I was watching a documentary about a Lufthansa A380, and they said that the pilot and co-pilot are required to eat different meals; why is that?

Is it a country-specific requirement, or airline-specific?

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    $\begingroup$ Airplane! $\endgroup$
    – yankeekilo
    Jan 3, 2014 at 9:52
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    $\begingroup$ I read in a book by J.P Otelli that if they eat the same meal, they must wait at least half an hour between both meal. It is made to avoid both pilot to be poisoned by the same meal. I suppose if it is poisonned, 30 minutes is enough to see first signs of intoxication. But I don't know if it is specific to company, or regulation $\endgroup$
    – Manu H
    Sep 27, 2014 at 7:25

3 Answers 3


It is a company specific rule found in the Flight Operations Manual so is airline specific. There is usually a statement that goes along with it which also says to avoid foods with a higher than typical rate of food poisoning, such as raw fish before and during the Flight. In the US, the FOM is submitted to, and accepted by the FAA so the procedures become required.

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    $\begingroup$ "Whatddya mean I can't have fugu?!" $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Jan 3, 2014 at 15:26

Although I have no reliable sources to this, I believe that pilots have to eat different meals to avoid food poisoning and therefore becoming sick mid-flight.

As for drinks, it should not matter as long as they drink from a separate bottle / can.

EDIT: According to the article Are Pilots Protected From Contaminated Food?, it is not in FAA's policy for the pilots to eat different meals. However, the airlines can still choose to make some kind of rule.


Yes, pilots are required to eat different meals on a flight to avoid the risk of pilot incapacitation due to food poisoning. However the FAA and other aviation regulatory bodies haven't set a law to this effect, yet The rule of pilots having different meals in-flight is completely company-specific.

Here are certain incidents and near-misses of pilot food poisoning and you may check Captain Joe's small video on the topic here


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