Your Airplane Food Is Missing A Squeeze Of Citrus

Let's be honest, airplane food has a major public relations problem. It seems that no matter what the airlines do, no matter how many new menus they roll out or tweaks they make to their dining programs, airplane food can't shake its reputation for being bland, boring, and sometimes just downright gross.

Airlines could spend years trying to perfect their menus, but they'll never be able to beat the simple fact that food served 30,000 feet up in the air just tastes different. That's not an opinion, it's a scientific fact. Among other things, the pressurization in the cabin actually dulls your senses, making food taste blander. To combat this, many airlines and the food service companies they employ tend to add far more salt and spices than they would for a meal served on the ground.

Over the years, seasoned travelers have come up with a series of hacks to help make their meals taste better at altitude. Many do like Beyonce, carrying a bottle of hot sauce in their carry-on bags to add a bit of heat and tang to their airplane meals. Some companies even have TSA-approved sizes, like Tabasco's small two-ounce bottles. There's another hack that is so simple you might kick yourself for not having thought of it sooner, and it involves something you might have sitting on your kitchen counter this very minute.

Make sure to pack a lemon

The secret to boosting the flavors in your airplane meal without adding any extra salt or calories? Pack a lemon! That's right, a simple squeeze of lemon juice can take your airplane food from "meh" to "mmmm." The acidity in lemon juice helps highlight other flavors, and in many restaurants, chefs will finish dishes with a squeeze of lemon juice before they get sent out to customers.

Lemon juice can also help tone down overly salty or spicy dishes, helping to bring balance if you've brought that tiny bottle of hot sauce on the plane and over-sauced your breakfast burrito. Speaking of breakfast, a squeeze of lemon juice can also help elevate the eggs that many airlines serve during morning flights.

To ensure that you aren't trying to slice a lemon with cheap airplane cutlery mid-flight, take a few minutes to prep your lemons before you head to the airport. Slice them into wedges and pop them in an airtight plastic bag before tucking them into your carry-on or purse. Once your food arrives, fish out that bag of lemon wedges and add a little brightness to your meal. If you've brought enough, you can be the hero of your aisle by sharing with your neighbors, letting them in on the secret to turning bland airplane food into a tasty midair treat.