1955 Burger McDonald’s Fujairah United Arab Emirates
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Fast Food Brought Into the Premium Class Cabin: Is This Really a Controversy?

“On my recent flight from Santiago to LHR in First I was surprised to see that 1A came on board with a box of McDonald’s chicken nuggets which he then proceeded to eat with his pre-departure LP champagne. The crew seemed a little taken aback too (some eye rolling in the galley and an amused ‘Shall I take that for you now sir?’ as soon as the food had been consumed).”

Fast Food Brought Into the Premium Class Cabin: Is This Really a Controversy?

The scenario which you just read was imparted by FlyerTalk member Stoemp — who witnessed it while seated in the first class cabin of an airplane operated by British Airways — and 192 responses have already been posted in only two days and two hours, which is an indication that this is a controversial topic.

Generally two sides to this issue have been expressed: one is that bringing fast food aboard the airplane into the premium class cabin is a faux pas, can be considered offensive and should not be done; while the other is that the passenger is entitled to bring aboard whatever food he or she wants to eat…

…and then there is this response which was posted by FlyerTalk member Badenoch:

Threads such as these reinforce my basic premise that regardless of how circumspect my behaviour when travelling it is inevitable that something I do will offend someone. These and similar threads also reveal a reticence among the complainers to actually do anything about the offending behaviour in the moment only to later flock here to air their grievances.

Instead of accommodating every prissy little complaint it is therefore preferable to do as you choose unless instructed otherwise by a person who is in an official role and somewhat in authority.

In addition to the aforementioned two sides to this issue, other possible factors to consider include that the passenger in question may have been homesick for familiar food after being away for an extended period of time; may have needed fast food for dietary reasons; or was famished and the airport lounge did not offer enough substance in the provisions which were offered…

…as well as the odor which may have emanated throughout the cabin; fellow passengers may have had an attitude which could be considered “snooty”; or that the presence of fast food is not a “ringing endorsement” of the fare which is offered in the premium class cabin.


I will be the first to admit that this is an issue which likely should not be significant enough to warrant an article — but I was surprised at the adamant response by at least some members of FlyerTalk and that the discussion exploded as it did.

I do not require a wide seat and do not drink alcoholic beverages; so I never take complete advantage of all of the amenities the premium class cabin has to offer — and therefore is rarely of little value to me — meaning that the food is one of the highlights of the experience for me.

Although I would not do it myself because I do not eat fast food on a regular basis, I do not see the harm in bringing food aboard an airplane in any cabin — as long as its odor was not so strong as to be offensive to other passengers — but if I were seated in the premium class cabin, I would be looking forward to the food which will be served.

I do not normally ask this question; but I am curious: what do you think about fast food being brought aboard the airplane in the premium class cabin?

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

  1. If only airports had kosher fast food that I could but in an airport! I agree that as long as it doesn’t smell it shouldn’t cause a fuss but I can’t imagine why someone would want to buy a meal before a flight knowing a meal will be served not long after takeoff.

  2. You might take it as a commentary on the quality of BA’s food that the guy preferred to eat McNuggets to whatever was being served in first class.

    1. Touché! Couldn’t agree more… the so called “First Class food” on most airlines is sub par and only eaten because it’s included with your ticket… just like the cheap alcohol and wine they serve. I would venture that nobody would choose to eat this food over eating at a nice restaurant id given the choice. When the $10 meal cart sandwich is better than the meal served up front (American Airlines) you can see where the industry is heading! Virtually anything you bring on board to eat will be better… including “chicken nuggets” made of mystery meat!!

  3. I think this is the same thing as saying you have to dress a certain way to be in premium class. Like saying tennis shoes and blue jeans and T-shirts are no longer allowed in premium class you have to be wearing upscale clothing. All different types of people are traveling at all different times for all different reasons. If you can afford to pay for that seed in premium class then it’s really up to you how you want to behave when you’re there. You can’t force people to not bring fast food or where premium clothing when you’re in premium class that’s just wrong. That’s my opinion.

  4. There is something seriously wrong with that guy. How could he not be breathlessly seeking approval from flight attendants and from entitled snots using miles to pretend they are wealthy?

  5. I honestly do not know why fast food chains do not corner the inflight food market. I mean, most fast food is precooked, and just microwaved. I would order a big Mac and supersize my fries if I were in first class.. Now that is luxury!

  6. Odor? I personally like the smell of chicken mcnuggets and much prefer that smell than a first class passenger’s fart. lmao

  7. Those were probably fresh nuggets that the passenger just bought because they were running late and very hungry. That’s the only reasonable explanation for doing this in first class.

  8. BA should think twice about their food offering when especially a first class passenger preferred McDonald McNugets over their food.
    The last time I flew BA First, I told the flight attendant not to bother me with lunch, I just wanted to sleep.

    1. I am sure there are plenty of people that like BA food. You are never going to be able to please everyone when it comes to food. I would love to be able to eat premium meals without having to to pre-order them as I do for a special meal, with no meal at all I miss my connection due to weather.

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