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Vagabond Journey

Free Food in Airports

Sitting in the food court at Logan airport, I noticed a man stand up, buckle his kid into a stroller, and walk away. Behind him was a big, fresh, seemingly untouched salad still sitting on the table he just vacated. A fork stood standing straight up from the center of a cucumber as a monument [...]

Sitting in the food court at Logan airport, I noticed a man stand up, buckle his kid into a stroller, and walk away. Behind him was a big, fresh, seemingly untouched salad still sitting on the table he just vacated. A fork stood standing straight up from the center of a cucumber as a monument to the extravagance of the overpaid.

Who does such things?

People in airports do.

Free Salad at Logan airport -- completely untouched

A vagabond can easily get a good snack by going into hawk eye mode, sitting perched in a good vantage point watching what all the fliers are bringing to their seat with them, what they do with it when there, and, most pertinently, what they leave behind. Often — perhaps because they get call for boarding their flight, the airport food did not taste good enough, indigestion, nerves over flying, or simply because they are wealthy enough to waste food — customers at airport food courts will leave good food behind, often untouched.

These people seem to have no qualms over leaving food that they pay for unconsumed. But, perhaps by force of culture, perhaps the force of guilt, rather than putting their perfectly good food into the trash, they leave it out on the tables or sit it right on top of the trash receptacles where the trays are meant to go. “Hey, I didn’t waste any food,” I can imagine the justification going. Or perhaps they just can’t be bothered to throw it out.

As I saw the salad left unattended on the table I dived in for the kill. I grabbed it, smiled, and then noticed that the receipt was also left behind. I picked that up too. Did this salad come as an unwanted part of an otherwise wanted meal, or did this guy pay for this side dish and then discard it for some unspecified reason? It was the later. $3.99 was paid for the salad that I chomped down for free.

Keep vigilance in the food courts of airports, as free meals occasionally abound.

Filed under: Air Travel, Airports, Budget Travel, Food, Travel Tips

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 88 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3411 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Rochester, New York

7 comments… add one

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  • Brandon June 19, 2011, 4:59 am

    Love it. I can only imagine the faces of all the other people in the airport watching you eat it right after the guy left… “Did he just…. no he didn’t…”

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    • Wade Shepard June 19, 2011, 10:38 am

      Yeah, those people love me haha.

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  • Bob L June 21, 2011, 8:43 pm

    Have you ever been in a pizza restaurant (or any restaurant) and when the dinners at the table next to you said they did not want their food wrapped up, did you then ask if YOU could have it wrapped up? I have done this a few times when I was younger. Families traveling often do not want to keep their food, and often, almost none of it is eaten. I think the parties involved are often so shocked that they don’t know what to say so they say SURE. Gotta give them something to talk about later I suppose.

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    • Wade Shepard June 22, 2011, 5:12 am

      I think, at some level, people respect the idea of not wasting food in American culture but have the convention of wasting it without thought. I have also asked for people’s leftovers in restaurants, or just walked over and took them haha, and their reaction seems to be a mix of charity and “Yikes, lets get away from that scumbag.” Sort of like dropping some coins into the hand of a beggar and being quick not to touch his dirty hands haha.

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  • Rory June 24, 2011, 9:00 pm

    Beats roadkill!

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    • Wade Shepard June 25, 2011, 3:59 pm

      Yeah, man, I don’t even need to cook it!

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  • emma May 7, 2013, 3:17 pm

    so this is what happened to all of my missing beers at maggies bar then?? filthy sod!!!

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