back to article Fasten your seat belts: Brave Reg hack spends a week eating airline food grounded by coronavirus crash

Businesses everywhere are thinking on their feet to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes global airline catering outfit Gategourmet, which started selling the food it usually packages for consumption on airplanes as take-home ready meals, priced at the astounding rate of 10 dishes for AU$25 (US$17, £14 …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Lester would have been proud!

    Well done, Simon - taking one for the team and indirectly choosing a quid-a-day challenge that never occured to *any* of us!

    1. b0llchit
      Pint

      Re: Lester would have been proud!

      And, please note, this experiment could only have been done because no large groups are allowed in one's vicinity. I sincerely think that a mob would have gathered to end the experiment, just like the weekend was definitely out of the question, when a family mob put a stopper to the fun.

      Anyhow, it is a brave experiment. I guess that we all can sympathise with your suffering. My guess is that your family suffered the most. At least they prevented a weekend disaster.

      Have a beer with that to wash it all down and kill the spoiled memory neurons to forget (probably required for the next couple of weeks to get the taste working again).

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Lester would have been proud!

      Well, Lester and a quid-a-day challenge was what came to my mind as I was reading this - though at $2.50 a pop, that sort of blows the budget for the rest of the day

  2. Bloodbeastterror

    Opportunity

    Amusing article. Brave lad.

    At the risk of being branded Off-Topic Eco-Warrior, I think it's disgraceful that governments are not taking this opportunity to thin the herd of planes. Instead they're squandering (our) billions on bailing out these polluting planet-killing monstrosities. We should retain only minimal flights; no 50-mile jollies for lazy CEOs, no unnecessary business world crossings just to use up the corporate travel budget. I worked for a large American financial corporation and occasionally took part in 5000-mile video conferences on triple HD screens with HD audio, and it was like having the other people in the room. There's 100 tonnes of CO2 saved right there.

    This is an opportunity that shouldn't be squandered.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We should retain only minimal flights; no 50-mile jollie

      and who will decide who is allowed on a 50-mile jollie (a really unfair case to prove your point, as it was probably in the 0.0001% journeys taken). Do YOU decide what is a "jollie", and what is "essential travel"? And, if not essential, "worthy cause"? Do we vote for the list democratically (those of use who traveled by plane for holiday would be, naturally, excluded from the ballot).

      When you offer quick and easy solution for governments, perhaps you can offer a quick and easy solution on how they can replace profits from mass-air travel that go to state coffers? Last time I looked at my airplane ticket that was supposed to take me on a "jollie" across the Atlantic, of around 300 gbp I spent on it, about 50 gbp was airline profit, the rest was taxes, some local, most for central coffers of UK gov. And it was a return flight, by the way. I got it refunded, lucky me,, but every day those thousands of planes stay on the ground and give a break to to goode olde planet that we fuck left right and centre, there's "quite a lot" of money that fails to be collected by the state. Sure, quite o lot of it would be wasted (government motto could be: nobody knows better how to waste money), but a fair bit does go back towards making people's lives... better, I guess. What I mean is that "scrap those planes" is one of those great, simple and easy solutions that aren't.

      1. Mike 125

        Re: We should retain only minimal flights; no 50-mile jollie

        >Do YOU decide what is a "jollie", and what is "essential travel"?

        No, COVID-19 decides. And CO2 decides.

        None of the shouty little kids like their nasty medicine, but sometimes they have to suck it up. Can't be much worse than "protein chunks in spiced slurry".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: COVID-19 decides. And CO2 decides.

          I think you're wrong, though I wish you were right. Unfortunately it's not how things work with this species that has infested the planet. Covid-19 is only going to "decide" anything, if / when it hits again (and again - and again, perhaps under a different name and shape, perhaps, not unlikely, with much, much higher fatality rate). Unless and until this happens - and it would probably need to happen more than just one more time, because humans need more than just one-off slap, and more than just a slap, think Spanish flu, think 10 - 50 mln dead - there will be no fundamental changes to how we behave, no major changes, no hal-changes, no half-hearted changes, and not even small changes. Putting screens and face masks on all over the place is NOT a change, it's an attempt to carry on as before. Likewise, gas releases from politicians and facebook hordes about how "we must change our ways or else" mean absolute shit. People WILL carry on as before, they can't wait to carry on, unless forced to stop by shit falling on their head, continuously (and I bet most of the effort would be to come up with a shit screen and a deodorant). The message I've heard continuously in media, increasingly in fact (and I monitor a few countries for irrelevant reasons) is the same: "current economy downfall, x-billions pumped to speed up recovery", "losses this year", "hopeful for recovery by Jan 2021", "How are we going to mitigate coronavirus impact?!" "consumers yearn for back to normal", etc. Prime Minister of a 1st world country has a forward-looking, "nationwide message" for you all: Spending money is your patriotic duty, shop now!", cause "growth" based on consumption MUST.GO.ON.

          People never, ever give up any comfort, unless forced to. And CO2 won't change their attitude either, because, unless their house roof falls on their head NOW and falls on heads of majority, they don't give a flying monkey fuck about what's gonna happen in 50 years, never mind further down the line and oh, by the way, if it does get warmer, we can grow grapes and palm trees, how cool! All they do is bitch on social media that "politicians should do something!". Yeah, they should, but do they? After all, they know nothing other than how to look good and stab each other in the back, with a smile. OK, fair enough, maybe not 100% of them, maybe just around 90% of those who run mothership earth. But then, look in the mirror, they are what we are.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: COVID-19 decides. And CO2 decides. And lobbyists decide

            Covid's kind of turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. Something like 600K dead worldwide. MSM still does disaster porn regarding numbers of infected though.. And true numbers for infected are really unknown because confirmation requires testing.

