3D Printing Your Meal at 30,000 Feet

By Mike Pomranz |

We’re still at a point where 3-D printed food sounds more like science fiction than delicious cuisine, but is it more appealing than airplane food? The idea that a fresh-printed meal customized to a flyer’s specifications can beat those terrible little warmed up trays is the basis of a concept put together by a group of students in India.

Why 3-D printing? Control and convenience. The students from the Department of Design at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati suggest that offering 3-D printed meals would greatly increase passengers’ options. Customizable meals could be ordered from a seat’s touch screen computer; a wide variety of food choices could be adjusted to diet and taste—and freshly made (or at least freshly printed)—with no real need for additional staff.

In just the past year 3-D food printing technology has made massive strides. But so far the concept of printed airline food is just an entry in an international design competition, so it won’t be coming to the friendly skies soon.

However, at a time when the airlines have been trending toward less comforts and tacking on fees everywhere they can, this sort of out-of-the-box thinking is exactly what the industry could use. Until then, the best way to customize your meal option is to drag your own hot, smelly meal onto the plane from an airport restaurant.

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