How Airplane Background Noise Affects our In-Flight Taste Buds

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  10.15.10 | 2:42 PM ET

New research suggests that the white noise of airplane cabins could be contributing to the infamous blandness of in-flight meals. Here’s the Independent’s Steve Connor:

White noise consists of random collections of sounds at different frequencies - such as the muffled noise of aircraft engines - and scientists have demonstrated that it is capable of diminishing the taste of salt and sugar.

The findings could explain a phenomenon well known to airline companies: passengers tend to lose their sense of taste when they are in the air.

Interesting stuff—but I’m a little surprised to find researchers putting serious time into studying airplane food, considering the in-flight meal is nearly extinct.

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

2 Comments for How Airplane Background Noise Affects our In-Flight Taste Buds

Marilyn Terrell 10.15.10 | 11:19 PM ET

So if I spend $299.95 on Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Headphones my peanuts will taste better?

Caitlin @ Roaming Tales 10.19.10 | 11:36 PM ET

Extinct in what way? Extinct for US domestic flights doesn’t mean extinct. In-flight meals are still very much part of the long-haul travel experience.

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