Air Travel: How to get the veggies
Most airlines – such as American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, and Continental Airlines – offer a wide variety of special request meals for long distance flights included in the airfare price (see list below). These meals may range from Western Vegetarian which may contain eggs and/or dairy, though usually means vegan, Vegan, Asian Vegetarian, to a Fruit Plate meal (see list below). However, due to budget cutbacks, some air carriers have discontinued their special in-flight food service.
When planning to travel by plane, be sure to ask your travel agent or airline representative upon booking your flight ticket what your options are! Also note that you will likely need to request a special meal at least 72 hours before your flight, and then confirm that again when you check in at the airport.
Once aboard the airplane, a flight attendant will come to you to confirm your special request. If no one comes to you, do ask an attendant to check on it for you. If your request was not entered into the computer system and was forgotten, an attendant may offer you something else, but the selection will be limited.
It is recommended that you bring a small veggie snack when traveling by plane, just in case.
A summary of Airline Meal Descriptive terms*:
Vegetarian Meal (VGML) – Also known as Vegan, this meal is totally free of any animal products or by-products such as eggs or dairy products. It contains one or more of these ingredients: all types of vegetables and fresh fruit. It does NOT contain any type of meat, fish, or animal products or by-products.
Vegetarian Lacto-Ovo Meal (VLML) – This is a Vegetarian Meal that may also contain eggs and dairy products. It contains one or more of these ingredients: vegetables, fresh fruit, eggs, dairy products, and pulses. It does NOT contain any type of fish or meat.
Vegetarian Oriental Meal (VOML) – This is a Vegetarian Meal (VGML) [presumably therefore vegan] that is also prepared Chinese or Oriental-style.
Asian Vegetarian Meal (AVML) – This meal is available for vegetarian passengers. It is usually aromatic and spicy, and incorporates flavors from the Indian sub-continent. It contains one or more of these ingredients: all types of vegetables, fresh fruit and milk products. It does NOT contain any type of meat, fish or eggs.
Vegetarian Jain Meal (VJML) – This meal is for members of the Jain community who are pure vegetarians. It is prepared with a selection of Indian condiments. It contains one or more of these ingredients: fresh fruit and stem vegetables that grow above the ground. It does NOT contain: animal products and by-products, and any root vegetables such as onions, mushrooms, ginger, garlic, potatoes, carrots, beets, radishes, etc.
Raw Vegetable Meal (RVML) – This meal consists exclusively of raw vegetables and salads.
Fruit Platter (FPML) – This meal may be ordered for dietary reasons. It may also be ordered by members of certain communities who eat only fruit while fasting. It contains one or more of these ingredients: seasonal fresh fruit.
Hindu Meal (HNML) – This meal is available for members of the Hindu community who are not strictly vegetarian and eat meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. It may contain one or more of these ingredients: lamb, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, and dairy products. It does NOT contain beef.
*(these terms may be used differently by various airlines so please confirm for yourself when reserving a meal)