What do Pilots Eat During Flights?

In the crew life section of this site we often talk about cabin crew, today we’ll talk a little about pilots. In particular we’ll talk about what do pilots eat during flights? It’s something that you may find asking yourself.

Who Is In Charge of Taking Care of The Pilots

Generally it is the cabin crew in charge of the forward galley who is in charge of taking care of the cockpit crew. So in the case of a three class configuration, it’ll be a first class crew member (the galley operator). In a 2 class configuration it’ll be a business class crew member.

Often taking care of the cabin crew is like having 2 extra passengers to feed. In many cases pilots tend to be very demanding and picky with the cabin crew members that serve them. So it can be, at times, a stressful experience.

What do Airline Pilots Eat during a Flight?

What do They Eat?

Once the crew arrives at the aircraft and completes its checks, this will be the time for the forward galley operator to first have a chat with the flight crew.

The galley operator will go to the flight deck to get a feel for what the pilots are like. They’ll also ask if they need anything immediately, such as additional water or a coffee or tea.

Furthermore this is when the crew member will ask about when the flight crew would like to eat and what is in the crew meals. However they rarely eat those and I’ll get to that in a little.

Once in the air and with the service is underway the flight crew will be informed of any surplus of meals. The crew member will tell them what meals they are so that they can make their choice. So they will have more often than not a first class or business level meal.

Generally it’s rare to see pilots eat exactly the same meal, and often it is done on purpose.

Korean Air Inflight Meal With Seaweed Soup

How Are Pilots Served Their Meals?

It might sound as a dumb question to many, but it isn’t. You can’t just head up to the flight deck and chuck the tray in. First of all, as previously mentioned, the two pilots will eat at different times. So that one of the two has full control of the aircraft.

Also when you step into the flight deck you need to be extremely cautious that you don’t drop anything. This is why you always serve pilots from the outside, never from passing over the center panel.

Why you ask? Well that is simple to understand the center panel is where the aircraft’s throttle, trim, navigation computer and communication instruments are. If any fluids are spilt here it could be quite a big problem.

Cockpit view of an aircraft

Does The Galley Operator Do It All Alone?

Taking care of the flight deck, at least in the airline I worked for, was demanded to the forward galley operator. However if you are lucky enough to find a helpful purser they might give you a helping hand in taking care of the pilots and their meals.