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Tuesday 21 April 2015

One of the worst airline meals ever

Meet what has to be the worst airline meal I have had this year. Or last year, for that matter.
Pasta for dinner anyone? 
It was a dish served on flight LA 801 between Santiago in Chile and Auckland. 

This culinary gem was enticingly described as "pasta" and was offered as an option to "salmon". 

No-frills LAN, the national carrier of Chile, has dispensed with such fripperies as warm/cold towels, menus and amenity kits. And, apparently, decent food.

This congealed mess, strangely burnt in places, was apparently designed to be meat raviolis in a cheese sauce. 

Which might have been fine if it were not both under-cooked and served to me somewhere between lukewarm and stone cold.

I could only manage one mouthful, I'm afraid, although had I been truly hungry there was also a "salad" - six or seven pieces of tired-looking lettuce. No tomato, no onion, just sad, lonely lettuce.
To be fair, when I complained the purser did offer something alternative. I was not game to try it.

That's because on the Buenos Aires-Santiago leg, LAN's idea of a snack was the world's worst ham and cheese roll. A doughy, tasteless creation that almost defies description.

In fact on five of seven legs with LAN over the past 12 days, five menus featured some form of ham and cheese sandwich or croissant.
All this is strange, because the LAN in-flight entertainment system describes the airline's culinary offerings as "dishes that evoke the simple, homemade flavors of our region's most traditional dishes".

Obviously ham and cheese sandwiches hold a special place in Chilean culture. 

The other atrocity on the same flight was this "omelette" - just a super-rubbery omelette (no mushroom or tomato, not even any ham or cheese), served with a handful of diced pieces of potato, some of which were close to raw (far left), others burnt to a cinder (sixth piece from left, top). 
Omelette for breakfast  

LAN also ran out of water when we were still 90 minutes out of Auckland. 

When I pointed out to the chief purser that hydration was essential on long flights and that this is potentially dangerous, she demanded my passport number and said if I did not provide it then she could not log a complaint. 

So LAN, and One World, consider this as a complaint. Not good enough from a low-cost carrier, let alone a major regional flag bearer.

And while LAN is not good at gastronomy or providing water, it also fails when it comes to looking after frequent flyers from One World partner airlines.
As a Qantas frequent flyer (and Qantas Club member) I had booked forward aisle seats as per my preferences, which were shown as "confirmed" on my booking. 

When I checked in at Buenos Aires for my Qantas codeshare flights I had been mysteriously moved to seats just two rows from the rear. And as both flights were full the "new" seat assignments could not be changed. 

This is despite the LAN in-flight magazine boasting that my One World levels have access to "preferred or pre-reserved seating". Only when it suits the airline, apparently.

To be fair, some of the LAN staff are charming and there is an impressive selection of entertainment options but on a long leg like Santiago-Sydney I would in future opt for Qantas reliability every time. 

# Or a new alternative: Air New Zealand has just announced that from December 15 it will be flying to Buenos Aires three times a week via Auckland. 


  1. Budget airlines - long haul? Take your own food.

  2. I think you are right Bev. That would have been a much better option. But I know AirAsia, for one, actually forbids passengers to take their own meals on board.

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