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Eating Right…

April 16th, 2006 · 6 Comments

A few weeks ago, Sam over at Blogging at FL250 made an amusing entry entitled “The Starving First Officer’s Guide to Dining.” In his post, he made some great suggestions as to how a young whippersnapper airline pilot who’s down on his luck can get by on the variety of deeply-discounted or free vittles available to him. What he didn’t discuss, however, is one of the most important things the hungry airline pilot has to master: How To Keep All That Free Food Off The White Uniform Shirt. This is important, of course, because dry cleaning a’int cheap.

Here are a couple of the methods that are most widely used.

Eat Over The Crew Lounge Trash Can.
This technique, though uncomfortable, is quite effective. Not only does the food completely clear your spiffy white shirt (beer-gut and all), but chances are it will also miss your pants. Fear no double-chili-cheese-dog as you stoop over that 12-inch-diameter injection-molded Office Depot special. But be advised: heavy meals eaten from this position will put extra strain on your lower back!

Wear The Dinner Jacket – Always.
Most airlines require new-hire pilots to purchase a new uniform coat. No, they’re not good for impressing the women. They ARE good for keeping food off of all but your company-issued tie, however. Mustard stains don’t show up as well on dark blue or black wool as they do on freshly-bleached white polyester.

Attach Container To Chin. Chow Down.

No, I’m not suggesting the use of Super-Glue or staple guns, but a sturdily-built “to-go container,” held just under the chin can keep that pizza’s grease contained quite neatly. This method does not work with food that takes two hands to eat, such as the foot-long meatball sub from Potbellie’s at MDW.

Shields Up, Captain!
While on the flight deck, there are any number of devices that are well suited to providing a barrier between your Van Heusen and the large cup of Albuquerque Turkey Chili you’re devouring for lunch. Jumpseat Briefing Cards, provided they are of a stiff-enough stock, can be wedged between your beer-gut and your lap belt to shield that bright white polyester from any errant droplets.

Crackers Are Free, Usually. These two-inch squares of shrink-wrapped and salted unleavened bread are invaluable when eating your Chow-dah from MHT. A mere six packages (twelve crackers), and these little godsends can transform that runny concoction into an oatmeal-like bit of New England Heaven. The better you can get it to stick to your spoon, the less chance it will end up on your pocket flaps.

Using some (or all) of these techniques will surely keep your aviator shirts free of stains for at least a whole month!

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6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Capt. Wilko // Apr 16, 2006 at 6:24 pm

    I had breakfast in the Seminole the other day, while acting as pilot monitoring on a cross-country, and was very pleased that I’d managed to keep my food off me. Chipper, I decided to celebrate with a nice steaming cup of dark Colombian coffe. I reached under the seat for my trustee thermos, took the cup off and unscrewed the cap. Because of the pressure differential, which I had of course not accounted for, a java geiser ensued, repainting my white shirt the spotty color of a cow and I spent the rest of the day smelling like a Starbucks. Glad I learned that lesson this way rather than on my first day on the job at an airline!

  • 2 Aviatrix // Apr 16, 2006 at 10:45 pm

    An Air Canada pilot demonstrated another technique for me, during a jumpseat visit. Airline meal balanced on his lap atop the journey log (it was a Boeing, and AC encases its journey logs in sturdy metal covers), he took his tie and carefully tucked it under his epaulette. While this technique does not prevent the sauce from reaching the shirt, it keeps it off the tie, and his theory was that the tie could then be restored to its shirt front position, covering the evidence of any stray food.

  • 3 Traytable // Apr 17, 2006 at 5:38 am

    Gold!!! I’m going to print both this and Sam’s Dining Guide and pin it up in the crew room at work. Right near the bin over which I always catch the guys eating lunch ;D

  • 4 Cassaundra // Apr 23, 2006 at 5:48 am

    You are SO funny…
    Your suggestions are obviously honestly come by with experience
    Your inclusion of the beer belly techniques are nice as well,a woman has similar problems with other “anatomy” do you suppose thatthe beer belly suggestions would work well there?

  • 5 GC // Apr 23, 2006 at 12:51 pm

    The only way the “splash shield” technique I described would work for a female is if the woman wears her lap belt around the “anatomy” of which you speak.

    Try it, then report back to me via private e-mail! ;)

  • 6 GC // May 24, 2006 at 5:45 am


    I’m sorry to have to delete your comment, but you mentioned the name of my employer and I’m trying to keep this website as anonymous as possible. Oh, and thanks for YOUR help, Anonymous!

    I know many of you know who I work for, but I just don’t want it to show up on Google searches.

    But to answer your question, Anonymous, I might show up in the company blog you mentioned, but I haven’t decided yet whether or not to submit anything.

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