Virgin’s Inflight Meal Part 1: The never ending service

Hi everyone! I’m finally armed with unlimited access to my computer, photos, and the internet!

The past month, I’ve been in 5 different time zones, to 7 countries, and on 9 flights.

But before I tell you more about what I ate and saw, I’ll first give you the full report on the Virgin Atlantic flight I took from NYC to London (total flight time 6 hours).

Breakfast: Good Morning!

Service time: approx. 45 mins

Judging from the box and the cheerful greeting, I was hopeful that there was something edible in the box.

Orange juice, a granola bar, cream cheese, and a plain bagel, which by the way tasted like aluminum.

I tried my best to eat as much of the bagel as possible but gave up and ate the granola bar instead.

Lunch Service: Approx. 1 hour 45 minutes

(4 trolly passes in the main cabin for the Pre-meal drink, main meal, coffee/tea service, and dessert)

Main Entree Options: Beef Stew, Chicken Korma, and Vegetarian Pasta

By the time the food trolly made its way to my seat, the only option that was left was the chicken korma. I asked the flight attendant if there were cashews in the korma. Without missing a beat, she said no. But said that she couldn’t promise me anything because there might be traces of nuts.

I said traces were fine and took the meal.

When I actually looked at the packaging it clearly said: “Allergen information: CASHEW NUTS.”

I tried to flag the flight attendant but she was too deeply immersed in her duties so I pushed the call button and waited. After 20 mins, another flight attendant emerged and told me no other meal option was left so I asked for another salad.

The Butter Fiasco:

While I was eating my two salads, a passenger in front of me requested some butter. (He pronounced it as “budder”) The flight attendant didn’t understand him and kept on saying “Whaat? WHAAAT?” WATER?! Even when the passenger waved an empty butter container, the miscommunication continued. Finally, all the passengers around him began taking pity and passed him their unopened butter packets and screamed at the flight attendant: “He wants butter! BUTTER!”

When the trolly came by the 4th time with chocolate pudding, I declined because I didn’t want to engage in further conversations with the flight attendant. I just wanted the meal service to end! But I must give them credit as a total of two and a half hours of meal service on a six hour flight did make the flight seem shorter.

My experience reminded me of the famous complaint letter about the meal service on Virgin Atlantic.

My favorite line: “What is this? Why have I been given it? What have I done to deserve this? And, which one is the starter, which one is the desert?”

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The Nut-Giver

This week’s theme: Food Gifts!

I like to get food as presents when I’m traveling. I usually get chocolates and nuts because they are easy to fit into my bags and they aren’t heavy.

Last Sunday, I went to the Hollywood Farmers’ Market in LA and got a bag of pistachios to bring back. I’ve bought these before and they have always been a hit. I personally can’t comment on what they taste like because I can’t eat them (I’m allergic, remember?) but I hear they are delicious.

My sister first introduced me to these pistachios (http://santabarbarapistachios.com/) a few years ago. Last December, on my way to stay with a friend for winter break, I bought the holiday variety pack and received a free tote! They have flavors like: Onion garlic roast, lemon zing, hickory smoke, and chile-lemon.

I decided on the salted ones for the occasion.

For some reason, I enjoy gifting nuts even though I can’t eat them. I think it’s because it makes me feel like I can taste them vicariously through other people.

living on the edge

Did I ever tell you that I’m allergic to tree nuts?

And I do mean deathly allergic. You know how Will Smith’s face gets all swollen in the movie Hitch?  Yup, that happens to me if I eat large doses of tree nuts.

How do I know? I once had a quarter of a slice of chocolate torte, which had ground hazelnuts in the crust. The reaction was so bad that my facial features disappeared and I became a glob.

Don’t believe me? Ask my sister, the sole witness of my near death experience.

I usually have to ask people to tell me if there are nuts and to remove them for me (proven to be not a very reliable method!). What I actually end up doing is relying on my tongue to determine if I’m allergic to something in the food. But it takes time to taste a little and wait for the slight tingle, which signals the presence of an allergen.

Could my life become hassle free with this allergen detector?

My guess is not but I’d be willing to try one out for a bit.