What if you had to live on airplane food for a full year? Sound like a fate worse than death? I know of one crewmember who tried.

Alice was a flight attendant who was always passionate about issues such as recycling. She was in her mid-fifties and around 40 pounds overweight. She was on a layover with her friends when one of them challenged her to do something about her passion. It was then the dare took shape.

She had always claimed that she could easily live off of what the airlines waste each flight. This was, of course, back in the days where they still served food most of the time. By the end of the evening the group had thrown down the gauntlet:

For one entire year, Alice could not purchase or consume any food that was not from one of her flights. This included off-time and vacation as well. The only exception was the fruit or vegetables she grew in her garden.

Cat food was the only meal allowed for purchase, so her cats would perhaps eat better than Alice – or at least more consistently.

Alcohol was considered the same as food and was to be put into a flask at the end of a flight, instead of pouring it down the drain.

She was allowed one meal at a restaurant per month, but only if she didn’t pay for the bill.

Each friend would pay $500 if Alice made it, and she in turn agreed to pay each friend $250 if she didn’t.
Alice thought this would be a great way to save money, lose weight, and make a valid point. She called it her personal In-Flight Survivor. It was a bit risky as such tactics are considered pilfering by the company, and most international customs authorities frown at any food items in your bags.

She took the fruit left on the unused breakfast trays, cereals, yogurts, bread rolls, and made sandwiches from the leftover deli platters. She had the most impressive-sized flask and was a walking ad for Tupperware. I met Alice halfway through her challenge, and by that time she was known as the Tupperware lady. She carried every type of container possible.

Alice admitted that it was tough during vacations, but she had her stock of frozen items and was prepared. Unfortunately, it was hard for her to get a second date, as she would gorge herself silly at each month’s outing.

After the first month, it became a lifestyle for Alice. She once flew to Paris first class, and got on a return flight home the very same day. This way she was treated to two first class meals and didn’t break the deal. She was determined to make it, and looked upon the dare as an adventure in an alternative lifestyle.

Alice called me the day after winning the challenge. Her friends had thrown her a party and presented her with winnings of $4,000. She had lost 40 pounds, estimated her grocery bill savings at $9,000, and was planning to run a marathon in a couple of months.

Okay, her cholesterol and blood pressure went through the roof, but you can’t have everything.

This was not that long ago, but I believe if it was attempted today, she would most assuredly starve.