Nope, this is not a reference to the infamous Samuel L. Jackson action thriller, Snakes on a Plane. This is a legit life hack that will change the way you think about portable fruit (yes, it’s a category).

I became obsessed with grapefruits, specifically the ruby red variety, about six years ago. Not because of some fad diet or their close proximity to millennial pink (ok fine, maybe), but because they are a truly superior fruit in every way - delicious, nutritious, great-sized, multi-functional - breakfast fruit, show-stopping salad fruit, delicious cocktail garnish fruit, shareable and ok hear me out on this - the best travel companion you’ll find.

Not a predictable portable fruit such as a snoozy apple or a monotonous banana, grapefruit is a supremely better choice whether it’s accompanying you on a picnic, to your desk at work (sorry @thecrumedia) or in its most fitting setting - a flight.

I started taking grapefruits on planes a few years ago during a period of lots of back-to-back travel. I’ve long feared airplane food and concocted weird salads, bags of nuts/seeds, crackers and overpriced muesli bar type things to keep me satiated on short and long-haul flights. One day, in a moment of genuine “what am I going to eat on this flight” panic I threw a grapefruit in my carry-on, not knowing I was about to change the travel snack game.

Since then, a grapefruit has accompanied me on 90% of flights I’ve taken (once I even took two. Wild, I know). I’ve bought grapefruits in markets in Paris, Wholefoods in NY and even picked one fresh once from a friend’s tree in LA to take with me on board. No matter the city of origin it’s become clear that a grapefruit is everything you want on a flight - a juicy refreshment, thirst quenching (highest water content of any fruit, people!) a fun, lengthy and much-needed distraction and cruicially, a cause of envy to your fellow passengers.

The routine goes something like this:

  1. Cast your fears aside and chuck whole grapefruit in your bag. No need to wrap, its protective peel keeps it cosy and safe for days at a time.
  2. Take it out at your most desperate hour of flight, sparking intrigue from those around you.
  3. Peel off the skin (don’t be a baby - just use your nail to get started), stacking each piece of peel in a neat little pile as you go. No matter the altitude, there is no excuse to abandon manners here.
  4. Once you have peeled the grapefruit, break it in half.
  5. Peel the pith away from each segment and pull the insides of the fruit out with your teeth to enjoy.
  6. Continue making your way around, peeling and eating each segment as you go (this should take up approx. 8-15 minutes).
  7. Discard scraps of skin and pith (you’ll have accumulated quite a pile by the time you’re done) and wash hands of delicious juice.
  8. Stare smugly ahead while your seat buddies stare at you in amazement. Avoid eye contact at all costs, because the only thing worse than plane food is a chatty neighbour.

A final word of warning to fellow citrus lovers. Remember to enjoy your grapefruit before you get to your final destination. I have narrowly avoided a few cameos on Border Security when I’ve forgotten to eat one on board.

Emily Levins is an account director at The Cru Media, a Sydney-based PR and marketing agency we collaborate with regularly to help restaurants, food brands and hotels stand out. Get in touch to see how we can help.

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