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Airline Menus from the Past

When the Food We Loved to Hate Was Free


Hungry to know more about airline food offerings? Meals served on a plane have always incurred their share of insults. Food on an airplane has often been likened to cardboard, rubber, or is sometimes thought of as a mystery food drenched in a gooey sauce of some sort. Who knew that given such, ahem, high praise, there would be nostalgia for the days of free food inflight.

Granted, there are still flights and classes of service where you get your food without reaching for your wallet, but for the most part, the heydays of free inflight meals are long gone.

Imagine now that someone has decided to make a permanent place for airline food nostalgia. It exists. Northwestern University Library has created an online experience for the airline foodie - it's a site that features hundreds of airline menus from the 1950s to the present.

"The 380-plus menus not only document the history of airline cuisine, they conjure up a time when flying was a more elegant, more comfortable form of travel", said Robert Sarmiento, head of Northwestern University's Transportation Library.

So what does a sample menu from the past look like? A flight on United Airlines from Washington to Denver in coach class in 1963 included appetizers such as a lobster cocktail, a meal of chicken with rice and broccoli, and chocolate cake.

Airline menus from the good old days - so you can see hundreds of examples of menus from the past.
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