            But lobbying groups have seized on aspects of Covid policy to make fresh 'green' demands, like throwing even more money at the groups they represent. Limit air travel, limit transportation, restrict energy usage etc and insist that any recovery is predicated on building windmills. The BBC is currently demanding increased taxes on cars & home heating.. Which I guess is well timed, although UK folks may be wishing for home cooling right now. And heavily insulated/poorly ventilated 'green' homes won't be helping.

            On the plus side, there's currently some wind & solar, so the UK is exporting power via interconnectors. Revenue from this won't be reflected in UK electricity bills though for.. reasons. We're still burning a lot of gas though because that's cheaper than 'renewables'.

            And there's even some good news regarding CO2-

            https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/wp-content/plugins/sio-bluemoon/graphs/mlo_two_years.png

            See the drop since Covid? No? I'm sure you can find 'fact checkers' that can explain why the reduction in human activity hasn't lead to any noticeable decline. Or it might simply because CO2 is a response to warming, and the vast majority comes from natural sources, not humans.

            But I digress. Back to Covid. One potential worst-case is reports that it can cause permanent lung damage. Which could then be bad as we head towards the usual Winter flu season, especially if that means people possibly weakened by Covid then being more vulnerable to flu. AFAIK it's around this time of year that the Northern Hemisphere settles on which strains of flu to make vaccines for ahead of flu season.

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: COVID-19 decides. And CO2 decides. And lobbyists decide

              "Covid's kind of turned out to be a bit of a damp squib."

              I suggest you familiarise yourself with pandemic curves over the last 150 years. Traditionally the SECOND wave has been the one which takes out the most people - usually by a factor of 10 or so - and we haven't even seen the peak of the first wave worldwide yet, let alone the begeinnings of the second one.

              Take onboard the 1918 lessons of Philadelphia, San Francisco and Apia

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: COVID-19 decides. And CO2 decides. And lobbyists decide

                I suggest you familiarise yourself with pandemic curves over the last 150 years. Traditionally the SECOND wave has been the one which takes out the most people

                But why? This isn't traditional, it's novel. It's not flu, it's Covid. Or for some science-

                https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/planning-scenarios.html

                CFR (Case Fatality Rate) Overall: 0.004%

                The media's been busy plugging the idea of a 'second wave' somehow becoming more lethal, yet the data and models used by the likes of the CDC don't support this. Especially given the low fatality rate or symptomatic patients, and the large numbers of people who are asymptomatic, ie infected but not particularly affected.

                But such is politics. Like I said previously, I think the biggest risk will come as winter flu comes around.

                1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
                  Headmaster

                  Re: COVID-19 decides. And CO2 decides. And lobbyists decide

                  Jellied Eel, I am appalled --APPALLED, I say-- that you would attempt to introduce facts and actual data into a VirtueMeme-driven discussion.

            2. 96percentchimp

              Re: COVID-19 decides. And CO2 decides. And lobbyists decide

              Straw man argument. CO2 is a persistent pollutant that doesn't magically disappear after a few months. The only air-pollution benefits to appear during Covid have been particulates, and sadly this has only shown how much one kind of pollution has mitigated the other, with a sudden warming in arctic regions this spring.

              That's why policy to tackle AGW needs to also be persistent over decades and the action required to prevent significant warming gets more drastic each year we delay - if we'd taken action 20+ years ago instead of listening to deniers like you, the overall cost of changing to a carbon-neutral or C-negative economy would have been relatively small.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: COVID-19 decides. And CO2 decides. And lobbyists decide

                Straw man argument. CO2 is a persistent pollutant that doesn't magically disappear after a few months. The only air-pollution benefits to appear during Covid have been particulates, and sadly this has only shown how much one kind of pollution has mitigated the other, with a sudden warming in arctic regions this spring.

                Soo.. How would you explain the apparent cycles shown in the graph? They show CO2 does 'magically disappear' after a few months. Although that's not magic, just the expected seasonal variation. But dogma states that CO2 levels were constant prior to <whenever>, thus any increase must be man-made.. Which ignores inconvenient truths that the vast majority of CO2 is natural, human contributions are tiny, and if you read the IPCC's WG1, the natural cycle has uncertainties +/- many gigatonnes. Particulates are a bit more complex, and perhaps what we're seeing is pretty much the same result of various Clean Air Acts around the world.

                As for the Arctic, that's just the usual nonscience-

                https://climexp.knmi.nl/gdcntmax.cgi?id=someone@somewhere&WMO=RSM00024266&STATION=VERHOJANSK&extraargs=

                Nothing unusual there, much the same as it was in the early part of last century. Then again, places like that must be fun to live in given annual temps vary by around 100C, ie -70 to +30.

                ...if we'd taken action 20+ years ago instead of listening to deniers like you, the overall cost of changing to a carbon-neutral or C-negative economy would have been relatively small.

                The 'deniers' are those that don't look for data. Predictions made 20+ years ago have been falsified, yet lobbyists still demand that we spend billions on pre-Industrial technology like windmills, not low carbon nuclear. Admittedly there are things we could have done differently, so not letting John Prescott promote gas heating. Shame that all has to go to meet Ed Milliband's Climate Change Act targets..

                1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

                  Re: COVID-19 decides. And CO2 decides. And lobbyists decide

                  There you go again with facts vs meme. "Stop it."

