Pilots and co-pilots have a strict set of rules they must adhere to for the safety of themselves and all their passengers. One in particular is that they are not allowed to eat the same meal during flights. This is to ensure that one of them will be able to take over the aircraft if the other falls ill due to an unknown allergy, food poisoning, etc.
While this is not something that’s mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration, most airlines enforce this rule, though it may vary slightly, for all of their pilots. There’s a perk to being the pilot though. Typically, the pilot is given a first class meal, while the co-pilot receives one from business class.
Thankfully, there haven’t been many cases of on-board food poisoning recorded, most likely due to the enforcement of this rule. However, in 1982, a batch of bad tapioca pudding left seven crew members, the pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer grievously ill while on a flight from Boston to Lisbon. Fortunately, they were able to turn around and land safely in Boston.