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Vegan Travel Meal Ideas From a Former Flight Attendant! (Part 2)

June 27, 2011

(Super-secret information for flight crewmembers ONLY!!)

Vegan Snacks and Meals for the Regional Flight Attendant

(Okay, Okay…


For Anyone Who Travels a Lot)

By Alecia A. Lott

***PART TWO***

In Part One, I discussed the importance of packing your meals when you travel, how to choose a travel cooler, and how to choose where to stay when you travel.

Now, let me briefly go over getting your food through security, and eating while in the sky.

Security Warnings…

If you’re not a flight crewmember in uniform, it’s always a good idea to review TSA guidelines for liquids/gels and plan accordingly.  (And yes, peanut butter and hummus count as liquids!)  If it’s definitely a liquid, keep it in a 3-oz-or-less container. Keep any “borderline” items in small quantities, and be prepared to eat them before getting to security or throw them away (gah!) if a TSA agent tells you to do so. Hey, they’re just doing their job!

If you’re bringing lots of liquids, the smartest thing to do would be to just check your cooler at the ticket counter if you think your bag and its contents will survive being tossed around. Even if you have to pay a baggage fee (!) you’ll probably still save money over restaurant food, especially if you’re bringing your own alcohol. (People do that, right? Not just me?)

Just make sure you bring something to eat on the plane. Even if it’s supposed to be a short flight, always bring at least a small snack because you never know what could happen.  Why are people so grouchy when they travel?  They’re probably hungry and thirsty!

Don’t forget to declare your fruit/vegetables–or just avoid taking them altogether–if you’re flying internationally.

Eating on the Plane

You may already be aware that requesting an airline vegan meal is risky. Some airlines don’t seem to know what vegan means, and will still try to give you dairy products. Others will forget about your meal, or give it to someone else.

Make TRIPLE-sure your meal will be there waiting for you—it’s a bit obnoxious, but a lot better than the alternative.

  1. Book your flight at least 24 hours in advance. Talk to a customer-service representative, and make sure they know that you don’t want any milk, butter or cheese with your meal.
  2. When you check-in at the airport, confirm with the gate agent that a special meal was ordered for you.
  3. Board as early as possible. Once on board, pull a flight attendant aside and say, “Hi, my name is _____ and I’m in seat 32B. I ordered a special meal…when you have a second can you check to make sure it’s here?” and make sure you get a “Yes, it’s here” before the cabin door closes!

If (free) meals aren’t being served on the plane, bring your own grub! Just a few gentle reminders…

  • Avoid anything that has a strong smell. YOU may think your orange smells fabulous but I personally can’t stand that smell and cringe every time I see someone pull one out of their bag. Odoriferous foods might push a queasy passenger over the edge. Would you like your meal accompanied by the sound of a stranger’s dry heaves? I didn’t think so.
  • If you have snacky foods, such as trail mix, consider sharing with your neighbor—they’ll probably say “no, thank you” but you just might make their day.
  • Please clean up after yourself. If possible, give snacks to small children a handful at a time so they don’t throw them all over the place. And the seat pockets are not trash bins!
  • If you ask the flight attendant for anything special such as an unopened can of soda or extra cookies, do it discreetly.
  • Use gum or mints when you’re done eating. Your neighbors will love you for it.

And I know you’re ready for PART THREE–Vegan Food Ideas!

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