Why You Should Head to the Galley During an International Long-Haul Flight

The time is 1:30 in the morning. Your flight of 12 hours is only halfway complete; and the last meal service concluded four hours ago. You are seated in the economy class cabin as you try to go to sleep, and topping off your stomach would go a long way towards helping you reach that goal.

What do you do?

Why You Should Head to the Galley During an International Long-Haul Flight

You can choose among the following options:

  1. Stay in your seat and try to go to sleep — or keep yourself preoccupied with something else to pass the time — and not eat at all until the next food or meal service is served by members of the flight crew
  2. Grab something from your bag — such as a granola bar or a small bag of pretzels — to tide you over until the next food or meal service is served by members of the flight crew
  3. Head to the galley — which is usually located in the rear of the aircraft — where you can either ask a member of the flight crew if he or she has any food on which you can munch; or you will find an assortment of food items arranged in baskets or on trays for anyone to take at any time

What is Usually Offered in the Galley

Although not as likely with ultra-low-cost carriers, many international long-haul flights offer passengers in the economy class cabin sustenance of some sort in the form of rolls, crackers, pretzels, cakes, cookies, yogurt, nuts, brownies, granola, cheese, muffins, candy, popcorn, or even cups of ramen noodles to which one can add hot water. Miniature sandwiches — such as ham and cheese or some type of spread on bread or rolls — may also be offered. Even ice cream has been known to have been offered in the galley.

Sometimes the food offerings are specific to being displayed in either baskets or trays in the galley; and sometimes they are leftover items from the main meal service.

Beverages and cups are usually on offer as well in the form of water, juice and milk — but you are more than welcome to ask a member of the flight crew for soda, coffee, tea, or any other beverage which they may have that is not offered for you to serve yourself.

Of course, the food and beverage offerings are usually superior in the galley of the premium class cabin.


The idea for this article originated from a recent conversation I had with a friend who had returned from a trip halfway around the world earlier this year. He eventually became hungry hours after the first meal service had concluded, unaware that a spread of snacks, food and beverages awaited in the galley.

“I don’t know why the airline never announced that,” my friend — who was a frequent flier at one time — said to me. “If I had not asked a flight attendant, I would not have known about it.”

I then thought to myself that members of the flight crew almost never announce that refreshments and sustenance of any type awaits in the galley for anyone who wants them — hence, I thought of writing this article in case you did not realize that you can head to the galley and likely find something on which to nosh or drink…

…and the walk to the galley may also give you a chance to walk and help to avoid contracting such ailments as blood clots, hemorrhoids, pain in the lower back, deep vein thrombosis, swollen ankles or swollen feet from sitting in your seat for too long a period of time.

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

2 thoughts on “Why You Should Head to the Galley During an International Long-Haul Flight”

  1. Ken says:

    I am a flight attendant for a major U.S. carrier, and I work on long haul international trips. I would never let a customer return to their seat without something to eat if they come to the galley hungry!!!

    We usually have some sort of leftover meals, breads, ice cream, crackers and such from the first meal service. On flights with premium economy section, we have a several snack baskets that never get eaten. My airline also loads snacks, sandwiches and meals for the crew, which I am happy to share if a customer is hungry.

    On flights with a mid-flight snack service (11 hrs or more flight time, not block time), usually, the snack service consists of a pre-packaged bag of sandwich, chocolates and such. Most customers are asleep when we go through the aisle with the mid-flight snack so after we are done, leftovers are taken apart and we display each component for customers to help themselves to in the galley.

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