Vegetarian and Vegan meals on a plane
In-flight meals vary significantly between airlines. The availability of a specific meal will depend on the route, length of the journey, class of travel, and dietary requirements. As vegetarianism and veganism continue to become more common, more airlines are now catering to this growing demand.
Suppose you are planning to have a vegetarian/vegan meal while onboard, the airline requires you to make your special meal request at least 24 hours before the scheduled flight time. This helps avoid confusion.
Vegan and vegetarian in-flight meal codes
The airline will also advise you of their definition of a 'vegetarian/vegan' meal. Here are unique codes that airlines use to define a vegetarian/vegan meal plus their ingredient inclusions and exclusions:
VGML Vegetarian Vegan Meal. This meal will be completely free from all animal products.
VLML Vegetarian Lacto Ovo Meal is a vegetarian meal with no meat or fish, but it may comprise of other animal products such as milk, eggs, and honey.
VOML Vegetarian Oriental Meal is a vegan meal prepared in an Oriental style.
AVML Asian Vegetarian Meal
VJML Vegetarian Jain Meal is a vegetarian meal prepared will be per the Jainism religious principles.
RVML Raw Vegetable Meal is a selection of raw fruits and vegetables.
FPML Fruit Platter is a plate of seasonal fresh fruit.
Best Airlines for Vegetarians and Vegans
A variety of vegetarian and vegan meals is available on request but does vary from airline to airline.
British Airways offers loads of tasty vegetarian/vegan options, including VGML, VLML, AVML, and fresh fruit dessert. Any accompaniments? Yes, whichever option is accompanied by an alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink of your choice. The airline also lets you pre-order your vegan meals between 24 hours and 30 days before departure.
Air France offers vegetarian and vegan meals on certain flights within Europe and all intercontinental flights. The vegetarian options you will find on this airline include VGML, VLML, and AVML. If you request a vegetarian meal, it is applied to all meals served on your flight: breakfast, snack, lunch, or dinner. Plus, a beverage of your choice is included during lunch and dinner.
Delta Air Lines
According to the Delta Air Lines website, a unique vegan menu is available in all cabins on any flight on which meals are served. Free cookies and almonds are vegan options for travellers on any short flights. In contrast, long-haul flights offer a wide variety of for-purchase vegan food. The tapas snack box mostly comprises of vegan selections. The crave snack container has skittles, mints, and wheat thins.
Emirates has an excellent overall reputation when it comes to in-flight meals. It serves VGML, VLML, and AVML meal options in the first class, business, and economy class. As a vegan or vegetarian, you will be delighted with some of their innovative vegan cuisines. For example, you can have vegan lasagna with spinach and a forest fruit compote for dessert. Or even better, a small Middle East dish like baba ganoush, hummus, and falafel.
Qatar Airways is not only known for its exceptional customer service, but its incredible onboard dining experience. The in-flight meals will satisfy your palate and excite your senses. When it comes to vegan meals, they offer Vegetarian Oriental Meal (VOML), which may include a mixed vegetable salad and a Moroccan tagine with fruit cake for dessert. Another option may be eggplant, meatballs with spaghetti and broccoli on the side.
According to the Vegan Society's website, Etihad Airways is the airline with the best vegan food. The reason is that their on-board menu always has a choice of at least one vegetarian option. So, there is no need to request this. The vegan meal can comprise Indian sauce with saffron-scented rice and green beans with salad, and fruit. A sweet dessert with green tea is also offered at the end of the meal.
Once you know what each airline offers, there are still a few things to note. Airlines will have a disclaimer on their website that says special meals are available on most flights. The only way to be sure if a vegan meal is offered on your trip is to call customer service in advance. You should also know that food tastes different when you are 20,000 feet above the ground. The change of taste is due to decreasing humidity, cabin pressure, and high altitude. Airline catering companies consider this by supplying more flavorsome meals. But it is still a challenge to please everyone's taste buds, so you can help them improve by providing constructive feedback.
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