On long flights, I'm often given a very small bag of some kind of dried snack shortly (10-15 minutes) before a main meal is served - e.g. on a flight I was on yesterday, passengers were given a 10g bag of pretzels.

I'm wondering if this has some purpose beyond nutrition - e.g. to get people's digestion working and make the meal more comfortable / reduce competition for the facilities immediately after the meal?

  • Which airline is that? not sure this is something most airline do Nov 2, 2017 at 8:15
  • @NeanDerThal Alaska Airlines did this on the flight I was on. They took orders for meals while giving out drinks and snacks, and handed out meals directly afterwards. It was more than ten minutes, but I could see it being that short if the flight wasn't very full or big, maybe.
    – Kat
    Nov 2, 2017 at 8:28
  • 2
    Most Asian airlines (non-Low-cost anyway) do that too. Nov 2, 2017 at 8:47
  • 2
    Was the snack handed out as part of the pre-meal drinks service? Nov 2, 2017 at 8:53
  • @PatriciaShanahan yesterday not directly with the drink, though there may have been a drink served shortly before. Nov 2, 2017 at 8:59

1 Answer 1


It's meant to go with your pre-dinner drink. Better airlines still do a drinks run before they start the dinner service, so the pretzels/peanuts/etc are meant to accompany the drink, particularly if alcoholic.

Of course, a number of airlines now charge for drinks or have cut them out entirely, making this a bit of a vestigial appendix.

  • 6
    Is there any other kind of appendix?
    – aroth
    Nov 2, 2017 at 16:41
  • Perhaps it is an appendicinal vestige?
    – bmargulies
    Nov 2, 2017 at 18:18
  • 1
    @aroth sections at the end of a book which are not key to the book's main content, but a related are often called appendices, but they aren't vestigial
    – eques
    Nov 2, 2017 at 18:25
  • 1
    @aroth one in other animals (assuming human one is vestigial as this is not certain AFAIK)? Nov 2, 2017 at 19:01

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