Picnicking is the cheap way of dining out, which is why I love it. There’s nothing nicer than sitting on the grass, watching boats shimmy down the Hudson and clouds glide across a sea of sky while nibbling on charcuterie, cheese and fruit. So will the experience of picnicking be ruined by the experience of flying if I’m asked to BYO (bring your own) for my next flight? Should I lug a folding chair through security too?
The question is being raised in the first place because fewer airlines offer meals and what you can grab on the go while on the ground isn’t all that great either. Some airlines offer packaged foods from their restaurant partners, but at sky-high prices. The price below the clouds isn’t any better and neither is the quality—the typical food options at an airport feature the caloric orgy that is the middle American diet: Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, some form of Tex-Mex like a Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken (still finger-lickin’ good in my opinion), a Pizza Hut or some pizza establishment, some form of Panda X-press with noodles so shiny with grease that they compete with the fluorescent lighting, and then some health-conscious, so-called “green living” food stand, usually a place mixing salads and serving smoothies containing enough sugar to shoot anyone’s insulin to extreme elevations.
Practical Traveler provides a sensible solution to this dilemma: bring a picnic on board. I already pack my own lunch for work every day because (1) I actually like my own food over the local delis and (2) it saves money. I don’t like spending money on food I don’t like.
Why not pack a picnic for our next flight next week? Packing is already cumbersome when you’re just trying to figure what toiletries to bring and how many different pairs of shoes is too much. A few extra food items shouldn’t put the drudgery of packing too over the edge. Why not also pack some proscuitto and honeydew slices (that sounds good, actually!)? Apparently top international chefs do this. Could a wedge of Camembert get through TSA intact? Do Slim Bars go as well with on-flight champagne as Michelle Higgins suggests? I’m going to try and get a little napkin full of Genoa salami (Mike and Anna love salami!), brie, some fresh slices of Pink Lady, and maybe some crusty bread for the ride. To cope with my flying anxieties, I might order some red wine from the flight attendant to wash it all down. Perhaps picnicking in the clouds will be fun because I won’t have to worry about bugs.