Back From Brazil


I left for the airport in Brazil yesterday (Monday) around 1:30pm and that is about the time I got in this afternoon, roughly 24 hours later, door to door.  Its a rough trip.  4 Airports, 3 airplanes, both US & Brazilian Customs coming and going (had checked baggage, something I never do but had to this time, presents for my girlfriend and her family.  Luckily on the return, I just had one suitcase, a carry on along with my laptop.  Seems the baggage requirements get smaller and smaller each time I travel, and the seating gets tighter and tighter.

Of course, the person in front of you always feels they need more room, so they put their chair back all the way so its now hitting my knees and I can barely put my tray down to eat or take out my iPad to read.  I am a short person too at only 5′ 7′” Tall, and every time I fly, I get more and more cramped and the top of the seat of the person in front of me is inches from my nose.  Its tough enough to be asked to sit in the same place to drink, eat, read, write for 10 hours, you would think they would modify the aircraft to make it slightly more comfortable?

The wine used to cost $4, then $5, then $6, and now its $7 for something that I doubt is a full glass and is certainly not the same wine $7 would buy you in most restaurants. But thats what they charge and if you want wine thats what you have to pay no matter the quantity, quality or price.

Before I say anything, this has to be the best airline meal I have ever had in recent or past memory.  I think the very best was simply a cold turkey club sandwich on multigrain bread from Boston Market.  Seriously, why not offer food like this and make us pay for it instead of feeing us literally garbage?  And, I am not being abrupt or rude, seriously, this is stuff you would find in the garbage.

Here is a sample of the best dinner I ever had on the airline US Airways.  Wine, $7, merely ok, Chilean Merlot.  Overcooked carrots, a spoon and a half full; flat round pasta, maybe 2 spoons full, and not horrible tasting; and of course the beef, which is white (never seen white beef), but that was about another 1.5 spoons. 1 Stale roll the size of a flat golf ball, never served with butter but imitation or margarine, and of course your salad of a mere handful of lettuce, cherry tomato, cucumber slice.

Ok, so that was the good meal, here was the bad…. It was on the return flight of US Airways. This time I got the Chilean Cabernet Savignon, it was better than the merlot, but then again, we don’t fly to drink fine wine, we drink wine to kill the pain of long air flight and the taste of really bad food.  IN this case a double-stale roll.  Butter completely frozen, and the best part was the attendant saying “be careful the side are really hot”, well they were barely hot and when I opened my pasta with cream sauce and parmesan cheese, it was diabolical.  I mean, I don’t know how this could have been accomplished. It was warm up top, but not on the bottom, it was cold, but the cheese was melted in some areas but not others, and the pasta was cold in some areas where it was hot next to others… it was like a checkerboard table… black & white, in this case, warm, cold and  uncooked, but inconsistently throughout… I could not replicate this if I wanted to.  I can understand the top hot bottom cold, center warm, but the left cold, the top warm, the bottom melted but other places somewhere between?  The roll of bread was especially stale, barely able to break it apart (literally), the salad contained cucumbers and yellow peppers, but this could not feed a rabbit in one sitting.   The dessert was some sort of coconut cheesecake in strawberry, the bottom half stuck to the plastic tray, so only have of it was “enjoyed”.

Again, we don’t fly to eat, and when in transit for 5+ hours (in this case 10+) you will basically eat anything that is in front of you.  Not sure what first class was eating but I bet it was not worth double the price of a plane ticket.  Even on TAM (Brazilian Airline) they greet you with candy and snacks before takeoff.

My suggestion would be to bring in the franchise/food chains and you can order what you like… a burger from McDonalds, Burger King, Wendys, of course pre/reheated) or a sandwich from Boston Market or Subway, or even pasta or pizza from a chain… anything and i mean ANYTHING must taste better and must be better for you than what they serve an charge you for… seriously, I will pay more on top of the ticket price, only because I don’t have a choice in what they serve me which is already built into the price of the airline ticket.

I’ve said this may times before.  Don’t charge me for headsets, give them free, and if I have a set from one of your flights give me a free drink.  Don’t charge me for meals, offer me a quality meal for only a few dollars more from a known source.  I know its all about money and profit margin, but what happen to the luxury of travel?  Is it gone?  Then take away the luxury prices.  Charge me what you need to make a profit, let me take my own food and drink on board or offer me the same as what I would have paid outside of the terminal.

This cost me roughly $5 at McDonald’s.  Of all the fast food chains I like the food least from McDonald’s but Brazilians love it.  Every time I return from Brazil I don’t feel like cooking after 24 hours of travel, so I go to McDonalds for 2 reasons 1) to try to understand why Brazilians love it so much and 2) Its 10 times better than airline food, so I might appreciate it more the once a year I eat it.  The only time I can appreciate it is after having eaten 1 meal in 24 hours which was provided by an airline.  If it cost me $5 I know the airline can get it for $2 by quantity.  Please, charge me the $5 retail and increase my plane ticket by $5.  The $3 YOU profit from will make my flying experience much more pleasant.

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