                  Re CO2: amusingly, ice cores demonstrate that in 1900 it was 330ppm. By 1952 (think that's right year) when we opened our first formal measuring station (on the side of an active volcano) it was 250. Straight-line extrapolation would have implied reaching 180 in about another 50yrs, at which point all chlorophyll-based life on the planet shuts down. And therefore every dependent lifeform (eg fish, reptiles, mammals, humans) shortly after... If if if only the apocalypse-merchants had KNOWN!!

                  In other news, the ur-model underneath all subsequent modelling and hence fundamentally driving everything, uses the wrong number for CO2's heat absorption in the atmosphere. Off by more than an order of magnitude. Put the correct number in and model says ~all radiated heat is absorbed just by CO2 (3rd on the list of Earth's greenhouse gasses, by impact) within 6 metres of the ground.

                  To put it another way, if every 2-storey house on the planet doesn't have its roof covered in snow, every bit of modelling and forecasting you've seen is busted.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: COVID-19 decides. And CO2 decides. And lobbyists decide

                    amusingly, ice cores demonstrate that in 1900 it was 330ppm. By 1952 (think that's right year) when we opened our first formal measuring station (on the side of an active volcano) it was 250.

                    Ice cores are fun given challenges with things like calibration, compaction and diffusion rates raising questions about their accuracy. Or other... interesting science. So-

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vostok_Station

                    It has been suggested that the Vostok record may be extended down to 3345 m or 436,000 years, to include more of the interesting MIS11 period, by inverting a section of the record.[30] This then produces a record in agreement with the newer, longer EPICA record, although it provides no new information.

                    Ok, it's both wiki and climate science.. But I guess I'm old fashioned. If two climate proxies disagree, find out why. You can't just flip signs or invert records to present a tidy story.. although that's been done plenty of times, ie hiding the decline, or with some sediment proxies where apparently the 'signs don't matter'. The scientist who collected the sediment data rather disagreed, the 'scientists' who switched signs had her paper retracted. Eventually. After much denial.. And yes, historical CO2 levels are a bit of a problem for CO2 dogma given the effect increases as the concentration reduces. It's homeopathy!

                    Put the correct number in and model says ~all radiated heat is absorbed just by CO2 (3rd on the list of Earth's greenhouse gasses, by impact) within 6 metres of the ground.

                    Part of the problem is the models (by necessity) are very crude with a relatively small number of grid cells/points and parameters.. But that doesn't entirely excuse them. It can be fun to poke around with things like MODTRAN and/or SMARTS, and compare theory to dogma.. or just data from weather balloons, or instruments like RSS.

                    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

                      Re: COVID-19 decides. And CO2 decides. And lobbyists decide

                      Ahhh, mate... you're trying to engage with the modelling and data.

                      Don't.

                      If you're not a freak, you'll have a lot of somethings-not-right episodes, like this.

                      If you're trained and experienced and you dig in hard, you'll have a period of blank bewilderment followed by your head exploding with rage.

                      And you'll find yourself standing next to Copernicus shouting that the earth goes round the sun rather than the accepted FACT that the sun goes round the earth (it rises every day, you MORON!), as the meme-trained trusting mob scrambles for stones.

                      In a larger (centuries; anthropological) sense, it's frightening.

                      In other news, it was 3 degrees C hotter when William the Conqueror invaded England than in the 70s. Yes, the game-over endoftheworld level now being screamed about (2degC hotter than today). Apparently we all died just under 1000yrs ago. Dammit. If you're uk-born, read the the accounts of a freak snowstorm ~300yrs later the year before Agincourt. It was SO savage and harsh and unprecedented, they had snow in the north of NORFOLK!! FIRST TIME in at least 700 years of recorded history of England!!

                      And the North Pole melted completely in 1959. Such that a classic photo went global of a nuclear submarine in open water there the same year. Eg front cover of Time magazine. Global temps tanking for 15yrs, at the time, btw, such that Ehrlich & co were running around screaming about the Ice Age Apocalypse.

                      Hit Google Images with something like "USS snipe north Pole 1959" for the photo. Typically also catches the 1962 photo where the melting was SO large, they got THREE nuclear subs in the photo: 2 yank, 1 brit. If it happened today we'd all be dead tomorrow. Apparently.

                      "Amusingly", this local behaviour was what Phil Jones relied on when they replaced HADCRUT2 with a model to create HADCRUT4, which is what is now being presented as the "data" generally. Consider that the Arctic is ~50% out of phase with the larger 30yr cycle (which would imply HADCRUT4'S numbers turning over and tipping down from ~2015), then dump and graph HADCRUT4's annual averages.

                      Do not have a cup of coffee or tea in your mouth or I will not be responsible for the consequences for your keyboard.

                      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

                        Re: COVID-19 decides. And CO2 decides. And lobbyists decide

                        BTW, if you DO decide to dig in, don't piss about going sideways, you'll be there forever and a day, lost in the morasse of "I need to protect my grant/job/mortgage" metoo's. AKA"tertiary research" AKA noise. You need to find out where the door is and if it's in the right place (primary research), not what colour someone's painted the doorknob. To put it another way:

                        Run up the reference tree. Find out what the Foundations are, then assess THEM.

                        I found 3 core and critical problems, any one of which destroys the entire meme.

                        I mentioned 1, earlier.

          2. hoola Bronze badge

            Re: COVID-19 decides. And CO2 decides.

            You only have to look at the pictures from Brighton, Bournemouth and then in Snowdonia back in March to see just how people react. Add in all the recent marches and the large parties/raves and it paints a fairly depressing picture.

