Airline meals are an infamous topic to chat about. Most of them can be quite disappointing, something that becomes even truer when it comes to plant-based, vegan meals. That’s the unfortunate reality that we live these days.
Vegans who travel often, even in long-distance flights, know well how bad it can get with airline meals. But there is a silver lining: Times are changing and veganism is becoming more and more common all around the world. This reality is affecting airlines as well, leading them to invest more in satisfying services for vegan users.
So, what are our options today in term of vegan meals on board? Are vegan business people who often fly short-haul doomed to eat whatever the airline chooses? Let’s review our options.
Types of Vegan Meals We Can Find
In order to do your homework before picking an airline for your trip, you should be familiar with the most popular types of vegan meals that could be served during your flight.
There are multiple types but we’ll stick with the main three for now: VGML, AVML, and VLML.
- VGML, which stands for Vegetarian (Vegan Meal), refers to strict vegan food and doesn’t include ingredients like meat, eggs, and dairy.
- AVML, which stands for Asian Vegan Meal, refers to strict vegan food that is prepared in Asian style. The same as VGML, this one doesn’t include ingredients like meat, eggs, and dairy.
- VLML, which stands for Vegetarian Lacto-Ovo Meal, refers to non-strict vegan food that is prepared in a Western style and probably includes eggs and dairy products.
Alongside with these three main options, airlines around the world also offer varied vegan meals categorized as VJML (Vegetarian Jain Meal), RVML (Raw Vegetable Meal), and FPML (Fruit Platter).
Knowing these terms is highly useful when researching which one is the most valid option for your next trip and will put you in situation when talking with your travel agent.
Some Airlines to Consider
Here is the list of some of the airlines that offer vegan meals in their long-haul flights, according to online resources that focus on the vegan lifestyle and how to fly according to its preferences:
- Air Canada
- Air France
- Air India
- Air New Zealand
- American Airlines
- Asiana Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific Airways
- China Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- Emirates Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Philippine Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- United Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Resolving On Your Own
Seasoned vegan travelers know well that fully relying on the airline to eat a proper meal can be a risky business. That’s why these vegans often take the challenge into their own hands and decide to take the solution along with them. Of course, you will need the meal in case of long-haul flights, being several hours on board.
Some of your best options are protein bars, nuts, dried fruits, oatmeal in cups, plant-based dry soups and salads, and specially-packaged pre-cooked quinoa. You can get these snacks with you on board without too much hassle and they can be perfectly complementary in case you have a positive experience with the meal served on the plane. On the contrary, you can always survive by eating these and waiting for the arrival on the destination.
The Bottom Line
Yes, today we vegans have options when flying. However, this aspect of traveling continues to be troublesome for people in this lifestyle. Short-haul flights are going to let you down in most occasions, even when choosing the very best airlines.
As an aware vegan traveler, you have two resources. First, you must get informed and talk clearly with your travel agent. If you are booking on your own, get in contact with the airline’s customer service and ask all the necessary questions. The other resource you have is to prevent a hunger strike on board by taking some vegan-friendly snacks like the one mentioned above.
With the fast-paced growth of the vegan community all around the world and the economic expansion of Asian countries (many of them with plant-based diets), airlines are basically forced to make the shift towards more appropriate meals on board, first for long-haul flights and later with domestic and short-haul.
The market is so dynamic and competitive these days that airlines have no options but to please customers. This includes complying with vegan travelers by understanding their preferences and providing appropriate meals. Being halfway there is not enough.Do the homework and be ready to enjoy your next trip, even if it’s for business.