Airplanes are great for indulging in guilty pleasures like french fries, burgers, and Us Weekly, but your fellow passengers will be either jealous or disgusted by the overwhelming scent of your fast food.
Cheese and crackers seems like a perfect and easily transportable snack for the airplane. But as you're slicing into that gooey Gruyre or spreading your stinky blue cheese, your fellow passengers are gagging for air. That scent travels, so indulge on the ground and find another delicious snack at 30,000 feet.
Easy to make at home or find at the store, and easy to transport, soft oatmeal, protein, or granola bars were practically made for long plane rides. They don't make loud crunching noises, they're virtually scent-less, they're healthy for you, and they come in a myriad of flavors.
Tuna sandwiches are delicious, but the scent is strong enough that you'll have passengers from the first row to the last turning around to spot who brought it on their flight. Egg salad and hot dogs, too, are not airplane-appropriate for their impactful smell.
Indian, Middle Eastern, Korean, and Chinese cuisines are inarguably mouthwatering and tempting, but unwrapping a shawarma, snacking on kimchi, or biting into that samosa on an airplane is just not fair. They're intensely aromatic and are easily identifiable. So that sucker sitting in the middle seat next to you who happens to not have a taste for Chinese food has quickly become your enemy.
Fresh fruits like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries have very light (and generally pleasant) scents and make a delicious and healthy fruit salad. If you make one at home, pair it with plain yogurt to make it a filling and healthy airplane snack. Or bring a couple of fruit leathers for mid-flight, scent-free snacking. We're also fond of apples dipped in honey, though it needs to be packed carefully.
When your fellow travelers have finally lulled into sleep, the last thing anyone wants to be woken up by is the crunch of a carrot, celery stalk, or potato chip. They do go well with just about any dip, but crunching foods can be entirely bothersome and distracting to people around you. Not to mention, opening a bag of barbecue-style chips is an odorous operation.
Buffalo wings, hot dogs, chili, barbecue, fried chicken, cole slaw, and nachos are perfectly delicious game day snacks. But no matter who's kicking off while you're taking off, it's not game day in the air, so leave those messy and flavorsome (read: smelly) foods at home.
Traditional hummus, not of the flavored variety, is a great plane snack when paired with pieces of soft pita. The scent is light and there's virtually no mess. Certain sandwiches, like a veggie sandwich with fresh mozzarella, a turkey club sandwich, or even a BLT can keep smells at a minimum and bellies full. Bring a mozzarella string cheese on the side.
This one may come as a surprise, but nuts are not only loud, crunchy, and messy, they're potentially fatal allergens for passengers as well. Many frequent travelers have been forced to do away with snacks containing nuts before boarding if a fellow passenger has a severe allergy, so skip nuts all together. And sunflower seeds create a bigger mess than even pistachios.
If you wouldn't eat something on a date, it's probably not a great idea for an airplane either. Garlicky dipping sauces, spreads, or dishes have an overwhelming smell that not everyone loves, and meals filled with onions (cooked or raw) will garner nothing but glares. Leave your garlic aïoli and caramelized onions for that post-flight meal.
The only looks you'll get as you bite into a buttery croissant, bagel with cream cheese, or blueberry muffin will be ones of jealousy. These are innocent enough that your fellow passengers will simply wish they'd brought one, too.