            Is it stupidity, ignorance or being selfish? I don't know but the behaviour is clearly widespread in a sufficiently large amount of the population to be a major problem. Just look at all the rubbish that is left where people have their picnic or chucked out of car windows.

            As you say, some people will talk about CO2/Climate Change and then in the next breath be talking about their holiday in Thailand. This is the fundamental crux of the entire problem, a growing number have no social or collective responsibility and I believe a lot of this can be directly at the always on drip feed of minutia that is Social Media.

            The wake up call will come when a variant of COVID19 or something similar appears but this time wipes out millions from a single country. Only then will people start to think, but again it will only be short term. Humans are the smartest, most selfish and most stupid animal on the planet.

            1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

              Re: COVID-19 decides. And CO2 decides.

              @hoola: "Is it stupidity, ignorance or being selfish?" More likely, it is people making an assessment of risk and deciding what risk profile they wish to accept. Cowering inside, afraid of a virus, was never going to last long, especially once it became clear that the worst-case scenario wasn't even close.*

              The problem is going to be in the future, when a really serious pandemic strikes - people will be very slow to accept restrictions. This was a one-shot project, and it failed and keeps failing because our glorious government won't accept they got it wrong in every single way - they isolated the young, who have a very small risk, and failed to isolate the old in nursing homes, who gave a very high risk. The damage from separating children from their peers will last for years.

              * As I read somewhere yesterday, an epidemiologist would far rather overestimate an infection risk by two orders of magnitude than underestimate by one order of magnitude.

          3. Kernel

            Re: COVID-19 decides. And CO2 decides.

            " think Spanish flu,"

            Since the orange idiot seems to be keen on pointing the finger of blame by labelling CV-19 based on where it appears to have originated, perhaps now would be the time, employing the same logic, to relabel "Spanish Flu" as either "US Flu" or"American Flu"?

      2. Bloodbeastterror

        Re: We should retain only minimal flights; no 50-mile jollie

        "who is allowed on a 50-mile jollie"

        A jolly, actually.

        I knew that my comment would draw responses like this - "What about the money?" No doubt you'd like to make the same argument about coal...?

        We pay politicians to make these sorts of decisions, people who should(!) be taking advice from scientists and experts to make the best choices. The bottom line, however, is that plane travel is, in many/most cases, unnecessary, avoidable and vastly polluting. You appear to be boasting about your contribution to destroying my children's planet. Shameful.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: draw responses like this - "What about the money?"

          so what is YOUR solution to "what about the money"? Because grounding planes it isn't.

        2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: We should retain only minimal flights; no 50-mile jollie

          @Bloodbeastterror: why do you want to destroy my childrens' freedom to travel for the sake of trivial amounts of possible pollution?

      3. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Bronze badge

        Re: We should retain only minimal flights; no 50-mile jollie

        It's not just planes.

        Part of my current work is contributing to a team whose bulk of labor is in South Carolina. One of our current suppliers is in Metro Detroit ("local" to me), so they asked if I could drive across town and take some measurements of an already-built engine electrical harness because someone was worried it was too short and they'd have to change/add something else to make it work.

        Like I said, "local" -- it's 50 miles one-way, but way better than flying from SC. I've made this drive before to said supplier (see the footnotes for more tales) when the project was new.

        But instead of wasting gas for a one-person car trip and wasting my entire working day -- plus the supplier having to let in an outsider when their current safety rules say NO -- the supplier helpfully just sent a sample harness to SC for the Concerned Person to study themselves.

        Although this surprised me greatly that they would release actual hardware to us early, there would probably already have been vehicles hauling all sorts of cargo/parcels between Detroit and Charleston, so a few pounds more is tuppence compared to me (250+) in my car (???).

        Isn't unintentional environmentalism fun?

        Wasted gas on trips I *have* taken for work -- all these trips involved getting hands-on with either a vehicle or facility equipment so tele/web-conferencing was not an option:

        -- Multiple trips to Stryker's birthplace in London, ONT: 113 miles one-way, plus USA/CAN border crossing wasting time & gas idling. Most times I left early AM and went home same day, arriving usually just after normal dinnertime.

        -- Three trips to a facility in Ohio in 2016 for testing: 186 miles one-way. The first time (early May: characterize the problem; test initial solutions) I stayed 3 days (with another 35 miles one-way to the hotel). The second time (August: verify final solution) I meant to stay, but the testing went so well that I cancelled the hotel and drove all the home the first day, we skipped a day, and I repeated the whole thing again the third day. I spent way more time in the car than on the testing grounds that month.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: We should retain only minimal flights; no 50-mile jollie

          "Isn't unintentional environmentalism fun?"

          An anecdote from my telecommunications tech days:

          It was pointed out that _every single time_ there had been a pandemic ('56, '68 and '77 given as particular examples ) or a fuel price surge ('74 and '79 given as examples there), travel had been set aside for teleconferencing (or the phone equivalent of it in those days)

          And every time things had returned to "normal", the surge in demand for telecommunications services had not eased off, whilst increases in travel normally only came with subsequent growth in company business

    2. whitepines Silver badge

      Re: Opportunity

      5000-mile video conferences on triple HD screens with HD audio, and it was like having the other people in the room

      And all the TLAs listening in really appreciated both the fidelity of your cameras and knowing exactly what your business plans were.

      Until you fix the snooping problem, this simply won't be an option. One could argue that for every "terrerst" caught several hundred / thousand people die from climate change just because face to face meetings are required to have any privacy at all in this age of lunacy!

