Gone are the days when you had to remember to stockpile vegan snacks in your carry-on for every trip. Now more airlines are heeding the call to offer plant-based options, including in seatback menus and for full meals served on longer flights. If it’s the latter, you can request a vegan meal by calling the airline before your trip or registering your food preferences in your frequent flyer info online. The bonus: Many airlines will serve these “special meals” first, which could be key if you’re hoping to log some Zzz’s on an overnight flight. We’re sharing examples of six airline meals you might find while flying (note that these meals are subject to change). While you should still pack a few snacks for emergencies, remember that if you’re on a flight that still serves Lotus Biscoff cookies, they’re accidentally vegan, too.
The meal: Misir wat
You don’t have to be in first or business class to get the vegan treatment on Emirates Airlines. Even those in economy can choose a vegan meal, but you do need to book the meal at least 24 hours before your flight. While the misir wat (an Ethiopian style spicy red lentil stew with sautéed spinach and spiced potatoes and carrots) is one of the meals, exact meals vary by flight, season, and destination. If it’s not this one, you might see others like Tofu Jalfrezi, shiitake ravioli, or ancho three-bean chili.
The meal: Stuffed delicata squash
Singapore Airlines always has a vegan meal available, but you’ll need to pre-order when you book your flight. Last year, the airline partnered with Canyon Ranch to provide vegan meals like stuffed delicata squash, but it plans to announce a new wellness partner in the upcoming months.
The meal: Grilled cauliflower with chili
About 23 percent of American Airlines’ customers choose to pre-order a vegan meal, according to information obtained in 2020. Grilled cauliflower with chili is just one example, but you might also find grilled vegetables served with a grilled eggplant caponata appetizer. A vegan salad, multigrain roll, and chocolate brownie may accompany the entrée, too.
Swiss International Air Lines
The meal: Vegetable green curry with basmati rice
When an airline partners with Hiltl, the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant, you know you’re in good hands. While there is a vegetarian hot meal on long flights, you can also preorder an à la carte option from Hiltl while booking your flight. The meal, which doesn’t list any animal products in the ingredient list, includes a mesclun salad with Hiltl salad dressing, vegetable green curry with basmati rice, and mango mousse with fresh mango compote.
Delta Air Lines
The meal: Lentil and artichoke ragout
Vegan meals, such as a lentil and artichoke ragout, rotate on Delta Air Lines as part of its special meal program. Note that on its website, the airline lists “vegetarian (vegan) meal” as one of three vegetarian meal options, which is what you should specify when ordering. The description confirms that it doesn’t contain meat, seafood, eggs, or dairy.
The meal: Varies
A vegan meal option is part of Qantas’ in-flight special menus, which varies by location and season. But expect to see any combination of rice, fruit, vegetables, grain, soy, pulses, tree nuts, or nut products. The good news is that the company is also currently reviewing its Special Meals Program to better meet the needs of its vegan customers.
Karen Asp is the author of Anti-Aging Hacks and award-winning journalist, as well as a fitness pro certified in plant-based nutrition, world record-holding athlete (in Nordic walking), vegan mentor with PETA, fur mom, and volunteer at an animal shelter and farmed animal sanctuary.
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