joining in on the jig. I was then presented with a choice: chicken or fish.

“Neither,” I said, “but is there a vegetarian option?”

The answer was no. So in place of chicken or fish I received two servings of a grain (bulgur?) salad, a roll, butter, two packets of dry Israeli cracker-like snacks, and a kif-kef (Kit Kat). It was fine, but not something to dwell on.


I have no idea at what point in the flight this was, I just knew I was barely awake and kind of hungry. On the menu were sandwiches.

“Tuna?” offered the flight attendant.

“Vegetarian?” I countered.

The vegetarian option was a sun-dried tomato spread on a square of Bulgarian cheese between bread. Also, a mekupelet (yum!).

This snack was pretty bad.


At around 21:00 the crew distributed the final meal, which was definitely breakfast, despite it being night for all the passengers. This was unequivocally the best United had to offer: seasoned omelet, little cubed potatoes, and grilled zucchini. Accompanied by bad coffee, it was clear this was our wake up call.

I don’t like zucchini. I know that I don’t like zucchini, yet that did not stop me from trying the zucchini thrice until I surmised what I already knew: I don’t like zucchini. The eggs and the potatoes were yummy and the coffee was offensive.

All in all, this was no flight for the foodie. There was food, but it was nothing to write about despite me doing quite that.

Perhaps more exciting was that the flight was nearly empty. I got my own row. I showed to the airport at 08:00 and breezed through the airport circuit in a little over an hour. Being Israeli at an Israeli airport has its perks.

I got my inaugural almond croissant from Ilan’s Flying Cafe (name?) and strolled onto my flight without a wait. On the flight I slept enough, ate too much sugar, read a few pages of my book, and watched The Shape of Water. Incredible what you can do in 11 hours on an aircraft.

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