Let’s be blunt here – does anyone enjoy the food and drink on an airplane? Like, if we offered you a tray right now, would you go out of your way to nab it? Didn’t think so! But even though the items don’t have the greatest reputation, one air hostess took to TikTok to reveal what you should never order on a flight.
Given the questionable taste of certain dishes and drinks, we can’t wait to hear the answer! Anyway, who is this air hostess? And why did she feel the need to drop a video like that on social media? Well, she’s developed quite the online following after posting similar clips regarding her line of work.
Her name is Kat Kamalani, and she’s been working as a cabin crew member since 2015. A resident of Salt Lake City, Utah, she posted her first TikTok video about the life of an air hostess in August 2020. The short clip was titled “Tips while staying at a hotel from a flight attendant.”
Since then, Kamalani’s video has earned roughly 6.4 million views on TikTok, while generating around 1.4 million likes and over 3,600 comments. Wow! Thus the experienced airline worker continued to share clips on the social media website, attracting more attention as she went along.
And Kamalani boasts a pretty big fan base across social media platforms. On TikTok, for instance, she’s got more than 540,000 followers, while her number on Instagram crosses 62,000. The flight attendant has a YouTube channel, as well, with over 34,000 subscribers. So she’s certainly found an audience!
But the impressive figures don’t end there. As it stands, Kamalani’s videos on YouTube have racked up in excess of 3.1 million views. And going back to TikTok, her posts have earned close to 13 million likes from the website’s users. So to say that she’s blown up in popularity would be an understatement.
That brings us to the video that we touched upon earlier. In January 2021 Kamalani revealed what passengers should actively avoid ordering on an airplane. The TikTok post quickly went viral, as social media users flocked to hear her claims. You’re curious as well, right? We don’t blame you!
What could it be, though? Well, while you ponder the possibilities, we’re going to take a closer look at the meals airlines serve up to their passengers. And it’s safe to say that regular flyers aren’t the only ones to turn their noses up at the food. A very famous chef was of the same mind too.
Yes, Gordon Ramsay shared his thoughts on the subject back in 2017 via The Sun’s website. He said, “There’s no way I eat on planes. I worked for airlines for ten years, so I know where this food’s been and where it goes, and how long it took before it got on board.”
Oh boy. Doesn’t inspire much confidence does it? Here’s something else to consider as well. Ramsay’s establishment at Heathrow Airport in England offers a takeaway service for passengers. It’s almost like he’s trying to give people a better alternative! So ever wondered how those meals are made? Or even thought of in the first place?
You might be surprised to hear that the travel companies have “culinary panels” that decide on the dishes beforehand. But the recipes themselves make their way to external catering businesses with kitchens close to the airports. And all of the items are subsequently cooked in massive tanks. How appetizing! Those takeaway meals are sounding better by the second…
Yet even though it doesn’t appear to be the most ideal method from a passenger’s standpoint, the caterers can churn the meals out in bulk. For example, the average number in 2017 stood at 25,000 dishes every 24 hours. One kitchen, however, blew that figure out of the water.
Because Dubai’s Emirates Flight Catering Center produced roughly 170,000 dishes each day. No, that’s not a typo! Anyway, what happens to the food after the kitchens send it out? Are the meals served fresh on the flight they’re intended for? To answer those questions, an unnamed airline employee spoke out via The Sun.
The anonymous person said, “You get served frozen food which is kept for up to 72 hours.” Yikes. Not exactly fresh! In some instances, though, that could be the best-case scenario. A former travel catering teacher named Peter Jones explained more while talking to the Daily Mail website in April 2017.
Jones noted, “[Airline meals] can be kept in a chilled stage for five days under the internationally recognized food hygiene standards.” That’s far from ideal, right? But once the food makes its way out of the metal storage containers on the aircraft, the flight attendants are responsible for preparing the meals.
So we can’t help but ask – how healthy are these airline meals? Sure, they might not be fresh, yet the nutrition could make up for it. Well, Jones claimed that every component in an individual dish measured up to 400 calories. So overall you’re looking at roughly 1,500-per-tray.
Jones then made a troubling point. He informed the Daily Mail, “Airlines aren’t hugely concerned about nutrition, because their view is that one meal consumed by a passenger will not make the slightest bit of difference to them out of the thousands of meals they consume.” That’s not really what you want to hear, is it?
Yet the nutrition aspect could be the least of your worries. An ex-air hostess named Allison Hope made a shocking claim on the website Refinery29. She said, “Passengers often use the [tray tables] as their own private diaper changing tables. And sadly, they’re cleaned far less than you’d be comforted to know.”
What a disgusting thought…We’re never going on another airplane without wet wipes again! But despite all that negativity, if the food tastes good, then that’s something at least. So it’s too bad that a large number of dishes don’t meet those standards – particularly meals containing chicken, rice or noodles.
Due to the conditions on board planes, those ingredients suffer a massive drop in quality. Plus heating them up from chilled doesn’t help either. As Emirates Flight Catering’s James Griffith told the Daily Mail, “It just goes into a big lump.” Passengers are therefore advised to opt for meals containing plenty of sauce.
