Thursday, November 11, 2004

On Airport Food

Note: this is not to be confused with airline food, which will be the topic of a different entry.

People generally accept the following: nobody goes to the airport for a fine dining experience. People eat at an airport because they either skipped a meal in their haste to get to their plane, or because there's an hour wait(or worse) between connections and there's not much else to do.

That having been said, some airport food concessions can really be a pain. I'm talking about the ones who sell a vending machine sandwich for the price of a Denny's chicken-fried steak. There is no way any self-respecting passenger pays that kind of cash for that kind of sustenance (I'm not even sure if it qualifies as food.)

Other concessions, on the other hand, do things better. They know that as fall turns into winter, passengers will prefer a hot meal over a cold one, and they know that passengers expect to pay about the same price as that for a meal at a shopping mall. That's reasonable enough, right?

I mention this because I just got back from a conference in Winnipeg which involved an hour's stopover in Toronto. They finished some major renovations to the terminal this year, involving the installation of a sort of mini-mall. I ran into both kinds of concessions there. Needless to say, I opted for the latter type -- a Chinese noodle bar on the way to Winnipeg, and a burger joint on the way back. The noodles, with chicken and mixed veg, were freshly cooked and pretty good. The burger was frozen meat, but properly grilled with fresh trimmings and thick-cut fries.

Hey -- it beats eating the stuff they actually serve on the airplane.


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