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Airline Food For Sale: No Plane Tickets Needed

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

If you miss international travel, why not recreate the experience in the comfort of your own home with some airplane food? In Israel, the airline food company Tamam Kitchen is offering its meals to the public as low-cost delivery options during the pandemic. Here's NPR's Daniel Estrin in Jerusalem.

DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: Israel's leading airline food company thought Israelis would be back in the skies by now. But flights are still grounded, and the company furloughed most of its workers. Then they came up with an idea - airplane food for sale, no plane ticket required. They piloted the idea on Facebook.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ESTRIN: In their ad, little rectangular trays float over a cloudy blue sky - available for as little as $3 a tray. Nimrod Demajo is VP of operations.

NIMROD DEMAJO: It's amazing. It's a simple food, not, you know, so fancy. But people likes it. Just you stick it in the microwave, warm it up for five minutes, and then you have a meal.

ESTRIN: He says they're getting around 100 orders a day. Customers include a Google employee working from home who bought kids meals for her children, an elder care facility that closed its dining room for social distancing. A major company bought meals for its employees to spice up an online video conference and many senior citizens who isolated at home for months and are looking for cheap and easy meals, like London native Angie Elfassi.

ANGIE ELFASSI: Costs 18 shekels a tray. I mean, come on. I bought today chicken quarters with potatoes, peas and carrots in one tray. Now, that's a good lunch.

ESTRIN: I asked the company rep, Demajo, what's popular.

DEMAJO: Well, it's surprising, but the most popular meals are the economy meals - chicken or beef.

ESTRIN: He used to be a flight attendant. I ordered a meal myself. They don't deliver as far as Jerusalem, where I am, so I picked it up.

Wow. I have to actually go through airport security to get to this factory - the outer checkpoint that you drive through.

Shalom.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Speaking Hebrew).

ESTRIN: (Speaking Hebrew).

Back home, popped the tray in the microwave.

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ESTRIN: It's all wrapped in that plastic with the insignia of Israel's national airline, El Al. And I've chosen the seat on the couch next to the smallest window in the apartment. I got little beef cutlets and rice with some black beans on top. OK. Well, this food does remind me of being on an airplane (laughter).

Closing my eyes, this is Daniel Estrin, NPR News, Jerusalem - but in my mind, on my way to Paris.

(SOUNDBITE OF PSALM TREES'S "CALL WHENEVER") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.