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Reserving Vegetarian/vegan meal for flight?

GraceW Jul 6, 2014 10:38 PM

Has anyone reserved a veg. meal for a flight? Was it edible? Or did you regret making the reservation? --Was/is it always pasta?

I ask because I am flying on an international flight that includes meals. I want to know if people have had a 'good' (at least edible, I don't expect greatness) meal for the vegetarian/vegan options.. or if I should just plan to bring my own dinner. I also don't like any pasta dishes.. so that is why I figured I would ask if it typically is pasta.

Thanks for any suggestions!

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  1. h
    helenhelen RE: GraceW Jul 6, 2014 10:41 PM

    it depends on the airline. i rarely have gotten pasta, i think.

    1. enbell RE: GraceW Jul 6, 2014 11:23 PM

      This might help

      1 Reply
      1. re: enbell
        GraceW RE: enbell Jul 6, 2014 11:49 PM

        Thanks--yes! I looked through those.. they are entertaining, aren't they? They endorsed my decision to ask the question because they seem to--at times--be questionable.

      2. g
        gourmanda RE: GraceW Jul 7, 2014 05:13 AM

        No standard answer. Depending on airline, city pairs, time of day, length of flight you may not be able to order a special meal. If you need to eat and have dietary restrictions, always bring your own.

        1. p
          PickledTinker RE: GraceW Jul 7, 2014 10:25 AM

          I just returned from Italy via American Airlines. My four meals consisted of a mild lentil curry with vegetables; couscous with eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes; and two variations of a tex-men veg, rice and beans, one moderately spiced, one mild. All were served with fresh cut fruit and bread. Main meal included salad and cookies. They were actually quite edible, not dry and flavorless. You also get served first!

          1. s
            Sherri RE: GraceW Jul 7, 2014 10:55 AM

            GraceW, as others have said, it depends on the airline, length of flight, destination and class of service. I have had good/very good and inedible so I can't be of much help. Back in the olden days (!) ordering a 'special meal' was almost guaranteed to be a better choice than whatever else was being served. For that reason, I have ordered the whole gamut - from halal to kosher to vegetarian and others which escape my memory. Nothing sticks out as 'fabulous' in the special meal category. Best food I've ever had was First Class British Air, NY - London. I didn't want to get off the plane, but that is another post.

            Edit: I don't recall the vegetarian meals as being pasta-heavy. You might think about bringing some foods that you enjoy just to hedge your bets.

            1. Science Chick RE: GraceW Jul 7, 2014 01:51 PM

              British Airways has an Indian vegan meal ("Asian Vegetarian" choice) that is pretty decent, as far as airline food goes. Usually a nicely spiced dal-like dish with rice. Chutneys, mango pickle, a roll and some pudding thingy. Sometimes a little salad too. It's actually not bad.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Science Chick
                janetofreno RE: Science Chick Jul 12, 2014 04:16 PM

                um, not necessarily. The Indian "Asian Vegetarian" meal I ordered on British Airways looked awful. I say "looked" because the one time I ordered it (on a flight from London to Mumbhai, via Dubai), the airline loaded enough beef meals for everyone on the plane (most folks did not pre-order meals) and two "Asian Vegetarian" meals for my husband and I (at the time DH had not yet gone vegetarian, but our experience was that the pre-ordered meals were better.) Well, the flight from Dubai to Mumbhai was full of Indian nationals returning from working the oil fields (It was right before New Year's, so I assume they had holidays). Anyway, none of them wanted the beef, naturally. So DH and I traded our Veggie meals with folks near us for the beef meals. The beef meals looked a lot better, btw. Shame on British Airways for having no option other than beef on a plane they should have known would be full of Hindus.

                DH finally tried the "Asian Vegetarian" meal on a flight to Mumbhai several years ago (I stayed at home). He reported back that it tasted no better than it looked....

                1. re: janetofreno
                  janetofreno RE: janetofreno Jul 12, 2014 04:22 PM

                  All that being said, the regular vegetarian meals on Delta on recent flights to/from Tokyo were pretty good, and better than the regular meal imo. One out of the four contained pasta, but two of the four were breakfasts.

                  1. re: janetofreno
                    butterchicken2nan RE: janetofreno Jul 12, 2014 04:38 PM

                    British Airways flies from Dubai to Mumbai? I never knew that.

                    1. re: butterchicken2nan
                      janetofreno RE: butterchicken2nan Jul 13, 2014 11:19 PM

                      Well, it was quite a few years ago, so the schedule could have changed. So could have the food, but DH says no....Same ole, same ole...

                    2. re: janetofreno
                      Science Chick RE: janetofreno Jul 12, 2014 04:58 PM

                      I've had them several times from Boston to London and they were fine. I'm not saying this was gourmet dining, just a heck of a lot better than the feeble vegetarian meal my DH got (with limp pasta).

