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Airplane food desert--what do you suggest for a picnic? Leaving from NY

Here's the other side of the coin when flying with the cheap ticket on Icelandair-- we need to pack our own grub. Leaving from NY (staying in Brooklyn with the offspring near BAM) so can pack a picnic. What is your go-to when you bring on your own food? Any suggestions for morning food? They do sell yogurt and a (rubbery) ham and cheese baguette that may be edible for breakfast. Any other suggestions?

Alternatively, we can fuel up at JFK before boarding. Is there anywhere you'd recommend--(not too salty like Nathan's) that would provide a decent meal? Icelandair leaves from Terminal 7, same as BA.

The Icelandair stuff is microwave burger, cup of soup, though there is one ok salad....

Posted by
1209 posts

My daughter also lives in Brooklyn, also within walking distance of BAM. Each time that I visit her, I am stunned by the incredible number of restaurants, cafes, etc., within 2-3 blocks of where she lives. How about asking your offspring what is available near them? If you have an early morning flight, you might pick it up the night beforehand. Mexican, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Columbian, bagels (with lots of choices of toppings), salad cafes, delis, etc, etc. And almost all deliver quickly for almost no extra charge. Your offspring will know!

Posted by
1025 posts

Pack a meal before you leave home. Something delicious like a Limburger cheese and onion sandwich with a side of smoked trout and kimchee salad. I guarantee the other passengers will move away from you when you pull it out of your day bag. ;-)

Posted by
4148 posts

Bets , if you have a day or two before you leave , and want to take some sandwiches along , jump on the subway and pick up the rolls at Kossar's . They are best , fresh , but you can buy them in advance and freeze them , they revive beautifully after five or so minutes in the oven . The rolls are Bialystoker Kuchen , or better known as Bialys . They have a long history , and Kossar's is the only place ( worldwide ) that makes the real thing . I've been living on these since childhood . A quick ride from BAM . they are on Grand Street on The Lower East Side -'s+Bagels+%26+Bialys/@40.7164068,-73.9903485,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x89c25980ab036a71:0x78f4f458e7553b14!8m2!3d40.7164068!4d-73.9888009 here is the website - and last of all , if you are interested , Mimi Sheraton's book about them -

Posted by
2031 posts

I always take bagels when we travel. But I like bagels..a lot. Filling, easy to manage, and they hold up well. Oddly, they almost invariably cause some consternation when my shoulder bag goes through the X-ray. Especially handy if there are delays as we’d likely croak before we’d pay the price of two airport sandwiches.

Posted by
11380 posts

When we need to cover a meal time in the air, a stop at Subway, is what we do.

Posted by
7050 posts

I'd definitely go for the bagel. That's one of my favorite things in NY.

I remember having a meal on Icelandair when it was still free. It was largely inedible. Which is crazy considering how good the food in Iceland is.

Posted by
14157 posts

I always pack food for 2 or 3 meals on International flights. Altho I request a special meal from the airline I've had a couple of times where the special meals weren't loaded or the special meal was marked Non-dairy but contained cheese (?!) or it was another pretty terrible tofu sandwich. (Really, I appreciate the effort but cannot eat another breakfast sandwich of hot, soggy, tofu and mushrooms or a curry pocket).

I agree that bagels hold up the best for travel so outbound I usually do 2 cinnamon-raisin bagels and get several foil packets of Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut spread. (just think vegan nutella!). The packets have to go in a 3-1-1 bag but they are flat so no problem. I also add some Belvita breakfast cookies and a Clif bar or two.

Laughing...I also know you two may be more discerning in food choices than I!

Posted by
11350 posts

Sandwich wraps travel well, stay moist. A friend who flew with us bought a Cesar salad in the airport gate area. The flight was over 16 hrs long but she doesn’t like the food the airlines serve.

Posted by
4010 posts

Terminal 7 is a food desert. You can see what they have at Wolfgang Puck Express at the Food Court. You can't bring in drinks as you know so you'll have to spend the ridiculously priced amount of money for bottled water and the like. Buy the liter if you can.

Do stop and get a bagel with cream cheese. Don't get butter. Or get a bialy. Consider a blueberry muffin. Corn muffins always seem to get crushed but for whatever reason, blueberry muffins seem more solid. Buy the airline yoghurt you described above. That will be a nice taste treat in the morning. If you want a sandwich for the evening, bring a turkey sandwich on a roll or multigrain bread. Pick up your favorite condiments for the sandwich (mayo, mustard, salad dressing) at the airport. I would avoid salty snacks like chips. Consider fresh fruit like a banana, pear, or apple (or all 3). Pick up plenty of napkins.

Hope this helps.

Posted by
8202 posts

The problem going East is no problem as we can eat before leaving and pack a snack. We carry empty water bottles and powdered drink mixes and fill them up after going thru airport security
But we find it difficult on the return trip as we travel with the sun. We generally want a full meal 3/4th of the way on the flight.

Posted by
241 posts

When leaving Hawaii for North America, there are APHIS restrictions (agricultural) that must be considered. Is there anything similar that one need keep in mind when flying from the US to Europe? Last year we sailed, so I didn't have to fix any food for us, but this year we're flying. Thanks.


Posted by
11507 posts

I almost always bring food on ANY flight over 4 hours..

I love Subway because I can get a foot long, have it cut in half , even half soon after boarding and the other half a few hours later, I stick to thinks like salami ( its not smelly , and salami doesnt go bad as fast as something like tuna or egg salad) .
I also bring cheese sticks, pepperoni sticks, cut up veggie sticks, and if I can find them those little cups of Ranch Dip for dipping..
I also pack snacks like nuts, fruit leather, etc.

I have also brought Cup of Noodles type stuff.. the airline staff will give you hot water.

Posted by
10291 posts

Great tips--thanks for the heads up that T7 is a food desert. Will check out nearby Brooklyn sources to take--will also ask son to pick up a couple of bialys on his way home from work, probably for breakfasts, Steven. Good idea about the drink powder if we fill bottles--or maybe buy a liter. A bag of nuts and dried fruits, a piece of fresh fruit each, cheese and vegie sticks.--I'm concerned about lugging around meat more than 2 hours, but the plane leaves at 8:40 pm, so can eat the turkey sandwich before boarding.

Mmm the blueberry muffin for breakfast with the airline yogurt. Buy at a good Brooklyn bakery

Indeed, David, flying back to the States will be more problematic. I booked a hotel the night before flying back that has a giant breakfast buffet and will pick up food to bring before leaving for the airport. That's where a Subway would be handy.

No agricultural rules to be concerned about traveling to Europe.

"Limburger cheese and onion sandwich with a side of smoked trout and kimchee salad" is the best idea of all to get a row of seats all to myself--of course on the way home from France, a little stinky époisse or pont l'eveque will attract all the French passengers. Didn't see any wine on their menu though :--(
Thanks all!

Posted by
8994 posts

When I fly Iceland Air, I make sandwiches, most often PBJ as it isn't smelly and holds me over or a cheese sandwich. A tupperware with blueberries, peeled clementines, or carrot sticks. Good cookies, a muffin. Anything that isn't messy or smelly. No tuna, hard boiled eggs, onions, garlic, or curry.