Food

Food from space, spotted in Sydney, Australia

Greetings from Sydney, Australia where I’m touring the city and attending the Annual General Meeting of IATA  – the International Air Transport Assocation.

While in town, I visited the Powerhouse Museum, one of the sites of the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences and, in the Space section, came across a few examples of old food from space.

 

This container, made by NASA, is from 1973 and was created so that astronauts on the Skylab space station could drink a lemonade in space.

According to the museum notes, this white plastic ‘concertina-shaped’ cylinder has a “brownish lemonade drink paste” inside which would be reconstituted by adding water. A velcro tab attached to the bottom of the container presumeably was used to attach the drink to a surface to keep it from floating in the cabin.

Also on display- Space food for cosmonauts from 1993:

From the museum notes:

“Inside the package are five individual food items including a tube of fermented cabbage soup (in paste/puree form), a tin of pork and potatoes, ten bite-size cubes of black bread sealed in a plastic wrap, a plastic sachet of peach and black grape juice powder and a small sachet of condiments. The juice sachet is folded over and comes fitted with a valved nozzle through which it would be rehydrated and drunk.”

Yum?

The last (plastic) straw for Alaska Airlines

Courtesy Alaska Airlines 

Earth Day  – which this year highlighted Lonely Whale’s “For a Strawless Ocean” campaign to get people and companies to stop using plastic straws – has come and gone. But the earth still needs our help.

So it’s good to know that Alaska Airlines has jumped on the No Straws bandwagon. Starting July 16 the carrier will stop serving single-use, non-recyclable, plastic stir straws and citrus picks with drinks and will replace them with sustainable alternatives in its airport lounges and on all domestic and international commercial flights.

What’s wrong with plastic straws?  They non-recyclalbe and if they end up on the oceans, they can kill  birds and other marine life.

In 2017, Alaska Airlines handed out 22 million plastic stir straws and citrus picks. This summer, they’ll instead start using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified white birch stir sticks and a bamboo alternative for the citrus pick. People with special needs will be able to request non-plastic, marine-friendly straws.

Alaska Airlines has a good history of being eco-conscious.

Since it started tracking its recycling efforts in 2010, the airline says it has reduced passenger waste going to landfills by 54 percent.

The Seattle-based carrier has also replaced bottled beer with aluminum cans -which are lighter and easier to recycle and introducted a policy to refill plastic cups rather than offering a new cup for every round of beverage service.

“Building on our grassroots, employee-led recycling program, we’re thrilled to take the next step to protecting our land and oceans by removing single-use non-recyclable plastic straws from our planes,” said Jacqueline Drumheller, sustainability manager for Alaska Airlines, in a statement.

Let’s see if other airines join the no-straw party.

Travel Tidbits: Airport Restaurant Month + WiFi on Spirit

It’s back. And its yummy.

HMSHost is smack dab in the middle of its Restaurant Month celebration, offering special meals at more than 80 restaurants in about 50 airports throughout North America.

Menus vary by restaurant, but at many of the participating restaurants you’ll find these featured dishes:

* Avocado Banh Mi with cucumber, carrot, cilantro, mint, and lime
* Roasted Salmon with avocado, sautéed mushroom, arugula, and a Sriracha aioli
* Pulled Pork Tacos with avocado, radish, and lime
* Grilled Chicken Breast with smoky tomato sauce, caramelized onions, and avocado

Look here for a list of participating restaurants and airport, and some sample menus.

 

Also: Spirit Airlines, known for offering low fares but upcharging for everything from a water to printing out a boarding pass for you, has announced that it will be installing Wi-Fi on its planes by summer 2019.

Pricing will be available “starting with an average price of $6.50, with a cost range expected to be lower or higher based on the route and demand,” the airline said in a statement. We bet on “higher.”

Air France campaign promotes economy experience

Air France (launching flights between Seattle and Paris this weekend) is rolling out a cute campaign focusing not on its business or first class amenities – but on what it gives to economy pass passengers.

And what other airlines don’t.

Noting that ‘budget’ carriers offer low prices but minimal amenities, the “Take a Chance or Fly Air France” campaign touts the fact that economy class passengers on Air France pay low prices but also get amenities such as in-flight entertainment, warm meals, and champagne.

To make the point, Air France has made up give-away boxes containing items that may be useful to passengers flying economy class on other airlines:

  • 5 foot scroll of Sudoku puzzles for flights without free entertainment
  • Scratch-and-sniff boeuf bourguignon meal patch for flights without free hot meals and;
  • Champagne gummies for flights without free champagne

The boxes will be given away via a vending machine at an event at The Grove shopping center in Los Angeles on March 24 (with a few golden tickets good for two round-trip tickets on Air France in the mix), but the rest of us can enter to win a box of goodies by entering an online sweepstakes.

 

Gate-delivery at airports going worldwide

We definitely have a trend. Or a new way of doing things at airports.

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is the latest airport to offer a service that allows passengers to order meals from airport vendors and have it delivered to them wherever they are in the airport, in about 15 minutes.

Schiphol is working with food-delivery company Deliveroo and HMSHost International on a pilot program for deliveries in Piers (or concourses) D and E, and in the Mercure Hotel in Departure Lounge 3, and so far the pilot is a big success.

“The reactions from the passengers have been very positive,” Schiphol spokesman Paul Weber told me via email, “Passengers are smiling and waving to our deliverers, taking pictures of them and saying how innovative & quirky the service is. Most of them are very surprised by the existence of such a service, calling Schiphol “The airport of the future.”

For now, the meals available are prepared at Kebaya and The Market, The Grill and The Oven, which are located in Schiphol’s Street Food Market and are delivered by scooter, for a delivery charge of €2.50 (about $3) – but free delivery is being offered through March.

Schiphol isn’t the first airport to offer gate delivery. Airport Sherpa offers gate delivery of food and merchandise at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. At Your Gate recently began offering gate delivery at San Diego International Airport. Both companies plan expansions to other airports.

And, as part of an Airport Innovation Challenge, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, a start-up called Fetchy Fox received a $15,000 prize to develop a delivery program for food and retail at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington’s Dulles Airport.