British Airways pairs music and menus to make airplane food taste better with Lily Allen, Paolo Nutini and Coldplay playlist

Lynsey Barber
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British Airways creates soundtrack to improve food (Source: BA)

Foodies and music fans will enjoy British Airways' latest efforts to make the experience of flying a little less painful.

After its seven-hour train film to settle sleepless passengers, as well as its “happiness blanket”, comes the “Sound Bite”.

That’s the pairing of music with food menus in a way that is designed to improve the taste of your dinner at 35,000 feet.

Researchers at Oxford University have drawn upon a phenomenon known as “sonic seasoning” where listening to certain sounds changes the way you experience the food you’re eating or wine you’re drinking.

According to BA chef Mark Tazzioli, being at such a high altitude reduces passengers' abilities to taste by 30 per cent. So in addition to using umami-rich ingredients in its meals, the airline is now offering travellers a soundtrack to complement them.

Coffee goes particularly well with Pl├ícido Domingo’s Nessun Dorma from Turandot, as the Tenor's lower tones are suited to the bitterness of the coffee, for example.

The question is, do you choose the song that suits the food you're eating, or the food that matches your favourite song?

The playlist is available on BA’s long-haul flights from November, but if you don't have a journey planned and want to test it out on the ground, here they are in the form of a Spotify playlist, with the menu to pair them with.


Scottish salmon
Paolo Nutini- Scream (funk my life up)

Scottish musicians can enhance the provenance of Scottish foods

Savoury starter
Anthony and the Johnsons- Crazy in love


Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington - Azalea

Low tones complement savoury starters


Full English
Johnny Marr, New town velocity

British music should be paired with British food


British classic
Lily Allen, Somewhere only we know

Piano notes can enhance the sensation of sweet and bitter tastes.


Coldplay- A sky full of stars

British music should be paired with British food

Roast dinner
Debussy- Claire De Lune

Classical music is suitable for meals such as Sunday lunch. The piano notes enhance the sensation of sweet and bitter flavours


James Blunt- You’re beautiful


Madonna- Ray of light

High tones boost sweet flavours

After dinner chocolate
Otis Redding- Sitting on the dock of the bay

Low tones can bring out the bitterness in chocolate


Red wine
The Pretenders- Back on the chain gang

Rock music can enhance the depth of flavour, making red wine appear more “heavy”

White wine
Hope/BBC Symphony Orchestra/Shostakovich- Romance from the Gadfly oOp.97

Classical music can enhance the overall experience and perceptions of quality when paired with wine.

Placido Domingo- Nessun Dorma from Turandot

Tenors low tones are suited to the bitterness of coffee.

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