                      We are flying Austrian Airlines in September and ordered them again. Will report back!

                  2. Ttrockwood RE: GraceW Jul 7, 2014 07:35 PM

                    Just assume its going to suck and bring your own meal. Something like a just add hot water meal cup thingy is perfect- so if you're pleasantly surprised it will keep.

                    Absolutly bring your own meal if you are vegan.
                    I've had some good meals flying back to the US from abroad but not the other way around. For overnight flights I usually eat before boarding, ask them to leave me alone and have an ambien snack :)

                    1. j
                      jennymoon RE: GraceW Jul 8, 2014 03:02 PM

                      I've had a lot of pasta meals on domestic carriers headed to Europe. Cheesy, overcooked pasta bake things. Bring your own snacks so you won't go hungry if the meal is inedible. If there is an Indian/Asian veg. choice, that is likely to be pretty good, as Science Chick said. And international carriers tend to be better.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jennymoon
                        Caitlin McGrath RE: jennymoon Jul 8, 2014 05:37 PM

                        I think it really depends on the international carrier (and the primary clientele they serve). This wasn't that recent, but 10 years ago on Air France flights between NYC and Paris and return the veg main plates consisted of plain rice, potatoes, and overcooked vegetables. That's it. I'd hope they've improved, but wouldn't bank on it. So, I definitely agree with bring your own snacks.

                      2. a
                        AdinaA RE: GraceW Jul 8, 2014 06:41 PM

                        Don't overthink this. As a ff who has ordered special meals for years, I can tell you that 1) they vary 2) find one you like and they'll change it. 3) the odds that they will actually have the meal you reserved are not all that high.

                        Maybe you'll get your special meal 6 or 7 flights out of 10. Remember that if you have to change connections mid-trip, your special won't be on the rebooking. Or it doesn't get loaded, or coded correctly or.. there are so many ways this happens. I have even had stewards deliver my meal to the wrong aisle/row/seat.

                        The step that is really crucial to your happiness on long flights is to always take food in your carry on.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: AdinaA
                          jennymoon RE: AdinaA Jul 8, 2014 08:57 PM

                          Oh, yes. Totally true. I've had flights where they ran out of veg meals before they got to me, even when I reserved one, or just don't have them at all. Don't depend on the in-flight meal. That way if it happens to exist and be good, it's a pleasant surprise!

                        2. r
                          Rory RE: GraceW Jul 12, 2014 03:49 PM

                          Wow, if you go int'l ask for the options and see if you can get "Indian Vegetarian" that's been great, really delicious. Asking for generic 'vegan' or just 'vegetarian' usually gets you pasta and a cookie and a cold salad...bad..bad..bad..I bring my own food when I fly and there is no Indian veg option.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Rory
                            butterchicken2nan RE: Rory Jul 12, 2014 03:53 PM

                            The airline description is Asian Vegetarian (AVML) - and it is usually awesome - almost always Indian - not necessarily vegan though, it often contains paneer or cream sauce.

                            Talking from experience on BA and Virgin - so you would expect the Indian food to be of high quality.

                          2. sunshine842 RE: GraceW Jul 12, 2014 04:44 PM

                            after receiving hideous kids' meals, I just quit messing with it (every airline we flew handed out soggy chicken nuggets and runny mashed potatoes or limp fries. Ugh.)

                            I just resign myself that the onboard meal isn't going to be all that great and look forward to my meals in Europe.

                            On the way home, I'm usually too tired to care.

                            1. GraceW RE: GraceW Jul 13, 2014 09:44 AM

                              I appreciate the info about the Indian Veg meals. For some reason the smell of Indian spices makes me nauseated.. so I went for the Asian Veg. I will report back how it tastes.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: GraceW
                                susancinsf RE: GraceW Jul 13, 2014 11:27 AM

                                As I read the descriptions above, 'Asian Veg' IS Indian vegetarian, they are not different items. Sounds like you should bring snacks.

                                1. re: susancinsf
                                  Science Chick RE: susancinsf Jul 13, 2014 11:43 AM

                                  Yes, Asian Veg is their code for Indian......

                                  1. re: Science Chick
                                    GraceW RE: Science Chick Jul 13, 2014 01:38 PM

                                    They were two different options for my carrier--regardless, I will definitely bring high-protein snacks.

                                    1. re: GraceW
                                      Rory RE: GraceW Jul 14, 2014 11:40 PM

                                      Virgin and Lufthansa (which I flew) had fab Indian food. GraceW, make some cashew butter & jelly sandwiches, or buy hummus & baba ghanoush, ripe bananas, tofu/tempeh egg sald (you can see I've practice) and cookies, almond milk. You'll be happy you did.

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