Yes, casseroles, curries and stews are said to be the top items on the plane menu. Why? Because thanks to the sauces, they stay moist when the cabin crew reheat them. And stews in particular are teeming with a “meaty” taste known as umami too. Apparently, that makes all the difference.
Sticking with flavor, a psychologist from Oxford University raised an intriguing point to the Daily Mail. Charles Spence said, “You often have [airline] dishes with tomato, parmesan or mushrooms. This allows you to make food tastier without adding too much salt.” Remember that for your next flight.
Overall, though, one of the biggest detriments when it comes to airline food are the conditions in the cabin. Because the inside of an airplane boasts humidity readings of under 12 percent as it reaches 30,000 feet. To give you a bit more context, that’s drier than the air in several deserts. Wow!
This causes the moisture in the passengers’ noses to dry out, which really affects their sense of smell. Plus the cabin pressure dulls taste buds. So most dishes would struggle to leave a positive impression in that kind of environment – aircraft meal or not.
Yet we’re still left with a burning question – what does Kat Kamalani want us to avoid on airplanes? There could be a few candidates, right? But, actually, the answer might surprise you. So that brings us back to the viral TikTok video that was posted in January 2021.
Kamalani tells the camera, “Don’t you ever, ever, ever consume these products from an airplane. Rule number one [is to] never consume any liquid that is not in a can, or a bottle. The reason being is because [the plane’s] water tanks are never cleaned. And they’re disgusting!” She doesn’t stop there either.
Kamalani continues, “Talk to a flight attendant – we rarely drink the coffee or tea that comes from the same water tanks. So when you’re drinking the coffee or tea that comes from that hot water, it’s absolutely disgusting.” And you thought the food was bad! What a grim picture.
The background in the video then changes, showing a row of coffee machines on a plane. Kamalani says, “So these little coffee guys, they’re rarely cleaned unless they are broken. These [pots] are taken out and cleaned in-between flights, but the whole machine is never cleaned. And they’re by the lavatories!”
By this point Kamalani shares some motherly advice. She notes, “A pro-tip for all you parents – never ask for hot water and put it in your baby’s bottle. Ask for a bottled water from the side and hot water in a cup. Then, make your baby a bottle with the bottled water and put it in the cup [to] heat it up.”
The flight attendant’s video then finally comes to an end. And as we noted earlier, it soon went viral after she posted it on TikTok. The clip itself has earned close to four million views on the social media website. It’s also generated more than 465,000 likes and over 3,900 comments.
So it’s fair to say that some users had their own questions for Kamalani in the comments’ section. One person wrote, “Why don’t you guys fix this if you know about it? This is irresponsible!” Another individual concurred, adding, “You guys should clean them [the water tanks]. Seriously, that’s messed up.”
In response to the latter comment, a different user defended Kamalani. They wrote, “That’s not the flight attendant’s job. That’s the airline or ground crew’s job.” One more then stepped forward to say, “They’re usually rushed to turn around the plane. I know from [experience] – [the airline] made gate agents jump on there and help them.”
Whatever way you look at it, one thing’s for sure – it might be an idea to invest in a travel flask for your next trip! Anyway, Kamalani’s videos have touched on some other interesting topics as well. For instance, she posted an intriguing clip on TikTok in February 2021.
In the video, Kamalani says, “Have you ever wondered the type of perks you get being a flight attendant? Well, I’m about to tell you! The biggest perk, and why we all want to be a flight attendant, is that you fly for free. And your spouse flies for free, your kids fly for free and your parents fly for free.”
Kamalani continues, “You [also] get six buddy passes that you can give to anyone every year. Every airline is different, but with mine, you [can] basically sign up for a flight maybe 30 minutes before and sit [in] standby. If your seniority is high enough, based on when you were hired, and there’s a seat open, you get to go on the airplane.”
Be honest with us – that sounds awesome doesn’t it? And Kamalani wasn’t afraid to open up about other aspects of her job either. Around the time that she was first becoming a social media sensation in October 2020, the air hostess sat down for an interview with the Insider website.
On the subject of the cabin crew’s overall role, Kamalani revealed, “Flight attendants aren’t there to serve you, we’re there for your safety first. People don’t understand that we have a lot of authority when we’re on a plane. If we don’t feel comfortable with something or someone, we have that complete power to [get them off] the plane.”
Kamalani continued, “Every single person that comes on, we greet them, but we’re also analyzing them. The second thing we’re doing is we’re looking for abnormal things. Like if somebody’s holding a box that’s leaking or producing a certain smell, or we’re looking at something that just seems a little bit off.”
Pretty interesting, wouldn’t you say? It certainly shows that the job carries a lot of responsibilities to go along with the excellent perks. So if you want to make the cabin crews’ lives a bit easier, Kamalani shared some advice. It’s really quite simple. Just be patient.
The air hostess went on to explain, “99 percent of the time, we’re not going to [give] you a drink or a blanket or headphones before we take off. When people ring their call light button to collect trash or want food or drinks or whatever it is, we’re not going to give it to them. We’ll start serving once we’re in the air.” Just swerve the hot beverages, though.