Airline food is rarely the height of fine dining.
But when you’re a vegan, the offerings can get really dire.
If you’re lucky enough to get any meal, you might find yourself presented with plain, limp salad leaves, miserable sandwiches, and things that definitely aren’t vegan.
To showcase the reality of vegan in-flight fails, The Vegan Society and Humane Society created FlyVe, a site allowing travellers to share their reviews of the vegan meals they’re given while flying.
They’re calling on airlines to improve their vegan offerings on flights, and to offer vegan meals as a default option rather than something customers have to request in advance.
Charlie Huson, Forward Food Campaign Manager at Humane Society International/UK, said: ‘There are compelling animal welfare, environmental and human health benefits from eating plant-based foods, so it’s something that everyone – not just vegans – should be enabled to do.
‘Unfortunately, many airlines are still offering the choice of ‘chicken or beef’, and in doing so failing to serve their fast-growing number of vegan customers and missing the opportunity to make animal and planet-friendly vegan options a choice accessible to everyone.’
Have a look at some of the poorly reviewed vegan in-flight meals below to get a proper picture of the situation.
Jane, Delta Airlines
‘Main meal was plain rice, peppers and onions with a side salad… disappointing. Got served BUTTER twice.
‘Had a poor vegan snack of a cucumber and tomato sandwich, no spread or anything.
‘Breakfast was a banana, bagel, jam and juice, no vegan margarine and no soya milk or milk alternative which was especially disappointing especially with the fact Starbucks are partnered with Delta.’
Karly, Norwegian Air UK
‘Disappointed by my “vegan” breakfast that wasn’t actually vegan (honey oat bar).
‘Also, would love Norwegian to realise vegans can eat more than just fruit! There are plenty of vegan options these days and I was disappointed by their reliance on fruit to cater for vegan meals.’
‘The vegan food was absolutely tasteless and I do not know how it held together because it had no texture at all.
‘So on my way back I decided to have a fruit meal instead and this was even worse! It consisted of two unripe plums, bun, butter and bottle of water!
‘Since when are bun and butter considered to be fruits? And this was supposed to cover half of the 10-hours flight…’
Andy, Turkish Airlines
‘We informed the airline in advance that we were vegan and were told there would be a vegan option. It was a 10 hour flight with a short change over in Istanbul.
‘There was no vegan option on either leg, nor any time to buy food during the change over as we ran from one side of the airport to the other and just about made our flight.
‘On the first leg (Manchester to Istanbul) we received one apple and one banana to share between the two of us.
‘On the second leg we received the same again, and asked for a bread roll too. We were given a bread roll to share and told we were “very lucky”. I would hate to hear how “unlucky” passengers are fed…’
Claire, British Airways
‘Flew economy from London Gatwick to New York JFK 9th – 13th May 2019. We booked vegan meals at the time of booking but on the flight to be told they weren’t there (in fact they said we weren’t even on the passenger list, despite the fact that we obviously had boarding cards – not terribly confidence inspiring).
‘Attached is a picture of what they came up with, for our evening meal – banana, apple, orange and a packet of crisps.’
Essie, Air Canada
‘Flew from Barcelona-Montreal on Air Canada rouge, the vegan option was sad. Unappealing and unappetising.
‘Plain rice, steamed carrots, string beans and some grilled tomatoes. White (stale) bread roll with margarine. Dessert was fruit slices if I remember correctly.
‘Bring your own food. On the plus side at least it didn’t cost anything, but they did charge for all alcohol.’
Ruby, Aer Lingus
‘The meal was a gruel-like yellow rice mush (maybe supposed to be risotto?) mixed with sweetcorn, tomato and some chewy bits of asparagus. The salad was provided with dressing which was nice and the fruit seemed fresh but the bread roll was hard on the inside and stale.
‘I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to do better than this!
‘Later when we were given breakfast I was only offered a non-vegan muffin with no explanation as to why a vegan option wasn’t provided.’
Harriet, Aer Lingus
‘The main lunch provided on my flight was barely edible – undercooked (15 pieces of) pasta, with a smattering of tomato sauce and a couple of limp vegetables.
‘Later when the other passengers got an afternoon tea snack, I was offered the same dry onion-y salad and under-ripe fruit bowl that I had been given alongside my lunch previously.’
FlyVe has been launched as part of The Vegan Society’s Vegan on the Go campaign, which aims to highlight the demand for good vegan catering and to show the many benefits of including plant-based options on standard menus.
If you’re a veggie traveller, you can review your meal on the site.
Airlines who want help providing vegan options can email The Vegan Society at [email protected]
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