Let’s be honest, when you know you’ve got a flight ahead, you know your next few meals are going to be pretty questionable!
1. Lack of competition. Whether you’re flying from a big airport like Heathrow or a smaller one, there are only so many restaurants and cafes to choose from and therefore minimum competition between them. In a town, restaurants have to keep up a good reputation so they can survive during quieter periods, but in the airport there never really is an off peak time. Many people are strapped for time and will choose a restaurant based on its proximity to the departure gate, or it’s genre of food. There’s no time to have a relaxed browse of all the menus in the airport!
2. Continuous passing trade. Cafes and restaurants really do have it easy in the airport. They know that every day more hungry customers are going to come through their doors and wolf something down before catching their flight- many will never set foot in the restaurant again, or even the airport. And as soon as one family heads off, another one swoops in to claim the coveted table. Don’t expect to find a smiling waitress at the entrance tempting you in with offers, these guys are comfortably smug in the knowledge that your stomach will make the decision- and probably a pricey one!
3. The hefty price tag. It’s no secret that airport food is horrendously expensive- the worst crime in my opinion being the cost of a bottle of water. People expect to pay over the odds for a pint of beer in the airport bar or a meal in the restaurant but when the service makes you feel like you’re part of a factory, just churning out the meals and achieving a quick turn over of custom, and the food is nothing to write home about, that whopping bill at the end really does add salt to the wound.
Unfortunately there’s nothing we can do other than accept the fact airport food really does suck. Your best bet of having a good meal is to stick to the well-known chains. Not only can you select the chain where you enjoy the food, but they also have a reputation to uphold. If you get rude staff in somewhere like Pret or Eat, even if you never return to that branch again, you can still complain to head office. These types of chains will have been briefed to deliver a good service in the hope that customers continue their loyalty to them outside the airport.