As the writer in Learning to Eat notes, giving kids a special treat on the plane can really help pass the time. I remember flying solo to my grandmothers house on AirCal every summer and savoring that one moment when I got to have a Coke (totally forbidden in my house AND my grandmother's house). Once my parents bought me a ticket on PSA, and they only gave unaccompanied minors a sort of diluted orange juice. This was unacceptable! I lobbied hard to stay on AirCal for future trips, although the reason was never quite clear to my folks.
Eating *at* the airport can also be an interesting experience. Check out yesterday's article from the New York Times about the food at JFK's Terminal 5. Yum! This sounds much better than my usual airport fare.