      1. Bloodbeastterror

        Re: Opportunity

        "all the TLAs listening in"

        Ever heard of "VPN"? I understand they're pretty popular this year, especially among major American financial institutions.

        I call troll, but I'll settle for idiot.

        1. whitepines Silver badge

          Re: Opportunity

          Ever heard of "VPN"?

          I'll bite. Who is using VPNs with local servers on both ends versus just using Google/Zoom/whatever cheap n' cheerful cloud videoconferencing service is available?

          1. Bloodbeastterror

            Re: Opportunity

            "Who is using VPNs with local servers on both ends"

            If you'd bothered to read my post properly you'd have seen that I worked for a major American financial corporation for which security is more important than cost.

            1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

              Re: Opportunity

              I did too, for several. The Front Office ONLY travelled first class. (And back in the day, by Concorde. 2 of my Dev mates wangled free trips on same.)

              A quick glance just at the number of seats on any commercial aeroplane will tell you categorically that you are presently in a very very unusual, very very lucky bubble.

              .

              Goldman Sachs London has an entire floor dedicated to white-gloved silver-service restaurant and entertainment rooms. Full complement of chefs and waiters on permanent standby. "Just in case." If you get the chance to be invited, do go. A/ great food, delightful environment. B/ surreal expense.

    3. DS999

      So who decides what is necessary?

      Do you get to veto my vacation to Europe (if/when coronavirus ends) or the Caribbean? Which is prioritized, business travel or pleasure travel? If I drive 1000+ miles to Florida because you've taken away my airplane, and enough other people do the same, we're going to be worse off from a CO2 perspective.

      Are you coming for my car next, and requiring me to ride my bike to work and the grocery store? Better also make sure you also control my thermostat for good measure, so it is kept at 10C in the winter and 30C in the summer, wouldn't want to waste energy when I could wear a couple layers around the house in the winter and nothing in the summer!

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: So who decides what is necessary?

        Actually, yes. That's what the VirtueMemesters want.

        They've had a LOT of success already.

        Eg, controlling your thermostat: done.

        That's a key formal objective _and outcome_ of residential Smart Meters. Fastest way to find out why the power companies love them and how they are and will be used in practice is to talk to the short-term electricity traders. The guys actually now able to control your heating from their desk, eg RWE in Swindon, EDF in London, etc. That's a handful of traders who can quite literally turn down the heating in over half of London's houses. They'll give you chapter and verse, and it's a lot easier to confirm a technical ability in the specs than it is to go the other way to spot how tech can be used in practice.

        The VirtueMemesters thought them up, the power companies leapt at the P&L opportunity.

        1. heyrick Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: So who decides what is necessary?

          "The guys actually now able to control your heating from their desk"

          Indirectly, perhaps, if they decide to switch to a spot pricing model and bully people into using less.

          Otherwise, a smart meter simply reports back on electricity consumption (per day, per hour, or minute, whatever). It doesn't adjust heating, or how many lights are on, or anything else. Especially if you have gas heating in which case the electric bit is just a pump...

          1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

            Re: So who decides what is necessary?

            Wrong.

            Smart Meters are an active upstream control for circuits in your home.

            That is a core design objective and POINT of their creation and then mass roll-out.

            They are active upstream not merely passive downstream as you have been led to believe.

            Bear in mind modern regs require major appliances like fridges to be on separate circuits. What you won't see unless you dig is

            A/ the regs also want you the electrician to identify them via standard codes (allowing sensible centralised control) ,

            B/ who it was pushing for this change (hint: not the govt or the regulators)

            1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

              Re: So who decides what is necessary?

              Rephrase in case you're a pure IT chap:

              Smart Meters are an IoT device allowing remote control at power/current-delivery levels of every individual/separate circuit attached to it, from a remote location.

              The traders were crowing 10yrs ago that their screens let them casually control not just by area, but way past the substation level they used to pine for, but effortlessly down to postcode level. "You just click down!" For non-UK people, bear in mind that UK postcodes are per-street or part thereof for "long" ones (eg over 200 houses). And you could keep clicking...

              Head Trader on one desk when the software was first installed, first day early morning , exclaiming, kept clicking down and "switched off" his own fridge. An hour's drive away. "AWESOME!!" Had to re-buy a week's worth of food. "Worth it! That's awesome!"

              That was 10yrs ago.

              Smart Meters are the first mass IoT rollout.

    4. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: Opportunity

      Hey anyone can do the math on how many airlines could die without really affecting air travel? Once we actually have that again of course.

  3. DJV Silver badge

    "This offering will fill that market need and is destined to take off."

    Well, as he was from Gartner, that pretty much condemns it to death!

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: "This offering will fill that market need and is destined to take off."

      Agree generally but actually I thought the Gartner boy's quotes were brilliant. He'd be fun to work with.

      1. ssharwood
        Thumb Up

        Re: "This offering will fill that market need and is destined to take off."

        Indeed. Michael was a very good sport to do this.

  4. G2

    "use by date"

    *me: zooms on package label in photo*

    So, probably they got them so cheap also because the "use by" date was rapidly approaching and there was no chance of ever selling them otherwise.

    The company would have to throw the expired food away if that date was reached.

  5. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
    Pint

    Australia's most-polluted waterway: Alexandra Canal

    Was that before or after this culinary experience?

    Enqiuring minds need to.....err rr on second thoughts no we don't!

    Icon - Going with beer "Of course, lager! The only thing that can kill a vindaloo!" - Lister.

    1. Paul Herber Silver badge

      Re: Australia's most-polluted waterway: Alexandra Canal

      Two pints of beverage and a packet of comestibles, please.

