The era of soggy, cardboard-flavoured plane food is over - at least for anyone flying out of Heathrow.
Because the airport has just become the first in the world to is offer 'on board picnic hampers' to all passengers from any of its 118 restaurants.
Every single one of Heathrow's restaurants is now offering made-to-order hampers, designed to be easily stowed away on the aircraft. Costing anything between £5 and £50, many come in insulated bags designed to keep the food fresh, hot or cold at 35,00ft.
The airport offers a huge range of restaurants, including Caviar House, Pret a Manger, The Gorgeous Kitchen, Gordon Ramsay's Plane Food, and Heston Blumenhal's The Perfectionist Cafe.
According to the airport, bespoke hampers can be prepared in around 15 minutes, depending on the type of meal selected, but some restaurants, such as The Perfectionists' Cafe, can offer pizzas to go in around one minute.
To mark the new service, which will be offered all year round, a 'pop up park' has been launched in Terminal 2 in partnership with the Royal Parks Foundation. It features the scent of freshly cut grass and the sounds of birds chirping, and comes complete with sunlight-type lighting, and a park bench. Passengers can access the park and sample the foods between 7am and 8am, 12pm-1pm and 7pm-8pm every day until September 24.
Ben Crowley, head of food and beverage at Heathrow said: "On-board picnics not only give passengers the freedom to choose when they eat their meal, it also provides them with an unparalleled selection to choose from. With a range of on-board picnics available from 118 different retailers across Heathrow's five terminals, passengers are spoilt for choice. Whether they want caviar, sushi or pizza, there's a restaurant that will package something up for them to take on board their flight."
Will you be using this new service at Heathrow? Tell us below!
World's most expensive food
Heathrow Airport announces the end of bad plane food
Italian truffles are rated high by gourmet chefs all around but the white truffle is the most special variety originating in the Piedmont region of northern Italy and sold for £900 to £1,900 per pound. The truffles are collected by specially-trained dogs and pigs that pick up the unusual aroma with their sensitive noses. In 2007, casino owner Stanley Ho shelled out £230,000 for a white truffle from Tuscany weighing just 3.3 pounds. That’s one pricey fungus!
What's the most you've spent on dessert at a restaurant? We bet it wasn't £22,000 for a chocolatey treat like this one created by head chef Marc Guilbert at the Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel in Windermere, Cumbria. Guilbert made the world's most expensive dessert last year with ingredients including four different types of the finest Belgian chocolate and peach, orange and whisky flavours. It was styled like a Faberge egg and layered with champagne jelly and a light biscuit joconde. Edible gold leaf, a diamond from award-winning jeweller Wave Jewellery, handmade chocolate flowers and champagne and strawberry caviar were used to decorate the dessert. We think this definitely looks too good to eat!
As the world's most expensive spice, Iranian saffron can cost anything between £320 and £3,222 per pound! Why is it so pricey? It takes a huge amount of planting to extract a small amount from the purple-coloured saffron crocus flower - planting an area as big as a football pitch only gets around one pound of the spice. If that wasn't enough, the flowers need to be hand-picked in autumn to retain the aroma. Luckily just a tiny amount of the stuff goes a long way.
For $295 (£189) you can tuck into the mother of all hamburgers at the Serendipity 3 restaurant in New York. Le Burger Extravagant holds the Guinness World Record for the most expensive hamburger and contains Japanese Wagyu beef infused with 10-herb white truffle butter and cheddar cheese, which is hand-formed by famous cheesemaker James Montgomery in Somerset. It's topped with shaved black truffles, a fried quail egg and served on a white truffle-buttered Campagna roll with a blini on top, crème fraiche, Paramount Caviar Kaluga caviar and large pearls from the Huso Dauricus farm raised in Quzhou, China. It's topped off with a solid gold toothpick encrusted with diamonds and designed by renowned jeweller Euphoria New York. Now that's what we call a burger!
Produced in the city of Kobe in Hyogo, Japan, Kobe is the most renowned Japanese beef and is well-known for its marbled texture. The meat comes from the black Tajima-ushi breed of Wagyu cattle and is raised according to strict tradition making it a delicacy that costs between 3,150 yen (£25) and 16,800 yen (£137) per steak! In Japan, the only place where you'll find authentic Kobe beef, it is prepared in dishes like steak, sukiyaki, shabu shabu, sashimi and teppanyaki.
You wouldn't want to run out of change when buying this kebab after a night out as it comes with a £750 price tag. British chef Andy Bates, who created the world's most expensive doner kebab dubbed the 'don of all doners' last year crammed milk-fed lamb from the Pyrenees into the saffron flatbread. Chilli sauce using Scotch Bonnet chillies, mint and cucumber yoghurt infused with Krug Grande Cuvee champagne and an edible gold leaf garnish were also used. Andy told Rex Features that the doner was most likely to appeal to 'a high-class drunk on his way home.' We wonder if it comes with chips!
The Zasavica Special Nature Reserve in Serbia has 100 Balkan donkeys that give milk for cheese costing a huge €1,000 per kilo. The smoked cheese named Pule costs twice the amount of moose cheese, making it one of the most expensive in the world. There are no special ingredients in Pula and the price is based purely on the value of the milk. The delicacy isn't readily available either so if you fancy trying the cheese you’ll need to place an order in advance.
Last Christmas a luxurious mince pie worth a whopping £3,000 went on display at an East London shopping centre. The festive treat had a mix of traditional ingredients from recipes dating back to the 17th century, including the highest grade platinum leaf, holy water from Lourdes to bind the pastry and vanilla beans and cinnamon from eastern spice markets. It also contained ambergris sugar derived from sperm whale secretions and a solid platinum coin to keep with the British tradition of placing a silver coin in a Christmas dessert. The pricey mince pie took 10 days to make and featured a pastry top that was laser cut to give it an intricate finish.
