Jet-set Veg: 10 Airlines Mastering Vegan Airline Meals

A tray of vegan airline meals on a table.

Are you a vegan or vegetarian traveller searching for airlines that cater to your dietary needs?

Here’s a list of 10 airlines that are serving up delicious plant-based options in the skies. From Emirates’ vegan menu dating back to the ’90s to Ryanair’s convenient on-board vegan lasagne, there’s a growing trend of airlines partnering with top-notch culinary brands to satisfy the appetite for vegetarian and vegan cuisine.

Whether you’re flying long-haul with Cathay Pacific or grabbing a quick bite on a European flight with SWISS, these carriers ensure that your dietary preferences are met with quality and taste.

So, next time you take to the skies, consider these airlines as they have you covered with their array of vegan and vegetarian meal options.

Emirates

A plate with a variety of meat and vegetables arranged beautifully.

Emirates’ foray into vegan cuisine dates back to the 1990s and meals were primarily catered to specific routes like Addis Ababa. This was to accommodate the dietary restrictions during certain periods for those practicing the Ethiopian Orthodox faith, along with other regions where various faiths encourage plant-based diets.

2023 marked a remarkable year for Emirates’ vegan culinary offerings. The airline proudly expanded its vegan menu to over 300 unique recipes, a significant leap from the 180 dishes available in 2022.

Over 450,000 vegan meals were served onboard Emirates’ flights in 2023, a substantial increase from the 280,000 dished out in 2022.

In response to the growing desire for plant-based dining options, Emirates is set to debut a diverse selection of new vegan dishes on their flights in 2024.

Cathay Pacific

A person enjoying a bowl of rice and vegetables on a table.

Cathay Pacific has teamed up with Veda, a celebrated vegetarian restaurant in Hong Kong, to introduce a diverse menu of plant-based meals.

This new menu, featuring 16 dishes—six appetizers and 10 mains—will be available to economy and premium economy passengers on select long-haul flights from Hong Kong.

Created by Executive Chef Raul Tronco Calahorra in collaboration with the airline’s culinary experts, the menu offers a fusion of flavors from North Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, with highlights including a quinoa salad with cherry tomatoes and a rich South Indian coconut curry.

Swiss

A tray with food and utensils on it, typically seen during airline meal services.

Since 2009, SWISS has collaborated with Hiltl, the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant, to offer vegan options to passengers on select long-haul flights in all classes.

This partnership, part of the “SWISS Taste of Switzerland” program, highlights Hiltl’s reputation for innovative and exquisite vegetarian cuisine.

For European flights, SWISS provides a buy on board option in economy class, featuring dishes like Bircher Muesli (vegetarian) for CHF 7.50 and Vegan Bulgur Salad for CHF 8.50, which passengers can also pre-order.

Vegan bulgur salad - how do airlines plan meals.

Jetstar

Noodle & risotto noodle & risotto noodle & ris. How do airlines plan meals?

Jetstar, a low cost airline in Australia, offers a variety of vegan and vegetarian options for passengers, even though they do not provide complimentary catering. Celebrated as Australia’s most vegan-friendly airline by PETA in 2017, Jetstar has a history of providing plant-based food choices.

While their earlier partnership with SumoSalad is no longer in place, they still offer a selection of vegan snacks for purchase on domestic/international flights, including Noodled vegetable soup, Pringles, Cobb’s popcorn, Harvest Box crunch, and meat free options such as mushroom risotto and vegetable teriyaki noodles.

Ryanair

Bmi airways january menu.

Embracing the trend of plant-based dining, Ryanair, a popular budget-friendly airline, offers a vegan lasagne option to travelers looking to enjoy a meal in the skies.

Available onboard for €7.00, this gluten-free lasagne features roasted vegetables and a creamy soy-based béchamel sauce, making it easy to dine vegan even while flying at 35,000 feet.

Pegasus Airlines

Vegetarian meal - How do airlines plan meals?

Pegasus Airlines, a Turkish low-cost carrier, offers a variety of pre-order vegan and vegetarian meal options for passengers.

Known for their quality inflight meals—a rarity among low-cost airlines—these meals must be pre-ordered at least 24 hours before departure and are available for a fee on most flights.

Vegan options include a wrap featuring coriander sauce, aubergine, vegetables, salad, and falafel, priced at EUR 7.50. Additionally, a Rigatoni pasta dish is available, served with fresh fruit and salad, for EUR 14.50.

China Airlines

A group of Asian chefs posing for a picture while discussing meals planning for airlines.

The Taiwanese airline has debuted its “Clean & Green Plant-based Cuisine” menu, designed in partnership with the Michelin Green Star-awarded culinary brand Yang Ming Spring, at the end of 2022.

Economy Class travelers departing from Taiwan can pre-order one of four random main dishes, such as Vegan Conchiglie Bolognese or Curry Stewed Rice with King Oyster Mushroom. This initiative offers a Michelin-quality twist on traditional vegan options, enhancing the in-flight dining experience.

Orders must be placed a minimum of 24 hours before the flight.

Porter Airlines

A tray with food and drinks on a plane.

The sumptuous Porter Reserve meals, a feast for the eyes and palate. Good news for Porter Economy passengers – you can indulge in these main meals too, available for purchase. Who says you can’t have a taste of luxury while flying economy.

Porter Airlines has made significant efforts to cater to vegan and vegetarian passengers on their flights. They offer a variety of fresh meal options that are vegetarian, as well as vegan snacks that can be purchased inflight.

Their menu selection varies by flight, but some of the options include (CAD$11.99,) vegetarian buddha bowls, raspberry chia smoothie bowl, soba noodle bowl and free snacks such as fava beans and shortbread.

Moreover, Porter Airlines emphasises sustainability in their menu design, with a focus on reducing and eventually eliminating single-use plastics onboard, and providing biodegradable cups and cutlery, as well as eco-friendly packaging. Plus, they”re a great little airline to fly with!

Alaska Airlines

McDonald's salad menu options.

Alaska Airlines, in collaboration with Seattle-based Evergreens, offers specialty salads on flights over 1100 miles, departing from 10 AM to 11 PM. Options include the Stand Banh Mi

Salad and the Strawberry Fields for Chevre Salad, each at $10.50 and available for pre-order via the airlines app!

Korean Air

Korean airways plan meals

Jedong Ranch, nestled by Mount Halla on Jeju Island and run by Korean Air, supplies fresh produce for the airline’s meals, including their range of vegan options.

With a commitment to sustainable farming, the ranch ensures quality and eco-friendly ingredients. Passengers can savor traditional Korean vegan dishes such as steamed barley rice with burdock, roasted shiitake mushrooms, and tofu with plum salsa.

Korean Air’s diverse vegetarian menu, featuring vegan to raw vegetarian meals, can be pre-ordered on international flights from Korea, reflecting a farm-to-table ethos that enhances its in-flight dining experience.

Tips & Tricks

First, it’s important to do your research before booking flights. Explore the airlines page on Inflight Feed to research your upcoming trip.

Second, request your vegan or vegetarian meal when you book your ticket online, if you forget use the ‘Manage my booking’ function that many airlines offer on their websites.

Third, if you plan on bringing food from home, call ahead to find out if the airline allows food on board. This will help you avoid any unpleasant surprises at the airport and give you an idea of what type of snacks to bring along.

Fourth, have a back up! Bringing snacks like granola bars, trail mix, nuts and seeds is an easy way to stay full during long flights.

 

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