    2. ssharwood

      Re: Australia's most-polluted waterway: Alexandra Canal

      Before... but you raise a good point

  6. Roger Greenwood

    Extra flavourings

    I seem to recall hearing that airline food has to be spiced up a lot to compensate for the reduced taste/smell sensation of being in a reduced pressure atmosphere. Not surprising then that consumption at sea level is a rather different experience. I wonder if they have a pressure chamber to test that on the ground? Excellent story though and glad at least some of the food is not wasted.

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Extra flavourings

      > I wonder if they have a pressure chamber to test that on the ground?

      Why would they do that when they can just hop on a plane and try out new recipes under actual conditions?

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Extra flavourings

        For those that don't get your sarcasm:

        Using that pressure chamber is a good bit cheaper (and better controllable) and yes, they do use them.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Extra flavourings

          It's not just the pressure chamber though. The airline experience includes having most of the smell whipped away by the air handling system before it even gets a chance to get near the parts that can sense them (IIRC it's something like a complete air change every 90 seconds with primary airflow from the top of the cabin to the floor vents)

    2. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re: Extra flavourings

      I heard this too, however now that we know at sea level airline food tastes bland we know that was being used as an excuse for shite cheap catering.

      Now I come to think of it, I also rember bacon sandwhiches at 40,000 ft tasting like bacon sandwhiches.

  7. cbrieske

    Give them a break

    The pressure & humidity in aircraft cabins has been shown to reduce the perception of saltiness and sweetness by ~30%. To offset this affect most airline meals are overdone. This could also be why curries seem to be a popular option with airlines.

  8. oldman62

    If only...

    Now if only they needed to sell off those alcoholic beverages as well....oh, and those nice little bags of pretzels

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: If only...

      Those don't really spoil, so likely they can just flog em to other airlines. Looks like these meals were approaching their best-before date and had to be either sold or thrown away. I can understand (and applaud) the decision they made to just flog em off cheap and recoup their money.

  9. Jedit
    Joke

    Would I eat airline curry?

    Maybe. Just maybe. If the plane crashed and I was stranded with no hope of rescue for weeks, then I might allow it to pass my lips. After I'd eaten the other passengers first, of course.

    (With thanks to NTNOCN.)

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Would I eat airline curry?

      Fortunately for me, I don't eat a great deal anyway but I stopped eating inflight meals and taking my own snacks decades ago.

      On one trip on the outward bound leg I had a salad with unrequested wild life in it, a caterpillar which attested to the freshness but spoilt my appetite. On the return journey the caterpillar had been pushed out of its job by a tiny slug.

      Home made sarnies and a couple in of apples have been my inflight grub ever since.

      Oh the fresh food flights I am fairly sure were Laker a good airline in all other respects.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Would I eat airline curry?

        Discussions like this always remind me of the peach flan that I was once served on a domestic BA flight back in the day (at least a decade ago). Looking at the ingredients list started off something like:

        Apple (30%), Peach (25%)...

        Which always made me wonder why they called it a peach flan? Although to be fair when you ate it, that was what you actually tasted (due to low cabin pressure or whatever).

        That said they did used to do a semi-acceptable breakfast on that flight (Gatwick to Edinburgh), set you up reasonably well for a days work once you got there.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: Would I eat airline curry?

          "Which always made me wonder why they called it a peach flan?"

          Because it's supposed to be a peach flan, but is bulked out with apple because it's cheaper.

          Apple and my digestion don't get on well, so I tend to look for where things have apple stuffed in like that. You'd be surprised how often it happens.

  10. xyz

    Ah the good old days...

    Way back at the turn of the century, I used to love my Thursday night BA flights between Heathrow and Edinburgh... It was curry night on the 'plane and I always had 2. God know what the plane smelt like the next morning. Then it all got changed and and we started getting lobbed a bag with "Enjoy" written on it. I stopped flying with BA after that.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not a frequent flyer but I travel enough to know that it's always best to order a special meal, ideally asian vegetarian, even you are not asian or a vegetarian.

    And I usually get to eat four of them because the wife and kids refuse to eat theirs.

    1. AJ MacLeod

      An added benefit is that they like to serve the "special" meals to those picky customers first, before shoveling out the standard fare to the rest of the cattle...

  12. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Pint

    Aer Lingus breakfast

    Is the only airline meal I happily paid for - never quite as good as a real fry up but with juice, coffee and soda bread for under a tenner it saved me time at home.

  13. Muscleguy Silver badge

    Beef massaman curry is actually my now ex wife’s favourite dish. I have cooked it many a time, usually employing a sachet of some sort from the local Chinese food emporium but said sachets are much better than a western supermarket equivalent which as you noted tends to the far too sweet. BTW Massaman is the Thai equivalent of Mussulman or Moslem. IOW they got curry courtesy of Arab traders who brought it from India.

    Just like we call our numbering system Arabic numerals but they are in fact Indian numerals. We just named them after the messenger not the originator.

  14. Tubz
    Mushroom

    I bet your butt hole and the toilet really appreciated the experiment.

  15. big_D Silver badge

    Price...

    The $2.50 a portion sounds about right.

    My wife works at a local after school care centre and they get around $2 - $2.50 per child per day for lunch and "tea-time snack". The lunchtime meal is delivered by a local catering service. Sometimes it is good, but often bland, tasteless or downright repulsive - she gets to bring home leftovers now and then.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Price...

