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Posted by: OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers

While the quality of airline food has become somewhat of a running joke, there might be some truth to this assumption. Like restaurants and grocery stores, airline food could be contaminated with germs that cause foodborne illnesses. Knowing what to do when you suffer from food poisoning on a plane could help you recover both physically and financially.

The Truth About Airline Food

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration inspects restaurants far more frequently than airlines. This lack of oversight could actually make foodborne illness more likely on an airplane. It’s up to the crew to ensure food is stored correctly to prevent it from spoiling.

Unexpected delays, equipment failures, and other mishaps could cause food to go hours before it reaches a passenger’s tray table. For this reason, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that crews ensure that:

  • Food is obtained from FDA-approved sources and is safe for consumption
  • Food meets temperature requirements
  • Food is in covered containers or completely packaged once it arrives at the aircraft
  • Equipment and utensils are sanitized

What to do if You Get Sick from Airline Food

How you handle food poisoning on a plane is similar to how you would at a restaurant. However, there are some slight differences. Follow these steps if you suspect you’re suffering from airline food poisoning: 

  • Inform the Flight Crew – Inform the flight attendants immediately and tell them what you ate to ensure they stop serving the contaminated food item. You could help prevent others from getting sick.
  • Stay Hydrated – Depending on how long your flight is, you could be in the air for a while. Continue drinking water to avoid dehydration from vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Get Medical Attention – The flight crew might administer first aid or contact a medical provider when you land. There might also be a physician on board who could render aid. Once you land, be sure to get medical attention immediately.
  • Contact Your Airline – You should make sure your airline is aware of your food poisoning, and make a complaint if you want.
  • Report Your Food Poisoning – There are many ways to report a problem with food. You could report your incident to the FDA or your local health department.
  • Contact a Food Poisoning Lawyer – You might have been hospitalized due to your food poisoning incident, resulting in medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Contact an attorney to recover from your losses.

Who’s Liable for Food Poisoning on an Airplane?

There could be multiple parties at fault for your food poisoning incident, given the steps that airline food goes through before it’s served to passengers. Your lawyer will investigate your case to determine the source of your food’s contamination. You might find that the airline’s caterer mishandled the food during the manufacturing or transportation process.

However, food was likely contaminated once it arrived at the airport. The flight crew might have improperly stored foods at the wrong temperatures, or the plane wasn’t sanitized adequately from the previous flight. In either case, your foodborne illness attorney will gather the evidence needed to prove negligence.

Were You Sick on a Plane? Call OFT Today

Whether you’re flying 30,000 feet in the air or enjoying dinner at a local restaurant, your food always has the potential to be contaminated with germs that cause foodborne illness. If you get sick from contaminated food, OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers are here to help you recover.

We’ll conduct our own investigation and determine all parties at fault. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation at 888-828-7087.

Notable Recoveries

$10 million

Seven infants were sickened after consuming a contaminated food product marketed to infants

$6.5 million

Verdict on behalf of a little boy who contracted a severe Salmonella infection from chicken

$7.55 million

Verdict on behalf of a little girl who contracted E. coli at a petting zoo

$2.25 million

E. coli infections contracted from a major fast food chain

$45 million

An over-the-counter medication caused severe kidney damage to multiple users

$3.4 million

A pregnant woman contracted a Listeria infection from contaminated fruit and passed the infection to her child

$3 million

Multistate Cyclospora outbreaks


A couple contracted Salmonella from a restaurant


A pedestrian was struck by a left-turning car, fracturing her tibia


A semi-truck rear-ended a motorcyclist causing a collapsed lung, rib fractures and road rash