Vegan meal in-flight fails –  British Airways & Lufthansa among travellers’ stories of sad sandwiches, forgotten meals, and being served animal products as campaigners call on  airlines to better cater for vegans….

Reviews left on ratings website FlyVe show need for improved inflight vegan meals…

Airlines are being urged to offer a vegan in-flight meal as standard to better cater for their thousands of plant-based and flexitarian passengers. Reviews on vegan inflight meal ratings website FlyVe, launched by The Vegan Society and Humane Society International/UK, have shown many missed meals, sad sandwiches and vegans being served animal products.

See a selection of reviews left on FlyVe from travellers below:

Jane, Delta Airlines 

Review: 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 (pictured below) 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.

Andy, Turkish Airlines

Review: 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…

Anonymous, TAP Portugal

Review: I had booked in advance flying from Portugal to Brazil. When on the plane I got handed a meal with cheese. When I said I had ordered the vegan meal the flight attendant waved me away as she was walking and said “you don’t like it, you can complain.” Really bad experience. When coming home me and my partner triple checked this would not happen again – it’s about an 8 hour flight. We checked by mail and phone before boarding to come home, and our name was even called to a desk at the airport in Brazil to check if it was the vegan meal we wanted and we said yes and they were very accommodating – until, we were on the plane. I again got handed a non-vegan meal, and I then said to the flight attendant (a different one, who was nicer) that we had triple checked that there was a vegan option available and there is. So he checked, and came back to inform me there were no vegan meals on the plane or even ordered to be on the plane. He apologised and I accepted it because it was not his fault, and what could I do? It’s bad enough to have to do all these checks, but then they still don’t bother? It was very bad.

Kaisa, Lufthansa

Review: The vegan food was absolutely tasteless and I do not know how it held together because it had no texture at all. So in 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…

Karly, Norwegian Air UK

Review:  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.

Claire, British Airways

Review: 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 there 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

Review: 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

Review: 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

Review: The main lunch provided on my flight was barely edible – under-cooked (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.

Currently, the default meal options provided by most airlines are usually dominated by meat and dairy, meaning that plant-based passengers have to proactively request a vegan meal in advance from a dietary-requirement menu. HSI/UK and The Vegan Society’s FlyVe campaign is hoping to change that by encouraging airlines to offer vegan meals as one of the default options on their in-flight menus, whilst at the same time improving the quality – both in taste and nutrition – of their vegan meals, to inspire more passengers to make the humane and environmentally-friendly choice.

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.”

Senior Campaigns Officer at The Vegan Society Elena Orde said “The number of people following a vegan diet is higher than

ever, and this is only set to continue. Airlines need to champion the diversity and creativity possible in vegan cooking, or risk alienating a growing number of their customers.” 

Vegan options are also inclusive of almost all dietary requirements as plant-based meals can also be eaten by vegetarians, people with dietary intolerances, and are often suitable for those with religious beliefs, as well as those who simply fancy trying something different.

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.  With consumers’ increased knowledge about animal suffering in the food industry and the ecological impacts of a meat and dairy-heavy diet, veganism is growing at an exponential rate. The Vegan Society found that the number of vegans in Great Britain has quadrupled in the past four years alone, with over 600,000 vegans currently living in England, Scotland and Wales.

Passengers can rate their vegan inflight meals at now.

Airlines wishing to request more information or assistance in providing vegan options can email The Vegan Society at [email protected], or email Charlie Huson (HSI UK) on [email protected].