It is a mystery to me what the secret is to getting special meals on flights…. despite all my travels over the years, my initial requests, confirmation direct with airlines a few days ahead of a flight, another confirmation at check in – I have found time and again, the meal just doesn’t turn up.  And it is especially challenging on long haul fights when travellers are reliant on provided food!

It also seems to make no difference who I have flown with, I have had the same problem with all airlines that I have used over the years.  Most recently being Emirates, who otherwise I would personally rate as one of the best airlines – if they can’t do it, can others?

Sometimes its my meal missing, or one of my party.  Sometimes it has been on ‘the system’ but not loaded onto the plane…. or most commonly, there is just no record of it.

Now, in case you’re wondering… I still don’t have a solution to this but I would love to hear it if you do!  Often the crew can be a little curt at first, suggesting that I should have pre-booked and then I have usually found when I produce my written confirmation of the meal request (screen shot or email), the crew are apologetic and will try their best to put together something I can eat.  And of course, they take the details for returning flights and add it to their magic system which usually is the most reliable request! However, it really doesn’t help on that current flight when dinner might be a bread roll, banana and a pack of crisps if you are lucky!

So I have over the years, learnt to go prepared.  For long haul flights, I will assume that I may not get meals as requested and try to pack granola bars, some fruit and nibbles to keep me going if my meal doesn’t arrive.

Occasionally though, the meal has arrived and I have been really quiet impressed on the imaginative and thoughtful meal, these are rare times indeed and I have often found this happens travelling from asian countries.  Otherwise the vegan offer will contain:

  • no plant milk or non-dairy creamer for hot drinks, which is a shame as this is so easy to add
  • non-vegan products, such as margarine made with milk or maybe chocolate
  • a salad for starter, fruit for dessert (yawn) and something for main which may or may not be tasty…. very hit and miss

One other key missing thing for me with the vegan meals, if they do arrive – is that I never really know what it is.  The crew don’t know and I am not given either a menu card like all other passengers, or a sticker on the meal itself to explain.

And a last complaint, particularly on very long haul flights, is that the meals are not nutritionally balanced at all.  They often lack protein, so really it will fill you up on the carb content. Which can be uncomfortable too on long flights for digestion.

So I wonder if this is a common experience or am I just terribly unlucky? Have you found the secret to getting vegan meals consistently? Do you know a vegan friendly airline who does really care? If so, please do share your experiences with me….



p.s. If you work for an airline please do get in touch, I can help you!