je voudrais le poulet [id like the chicken]

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How economy class travelers see airplane food is something of an enigma. Even if people have just eaten in the airport, they will be insensed on a flight in which the in-flight meal is delayed, or their row is served last. They watch attentively and longingly, like a prisoner who has not seen a woman in years, at the passengers who are served first. They secretly harbor their quasi-racist sentiments about those getting the “kosher” meals first, and contemplate choosing that option on their next flight just so they can get served first, even though they aren’t really sure what a kosher meal is.

They stare at those with the Hindu meals and wonder what their beef is with the regular meals. They look at the vegetarians and laugh to themselves about how even though they are being served first, its OK because they aren’t taking any meat away from the rest of the passengers. Diabetic meals? They imagine some kind of dessert made of caramelized insulin.

Yes, these are our fellow travelers, from all countries, all walks of life. The act of getting a meal in economy class somehow becomes a competitive sport, one in which you would think an individual’s life was at stake.

On my Royal Air Maroc flight from London Heathrow to Casablanca, I did not notice any special classes of meals. Was this egalitarianism at its best, or had they just pissed off the Jews, diabetics, Hindus and vegetarians?

When they came to my row to deliver my meal, I couldn’t help but notice the tiny stickers with a chicken on them that adorned the green metal lid to the chicken meals. I wasn’t really hungry, and I didn’t really want chicken. But those stickers were awfully cute.

Je voudrais le poulet s’il vous plaît. I’ll have the chicken please.

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