Now that we air travelers are limited to the barest necessities on planes, let's take control of the one element of pleasure still afforded to us in airline travel: food.
We're no longer compelled to eat airline food out of guilt -- the belt-tightening of the airlines has left us in charge of our food destinies. If your family is trapped on a flight for the holidays, what better way to spend time than kicking back (well, okay, shifting slightly) and enjoying some tasty, homemade food? It's possible, with a little foresight and planning.
These travel foods are all easy to get out of the way before the last-minute flurry of trip preparation, and they're relatively neat to eat in close quarters. I've given two main dishes here in case you have a really long flight and/or a large family that would like a bit of choice. Make as much or little as you need.
The only downside to traveling with your own food is the pitiful, longing stares you'll get from seat mates. Be strong!
Each handful of this sweet-and-salty combination of ranch-flavored crackers, shoestring potatoes, peanuts, and chocolate-covered raisins delivers crunch, but not a lot of crumbs.
View Trail Mix recipe
This little Mediterranean nibbler is practically gourmet. Storing it in an airtight container makes it perfect for in-flight munching.
View Herb-Baked Olives recipe
Fruit and Broccoli Salad
One forkful of this fresh, nutritious salad and you'll never go back to stale airplane pretzels again. With only five ingredients, it's easy to mix up and take along with you.
View Fruit and Broccoli Salad recipe
Cobb Salad Wrap
A homemade entree on a plane? Yes, it's possible with these flavorful chicken, tomato, and bacon wraps that will please passengers of all ages.
View Cobb Salad Wrap recipe
Roast Beef and Red Pepper Sandwiches
Bite into a sophisticated sandwich during your next flight. Stuff Boboli or focaccia with roast beef, red peppers, and Monterey Jack cheese for an in-flight meal that's out of this world.
View Roast Beef and Red Pepper Sandwiches recipe
Crispy Teton Treats
Dessert is a must no matter your elevation, and these crispy chocolate-covered treats are a no-mess, big-flavor choice.
View Crispy Teton Treats recipe
The Game Plan: Food Timeline
Low-tech ways to amuse yourself and others while trapped on a plane for 5 hours
Books, magazines, puzzles, and pen and paper used to be the polite shields against unwanted contact while traveling. Add to the mix iPods, laptops, portable DVD players, or whatever latest gadget is the rage and it's clear that actual interaction is becoming a rarity. But, especially if traveling with family during the holidays, classic word and guessing games are still great ways to pass the time. Here's a list of my favorites:
Country Ham Sandwiches
It's all about the condiments: Prepared mango chutney and pesto and an herbed focaccia nudge this sandwich into the realm of gourmet fare.
View Country Ham Sandwiches recipe
Pull these out on the plane and you might cause a riot -- delicious treats perched between a rich cookie and candy.
View Toffee Bars recipe