August 12, 2022

Occasionally we’ll see reports of bugs or glass being found in an inflight meal, but this is horrible on a whole different level. It might just be enough to get me to never eat another meal on a plane (which would probably be a blessing in disguise, come and think of it).

SunExpress crew member finds snake head in meal

This incident involves a SunExpress flight from Ankara (ESB) to Düsseldorf (DUS) on Thursday, July 21, 2022. For context, SunExpress is a Turkish-German leisure airline that’s a joint venture between Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa.

On this particular flight, a crew member claims that they starting eating their crew meal, and then after a few bites discovered that there was a snake head in the meal. Video of this was then shared on social media.

It’s claimed that SunExpress crews have reported consistent issues with inflight meals, including that past meals have had beetles and snails in them.

The airline provided the following statement following the incident:

“It is our top priority that the services we provide to our guests on our aircraft are of the highest quality and that both our guests and employees have a comfortable and safe flight experience. The allegations and shares in the press regarding in-flight food service are absolutely unacceptable and a detailed investigation has been initiated on the subject. Until the research process in question is concluded, all preventive measures and actions, including stopping the supply of the relevant product, have been taken immediately.”

Airline catering company defends itself

Sancak Inflight Services is the catering company that SunExpress uses in Ankara. The catering company claims that dishes are cooked at 280 degrees Celsius (~536 degrees Fahrenheit), and that this couldn’t have come from the company’s kitchen. Here’s the statement:

“SunExpress Airlines is a valuable client in our country and a popular airline in Europe, which recently decided to further expand its fleet and route network. They again announced a tender for catering services on board. We did not use any of the foreign objects that were supposedly in the food when cooking (due to the technical and thermal conditions used in the in-flight catering facilities).”

The catering company claims that the snake head must have been added to the dish after the fact.

My take on this airplane meal snake head incident

I don’t know if I can emphasize enough how scared I am of snakes, so this is pretty much my worst nightmare (I mean, short of having a live snake pop out of my inflight meal, I suppose).

I’m not exactly sure what to make of this story. Was the snake head really in the dish when the catering company prepared it, or was it added later (either prior to being brought onto the plane, or by a crew member)? A few thoughts, in no particular order:

  • A snake head doesn’t seem like something you’d naturally just randomly find in a meal; it’s not like a worm or a cockroach
  • This almost seems like something that someone with a vendetta would place in a meal; that could be someone in the catering facility, someone responsible for bringing catering to the plane, or a crew member
  • You’d think that a crew member could get in trouble for sharing something so terrible about an airline on social media, rather than just privately reporting it to the airline, no?

I don’t know what to make of this, but now I have to get the imagine of a snake head in an inflight meal out of my mind…

Bottom line

A SunExpress crew member claims to have been served a meal with a snake head in it, which has to be the worst thing that has ever ended up in an inflight meal. The airline says it’s investigating this incident, while the catering company claims that there’s no way that this came from its kitchen, and that it had to be added later.

I’m curious to see how this plays out. I don’t want to think that a catering facility would serve something like this, but then again, I also don’t want to think that someone would add something like this after the fact.

What do you make of this incident?

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