Airline food is notorious for never being what you want. If you’re on a short flight and aren’t served a luxurious meal of reheated chicken and vegetables, you might receive a tiny bag of pretzels and a can of Coke, which isn’t exactly the ideal snack. (I paid $400 for this flight. At least give me a medium bag of pretzels.) So I can’t say I blame anybody for bringing their own snacks onto an airplane, but as passengers of a Southwest flight found out this month, there are definitely some foods that travel better than others.
Staying satiated on a plane means coming prepared, either with snacks from home tucked into your carry-on bag or a $20 entree purchased at the airport. Then there are other factors to consider, like what you actually have the space to eat, and what can easily be eaten in your lap or on a tiny tray table. Chips and a sandwich are easy enough to transport and are relatively mess-free. Anything requiring utensils, though, you might want to reconsider.
If only I could’ve given that advice to a passenger on a recent Southwest Airlines flight from Atlanta to Houston. An unidentified traveler brought a rice dish onto the plane and accidentally spilled it into the aisle during the boarding process, according to one witness, prompting a frustrated flight attendant to delay the already delayed flight until the perpetrator identified themselves and cleaned up the mess. Another passenger documented the saga in a Twitter thread.
“The flight attendant screamed ‘who spilled rice?’ and is walking up and down the aisles,” the passenger tweeted. “They are refusing to leave the gate until someone cleans the rice.”
The passenger claimed the flight attendant told the passengers they “were not raised right” for refusing to take ownership of the mess. Due to multiple travel delays, it can be assumed this flight attendant was likely having a bad day and is not always on a warpath by nature.
To make things worse, another passenger allegedly took advantage of the delay caused by #RiceGate and went to the bathroom while the whole who-spilled-the-rice saga was being sorted out. However, according to the Twitter thread, this only delayed the flight even further, because even though the flight crew eventually got a broom and cleaned up the rice, the plane couldn’t take off without all passengers in their seats.
“The over-dramatization of the whole event made it more comical than anything,” wrote the Twitter user.
At the end of the day, the plane safely took off and landed, but #RiceGate will likely live rent-free in passengers’ heads forever. The icing on the cake came when turbulence during the flight apparently did not allow flight attendants to pass out any complimentary drinks or snacks. You have to wonder if that turbulence would have been a problem on a non-delayed flight.
So what’s the moral of the story here? Well, don’t be a coward, for one thing. Had the rice spiller owned up to their mistake, this would not have ballooned into a catastrophe that’s now being picked up by news outlets. But most importantly, think twice before bringing rice onto a plane. Or tuna. My friend almost got into a physical altercation with a man on a plane who was eating tuna.