According to a previous study published in the journal “Sage”, basic taste sensitivity decreases with increasing altitude, so it is not necessarily the airline’s fault that they have bad food, but it may be because your taste buds and sense of smell become less sensitive when you are in the air At an altitude of 30,000 feet.
How does this happen?
Humans can taste 5 different flavors, such as sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami (a pleasant sour taste) using the taste buds in our mouths. There are a few factors that affect how our taste buds perceive the taste of food.
Once you get on a plane, all of these factors change and affect your ability to taste food; The cabin of the plane reduces the level of humidity to about 12 percent, which is a situation that is drier than most deserts, even inside a pressurized cabin, as it is equivalent to standing on the top of a mountain at an altitude of 2500 meters, and altitude fluctuations reduce pressure inside the cabin, compared to standing on the ground.
According to researchers, a combination of low humidity and low pressure leads to dry mouth. Due to reduced saliva flow, this reduces the sensitivity of your taste buds by about 30 percent.
The nose also plays an important role in the taste of food; Because smell plays a big role in creating the flavor of foods, lower humidity levels cause your nose to dry out, resulting in a reduced ability to smell.
In addition, constant motor sound, often greater than 85 decibels, can affect a nerve called the tympanic cord nerve that runs from your taste buds to the middle of your ear. As a result, your taste buds become less sensitive, due to the nerve’s response to sound.
To overcome the problem of enjoying the taste of food on the plane, specialists advise eating early on boarding the plane, before the dehydration rate increases, in addition to trying to use noise-blocking headphones.