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Tips for Flying As A Vegan – How to Get the Food You Want

You have spent the last hour taking care of details for a long-awaited trip. You look at the clock and realize you are running late. You get everything ready – including yourself – and when you are about to leave you realize that you didn’t bring anything to eat so you rush to the kitchen and prepare yourself some hummus and some carrot sticks with hummus sandwich. You arrive at the airport in record time, check-in with the airline and while passing the security screening you are told that your hummus sandwich is not allowed on the airplane so they toss it. You comply (with sadness) and go straight to the gate. While on the airplane, time passes by until finally it is time for the meal. The only vegan items (from the whole meal) are chips and fruits. They do the trick but your tummy begins to growl constantly, becoming your soundtrack for the rest of the flight.

Does this story sounds familiar? Too often, flying for vegans can be both an exciting and unsatisfying. The way we nourish ourselves while traveling can make a big difference on the whole experience. Read along so you do not have to go through another incident like the one portrayed above.

Before booking your flight, research about the airline. Do you have to tell them about your meal preferences before booking the flight or after? For some airlines, you have to let them know when booking the ticket while for others you only need to notify them with some hours in advance.

In this list, you will find tips about how different airlines work with vegan meals. For example, JetBlue (not on the aforementioned list), have what they call their “Mint Menu” for their Business Class which changes seasonally and can include dishes like mushroom risotto, falafel veggie burger and french toast. Be careful with pre-made concoctions because they often contain animal products such as fish, meat or chicken broth or dairy. Sadly, errors are often made with special meals, which is why it is a good idea to have some backup food.

If they do make a mistake, take photos, ask flight attendants to put it in their report and then give some feedback once you get home. You will often get some free miles, or a voucher for another trip.

Think holistically and have in mind all the time you will be waiting between flights.

  • If you have a lot of layover time pack food or snacks for this time also because although you might be able to buy some food in the airports it is often expensive and you might not find a great selection of vegan options.
  • You want to think about food that will not perish if it isn’t refrigerated.
  • Also, you want food that will help you stay full for hours. Slow-release carbs, for example, nuts, dried fruits and cereals are good options.
  • While packing, be aware of which items will pass security and which ones won’t. Depending on where you are coming from regulations may vary. You can use these lists as reference:

Food Guidelines for Europe
https://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/air/security/info_travellers_en

TSA Food Guidelines
https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/all

With enough planning your future travels will be pleasant experiences and you certainly won’t go hungry on your trip to your dream holiday

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