      Back in 2005 celebrity chef Jamie Oliver launched a crusade to improve the quality of school lunches in the UK. One of his biggest hurdles was that the budget per pupil for ingredients was 37p.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Price...

        He took away their turkey twizzlers, the same generation then took away his restaurants.

    2. PerlyKing Silver badge

      Re: Price...

      I caught part of a documentary a while ago in which it was stated that economy-class airline meals cost around $2 each. And first class might be up to $4!

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: Price...

        You're paying for the restaurant, not the food.

  16. not.known@this.address Silver badge

    Tastes differ...

    Especially between sea level and 25,000ft.

    Didn't one of the airlines hire Heston Blumenthal to come up with a new menu that would taste reasonable but not cost a fortune to produce? IIRC, the biggest problem he had was that how food tastes when you're in the development kitchen (or at home) and how it tastes under the reduced air pressure at altitude is significantly different...

    1. joesomeone
      Headmaster

      Re: Tastes differ...

      Technically I think the cabin altitude is between 5,000 and 7,500 feet. 25,000 feet and everyone'd be passed out and/or dying.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Tastes differ...

      Not just food, but the wines

      There is zero point in trying anything "delicate" in the air because the airconditioning will whip just about all of the important bits away before you get a chance to experience them. Stick with simple chardonnay, etc.

      That said: I don't recommend drinking and flying - it's a fast way of getting badly dehydrated and arriving feeling like crap (stick to the non-alcoholics on long hauls and if you must indulge try to run 3 glasses of water per glass of wine, with no more than one wine/beer per 3-4 hours - Seriously, drink LOTS of water. You're losing it like gangbusters out of your lungs to the dry air. I spent half the 1990s flying around the world and that advice kept me functional)

  17. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Valor deserves its reward

    A Palatezer Prize, maybe?

  18. Paul Herber Silver badge

    beverage

    such a horrible word.

    I can just imagine Alan Partridge looking forward to a nice evening out enjoying a beverage at the bar of local civic centre. Euck!

  19. riffrafff

    What is "Tom Yam rice?" I can only find references to "Tom Yum rice."

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      What is "Tom Yam rice?"

      A spicy and aromatic cat and yam curry?

  20. Teiwaz Silver badge

    As a child of the 1970s, I have a fear of savoury dishes involving fruit, and this one invoked bad memories of apricot chicken casseroles and prunes put in places they should never have been allowed.

    I rather liked those. I recall when I was a kid, my parents were exasperated by my constant choice of 'chicken maryland' on meals out (while seemingly oblivious that their general option for a 'steak and chips' wasn't exactly adventurous either).

    I usually regarded Restaurants having been 'stiffed' if there was not both deep fried banana and a slice of pineapple.

    1. AJ MacLeod

      Sorry for the downvote but I was feeling pretty good till I read your post and now I feel like vomiting!

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        @AJ MacLeod

        No offence taken.

        My work here is done. Don't forget to flush, Now wash your hands.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "[...] I was feeling pretty good till I read your post [...]"

        Deep fried mini-pizza? Deep fried Mars bar?

  21. Mike Richards Silver badge

    'raspberry custard-filled almond croissants'

    Why only a passing mention of what sounds like an Antipodean delight? Please tell us more!

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: 'raspberry custard-filled almond croissants'

      Australian food is now solid sugar.

      First thing I said when I stepped off the plane on returning coupla years ago from 20yrs away, was: "When did everybody get fat?"

  22. Dippywood

    As a child of the 1970s, I have a fear of savoury dishes involving fruit...

    There is a similar fear of desserts containing pasta...

    I recall, with the requisite amount of revulsion, a strange concoction of macaroni and tinned custard. Ah, the '70's

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: As a child of the 1970s, I have a fear of savoury dishes involving fruit...

      Macaronl custard! Only marginally less disgusting than 60s school tapioca, looked like frogspawn and I swear there was a frog in it once.

      1. AJ MacLeod

        Re: As a child of the 1970s, I have a fear of savoury dishes involving fruit...

        Disintegrating frog or boiled to death prune... without access to DNA testing who could tell?

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: As a child of the 1970s, I have a fear of savoury dishes involving fruit...

          "Disintegrating frog or boiled to death prune"

          Crunchy frog. With Spring Surprise as a followup

      2. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: As a child of the 1970s, I have a fear of savoury dishes involving fruit...

        I don't think my primary ever served tapioca.

        But I recall semolina, custard (and probably most, now I come to think of it) puddings that could have been used as trampolines.

        1. hoola Bronze badge

          Re: As a child of the 1970s, I have a fear of savoury dishes involving fruit...

          A few things stick in my memory from early school years (First and Middle school back in those days:

          Rice pudding or semolina with a blob of red jam (ink and wood chips), it went a gorgeous shade of pink when stirred.

          A sponge cake which had lemon curd trailed on it before cooking so you had a canal of lemon. It was surprisingly good.

          Faggots! On those days the big aluminium water jug always went back heavier than it started. They were truly awful.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As a child of the 1970s, I have a fear of savoury dishes involving fruit...

        " Only marginally less disgusting than 60s school tapioca, [...]"

        Our school dining hall was arranged with eight pupils to a table. Food arrived in large mess tins - and was then divided evenly into eight portions. Rarely did the tins return other than empty*** - as there were always the dynamics like Jack Sprat and his wife. Tapioca with a dollop of jam - yummy!

        ***on one occasion most tables returned their meatballs untouched. The previous serving of that dish many months earlier had incapacitated most of the school with food poisoning the next day. IIRC meatballs were never served again in the rest of my years there.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: As a child of the 1970s, I have a fear of savoury dishes involving fruit...

