Dining in Transit: Holidays Aloft

Dining in Transit: Holidays Aloft

This article from the New-York Historical Society blog looks at the special and whimsical meals that air lines offered their passengers while traveling aloft on holidays.

Airlines began serving special holiday meals in the late 1930s. Since a meal would be served inflight anyway, why not add a bit of fun and festiveness to the service, especially on days when people would prefer not to fly? In addition to major holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, some airlines celebrated Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, the 4th of July, and Halloween.

Menus prepared for major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas tended to include dishes traditionally associated with those holidays, like roast young tom turkey, Flagship dressing, and giblet gravy served on a Thanksgiving American Airlines flight and roast Vermont turkey, dressing, cranberry jelly, and giblet gravy served on a Transcontinental & Western Air (later TWA) Christmas flight. Individual pumpkin pies were served for dessert on American Airlines on Thanksgiving; English plum pudding with hard rum sauce on TWA on Christmas.
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Dinner menu Thanksgiving, late 1930s-early 1940s American Airlines