Posted by: Antonia Ciccolo | October 26, 2010

Flying Vegan: Continental Airplane Food

I’ve flown Continental Airlines (which will soon become United) about 20 times in the past three months and I’ve officially determined that there aren’t any vegetarian or vegan options for dinner on the Thursday evening Houston-Boston flights. The morning and afternoon flights are a little better but I wasn’t often on the afternoon flights and I was usually asleep and not interested in food on the morning flights. But the evening flights were particularly important: I would run from the client site to the airport to catch the 6:40pm flight and didn’t get back home until midnight at the earliest, so food was essential.

If I didn’t have time to grab food from the airport for dinner before I boarded, I was out of luck. Continental Airlines has consistently been serving chicken wraps or turkey dogs as the main meal item, with Doritos, a small carrot pack, and M&Ms as sides. The chicken wraps aren’t even in “normal” wrap style: the wrap looks fried and infused with butter or oil. Even if I wasn’t vegan, this wouldn’t be something I’d eat for dinner. Regardless, the only vegan option in the “dinner box” is the carrots. There are about five mini carrots included in the mini-plastic bag which definitely isn’t even worth accepting the box for. I used to ask the stewardess for a vegetarian option (I asked on a few of the flights) and they would always say no. I wondered if I could request a vegan/vegetarian option before the flight, but since it is considered a domestic flight “snack,” it wasn’t possible.

I have started to be a little bit more understanding about this situation. I guess it wouldn’t be very cost effective to stock a few vegetarian/vegan options on every flight; however, this situation is very frustrating regardless. Even if Continental decides not to accommodate vegetarians and vegans, they should still be mindful of the overall health of their travelers. I can guarantee that the meal they are serving is far from healthy, just by looking at the grease that is left behind. I’m not asking for something vegan on the plane, but I am asking Continental to re-consider their food option in general. If they are going to go through the trouble of stocking one meal on every single long evening flight – they should think about both what their customers want and what is good for them.

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