          I recall an incident at one such institution where one of the "inmates" stood on a bench and juggled the mashed potatoes to make a point

          One of the cooks stormed ouf of the kitchen and attacked him.

        2. Mike Moyle Silver badge

          Re: As a child of the 1970s, I have a fear of savoury dishes involving fruit...

          "on one occasion most tables returned their meatballs untouched."

          This reminds me of my college days -- We had all of the usual complaints about the school's food service, which was often pretty dire (Speaking personally, I was apparently one of the ones who didn't check under the gravy one Friday night, so didn't discover that the roast beef had an iridescent sheen to it and so was part of the one-third of residence students who came down with varying degrees of food poisoning that weekend!).

          One day, the lunch menu included something new called "Piccadilly Circles". Well, I mean, it was something new and not the usual "Spaghetti with a side of mashed potatoes, wasn't it? So I took the plate and found a table to sit at. I took one bite and realized that, apparently the food service had gotten an AMAZING deal on english muffins, imitation bacon bits, and Cheez Whiz. I put the horrible thing down and went back up to the serving line to get the spaghetti (Hold the mashed!).

          On busing my tray up to the receiving window at the end of my meal, I saw that a good 80% of the trays contained two entree plates, one of which held three Piccadilly Circles, ONE of which had a single bite taken out of it.

          They never served them again but, starting about a month later, and for the remainder of the school year, the salad bar had these quite acceptable bacon-cheddar-ish croutons as add-ins, so that was nice!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lufthansa meals

    "Whatever happens to Virgin Australia, I won't fly it just to make sure I never encounter this dish again."

    Be happy GateGourmet is not the one providing Lufthansa with their "dishes" ! Those ... things are properly terrible.

    On the topic of travel, a couple of days before confinment, our customer rolled on the floor of rage because they wanted me physically at a meeting. 250 Km from my location, and very difficult public transportation lines. I connected from home and it lasted 15 mins not more. I spared the planet a lot of CO2 for nothing that day.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Lufthansa meals

      We have certain customers who like to insist on face to face (or mask to mask, as they're now being called) meetings. Seemingly they think that if it's via some online remote media they won't be able to harangue, harass and generally shout at us quite as well (whether it's deserved or not).

      Oddly enough we insist on remote meetings, generally for much the same reasons...

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Lufthansa meals

      Be happy GateGourmet is not the one providing Lufthansa with their "dishes" ! Those ... things are properly terrible.

      My "worst ever" was a pizza that United served mid-atlantic. I valued my teeth too much to attempt to chew it, and looking at the collected trays I was far from being the only one.

    3. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Lufthansa meals

      I popped my head in to complain about Lufthansa as well. The worst airline meal I've ever had (I would say the worst meal ever, but I'm not totally sure that would be true) was a concoction called "vegetarian schnitzel" on account of the other meal having run out. No, I don't know WTF a vegetarian schnitzel might consist of either, but my wife memorably described it as tasting like a rotting whale, and who am I to disagree?

  24. macjules Silver badge

    A braver man than I

    Have fond memories of early 1970's BOAC first class dining, even as a child, and not to be polluted by Beardy McSpaceKadet's offerings.

  25. BGatez Bronze badge

    overpriced at "free"

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have you considered...

    ...spend a little money on branding and packaging and release a "quarantine friendly diet range".

    I know I could use a large supply of unappealing food to help my quarantine diet.

  27. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Fix for 50-mile jollies - raise airline prices

    Stop charging $5 for the flight and $25 for each checked bag. Charge what it used to cost back in the early '80s, $800+ a flight minimum for that 50 mile jolly. Four digits for anything further.

    Insist that people adhere to business attire... no more flipflops, shortshorts, and minimal bra top.

    Flights will quickly drop to only what's really necessary.

    Airlines will be able to serve decent food and provide comfortable accommodations and good service again.

    1. G2
      Pint

      Re: Fix for ...

      let me rewrite those lines:

      Stop charging $5 for a few phone calls and $25 for each additional service. Charge what it used to cost back in the early '80s, $800+ a month minimum for that fancy land line phone. Four digits a month for anything resembling mobile phone usage.

      Insist that phone users adhere to business attire... no more flipflops, shortshorts, and minimal bra top.

      Phone calls will quickly drop to only what's really necessary.

      Phone companies will be able to serve decent line quality and provide good services again.

      /end of rewrite :p

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: Fix for ...

        Sounds good to me if it stops me having to avoid chavs with mobile phones that cost more than their month's benefits walking out in front of me on the daily commute.

    2. stiine Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Fix for 50-mile jollies - raise airline prices

      What size bra do you wear, Gene?

  28. First Light Bronze badge

    Did you forget your kid?

    I want to know what your kid's response was to eating the food.

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: Did you forget your kid?

      He doesn't know. Kid's still not talking to him.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My first flight in 1972 was a 12 hour long haul - on a 747 where everyone had a window seat. When lunch was served - I prided myself on my sophistication in knowing that black grapes could be part of a side-salad. Hence my palate's surprise when encountering my first ever black olive.

  30. Andy McMullin

    To be eaten at altitude breathing recycled air

    I thought these meals, like the drinks, were designed for consumption at altitude — lower air pressure, artificially heated air — which effects the taste buds. Did you consider going up in a balloon, or to the top of a mountain, to get the right flavour?

  31. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Linux

    This is like watching "Supersize Me"

    I'm waiting for our dear author to find out that he is suddenly hypertensive or anemic.

    (Penguin--the other white meat.)

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