There are few things more bleak than an in-flight meal in economy.

Maybe because it's a metaphor for the shortcuts of the modern world, or a status marker in (quasi-)edible form, but there's something inherently depressing about most airplane food. From the sad, microwave-safe packaging to the unidentified meat and limp, overcooked vegetables that lie within, in-flight meals are usually a real bummer. (Not all, however: as per our annual World's Best survey, the food on certain airlines, such as Emirates and All Nippon Airways, is restaurant-quality.)

But, as these plane food shots illustrate, the majority of travelers (like the person who ordered a vegetarian meal and received a ham sandwich and a rotten apple, or the passenger who woke up to a scant breakfast featuring a muffin top and little else) would have been a lot happier if they had brown-bagged it instead.