Japanese Yubari melons are famous for their sweetness and hefty price tags that range between 1,000 and 10,000 yen (£8 to £80). The melons are only produced in Yubari city in Hokkaido under such strict quality standards that only a certain amount are grown each year making them so expensive. The melons have red flesh and at first were disliked by many people who called them pumpkin melons. They later became popular when they were given as a prize to MVP baseball players.
Omelettes are one of the cheapest dishes you can eat, right? Well at the restaurant Norma's at New York's Le Parker Meridien hotel egg lovers can shell out for the world's most expensive omelette, the Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata, which costs a whopping $1,000 - that's £650! The costly breakfast dish contains lobster and 10 ounces of severga caviar, which is the highest category of the delicacy from the Caspian Sea. There's a $100 (£65) sample available so you can taste the lavish dish without having to spend all of your holiday cash!
It seems that certain species of fungi are consistently worth their weight in gold and this heavy-weight of a mushroom is no different. This rare morsel grows in Japan, only in Autumn and, as yet, cannot be farmed, hence the impressive price tag. Apparently the japanese used to give Matsutakes as gifts, representing fertility, prosperity and happiness, so, if you're ever stuck for a birthday present for that person who has everything…
White truffles aren't the only truffles making an appearance on this list. This delectable morsel of chocolate heaven is created by chocolatier extraordinaire Fitz Knipschildt using a French Perigord truffle surrounded by handmade truffle oil and 70 per cent Valhrona ganache. It comes on a bed of silver pearls and weighs just over 50 grams - less than an average snickers bar...but 250 times more expensive!
Heathrow Airport announces the end of bad plane food
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Weird things you can do at the airport
Heathrow Airport announces the end of bad plane food
Passengers at Munich Airport don't have to sleep on uncomfortable airport chairs as there are special self-service Napcab cabins offering a comfortable space to sleep before your flight. And to ensure you're far from the stress of the terminal, there's mood sound and lighting, entertainment and even an alarm you can set so you won't miss your flight.
Last year, San Francisco International Airport opened a serene space for yoga bunnies - the first of its kind Yoga Room in Terminal 2. Located just past the security checkpoint, it allows travellers to leave the stress of the airport behind and step into a space devoted to contemplation and self-reflection. The noise and mobile-free room is free to use and comes complete with yoga mats so you don't have to worry about extra baggage!
Travellers waiting for a flight at Dallas Airport can put their time to good use and learn how to save a life, as the American Heart Association and American Airlines have placed a Hands-Only CPR machine in Terminal C for six months allowing hands-on practice with an actual CPR mannequin. The machine gives you an introduction and a practice session before testing your compression rates and hand placement.
Fancy trying an aerobatic flight? At Cambridge Airport, you can take to the skies in a high performance aerobatic aircraft similar to those used in the Red Bull Air Race series. Free of the logistical difficulties of learning to fly in London’s aerospace, you'll learn while enjoying one of the most beautiful aerial views in the country - of colleges and churches! Lessons are supervised by a highly experienced instructor and after you've been through a series of breathtaking loop-the-loop-style manoeuvres, you can take the controls and try your hand at some basic manoeuvres.
If you've got a few hours of waiting time during a stopover at South Korea's Incheon Airport, you'll want to go on an exciting (and free!) Transit Tour to get a taste of the local culture and see the stunning sights. Whether you've got a couple of hours or six, the free tours take in beautiful temples, the city of Seoul at night or Incheon Grand Bridge and the port.
There's no need to get bored waiting for your flight at Zurich Airport, as you can go on a guided tour of the airport and find out what goes on behind the scenes. From a sightseeing tour of the flight operations areas by bus, to visiting the aircraft maintenance facilities and repair services, there are various tours and visits for aviation enthusiasts.
A proposal at an airport could be really romantic (if you're a plane spotter), but how about actually tying the knot at one? At Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, couples can say 'I do' with a unique wedding ceremony before escaping abroad for a honeymoon. Choose from a contemporary aviation-style wedding ceremony to nuptials styled in the aviation days of yesteryear, a "quickie" before jumping on the plane. You can even have a full-on wedding party on a plane.
What's the best way to enjoy the airport views? From a rocking chair, of course! America's Charlotte Airport was the first to place more than 100 rocking chairs around its terminal. Passengers can take in the views of the runway with a coffee in hand or relax in the tree-lined atrium and soak up the sunshine while waiting for a flight.
You don't even have to leave Incheon Airport to get cultured in South Korea as the Cultural Museum of Korea is located in the Transfer Lounge, displaying a collection of relics that cover a 5,000-year timeline. At the museum you'll find the Mugu jeonggwang dae darani-gyeong, the oldest known wooden slab print in the world, Jikji, the world’s oldest existing book published by movable metal type, and Yong-bi-eo-chun-ga and Wol-in-chon-gang-ji-gok, two of the earliest works printed in the Korean alphabet.
Singapore's Changi Airport might just be our favourite airport in the world. There's so much to keep you occupied here that you really won't want to catch the flight home. For a start, it's home to a Balinese-themed rooftop swimming pool and poolside area. And if going for a swim as you wait for your flight isn't enough, you can share your photos and video memories on a Social Tree, visit the Butterfly Garden and take a stroll through Cactus, Sunflower and Orchid Gardens. Or just enhance your airport experience by visiting the Changi Aviation Gallery. Who knew that being stuck at the airport could actually be fun?