Last updated: 05:00 PM ET, Fri April 08 2016

New Documentary Will Go Behind The Scenes of Airline Catering

Airlines & Airports | Josh Lew | April 08, 2016

New Documentary Will Go Behind The Scenes of Airline Catering

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

People are fond of complaining about airline food, but few know where it actually comes from. Nik Loukas, the founder of is planning to create a documentary that will shed light on the whole process of producing airline meals. 

“The Inflight Food Trip” will follow the food that appears on your tray table all the way back to its source. Loukas and documentary director James Mellor will look at where the meals’ ingredients come from, who makes the meals, how they are made and how they are delivered. In short, the movie follows all the aspects of in-flight food prep that passengers never see. 

The initial suspicion about this kind of film is that it is either going to be pro-airline (like a feature-length commercial for the industry) or completely anti-corporate. Helping the cause of playing it down the middle is the fact that Inflight Food Trip is being funded via a Kickstarter campaign asking for $74,000. The campaign ends on May 4 and filming is scheduled to begin August of this year. If all goes well, shooting will wrap in October. 

READ MORE: Kill It With Tech: Grab A Bite With 4 Solutions To Airport Food Conundrums

In a release announcing the project, Loukas stresses that the film will focus on the behind the scenes work that goes into preparing airline food. "Our purpose is to tell stories, and each airline we feature has a unique story behind how they produce their passengers' meals. Whether one thinks a particular meal is good or bad, what can't be denied is the level of planning and precision that goes into creating these menus. We want to show people what they've probably always taken for granted. The 'stars' of our film will be not just the airlines, but also cabin crews, inflight caterers and the general public."

Yes, Loukas is on to something when he says that a lot goes on behind the scenes. Take Emirates Catering Facility, for example. The Dubai “food factory” produces 115,000 meals every day (40 million per year for Emirates and millions more for the other airlines that fly out of Dubai). An intricate system is used to cook, store and transport the food, which is prepared by a team of more than 500 chefs. 

READ MORE: Is Airline Food Experiencing a Renaissance?

Loukas will not only look at production facilities like this, but on more boutique operations as well. Some airlines have recognized chefs who prepare their menus with a focus on using locally sourced ingredients and taste testers who make sure the food is palatable. These early stages of in-flight meal production will also be part of the movie, and so will the century-long history of in-flight catering. 

Though covering this global industry in two or three months could be challenging, James Mellor promises a fun and entertaining documentary that will, ideally, change the way that people think about airline meals. “The shear scope of covering such a wide variety of airlines across the globe, with all the heritage and traditions of the different countries around the world, is quite exciting. My aim is to both inform and entertain our audience, whom I hope will come away with a fresh perspective on the world of inflight food." 

Inflight Food Trip might not make your airplane meal taste any better, but it could bring a new level of understanding about the intricate system of production that goes into serving meals at 35,000 feet. 


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