In recent years, there has been a steady rise in the number of people who are transitioning to a vegan lifestyle. As a result, companies are increasing their selection of plant-based options.
People’s concerns about personal health, environmental sustainability and animal welfare are the driving forces behind this movement. It can be challenging for plant-based travelers to find an on-board menu with healthy meals; however, all hope is not lost. Many airlines are starting to supply vegan meals to meet travelers’ needs. This not only caters to their dietary needs, but also shows that airlines are becoming more aware of the importance of catering to diverse dietary preferences.
Some airlines may require travelers to request a vegan meal in advance, and the quality of the items may vary. It’s important to research and compare airlines before booking your next flight.
Check out the airlines that offer vegan meals as a standard option.
In 2022, United Airlines added two Impossible Foods menu items on select flights: the Impossible Meatball Bowl and Impossible Sausage. They also added them to certain airport lounges, as part of the carrier’s new push to add more plant-based options to its food offerings.
They are available to first class customers on all domestic flights more than 800 miles in the continental U.S. The Impossible Sausage is available in Polaris lounges in Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark and San Francisco.
“To many travelers, the quality of food choices at the airport and in the sky is a really important part of the customer experience, so we’re invested in making sure our menu items exceed their expectations,” said Aaron McMillan, who is United Airlines’ Managing Director of Hospitality and Planning. “This is the first of many updates we look forward to sharing in the months ahead.”
United Airlines’ officials suggest confirming your meal preference with the airline ahead of time to ensure availability.
Delta Air Lines
The Atlanta-based carrier started to adding additional vegetarian and plant-based meals made with Impossible Foods, Black Sheep Foods and locally grown vegetables in 2022. Delta Air Lines’ new plant-based and veggie-packed dishes include the Impossible Burger, Black Sheep Foods’ lamb meatballs, cauliflower cakes and a warm seasonal vegetable plate.
“Not only are plant-based meats like Impossible Burger delicious to eat, but they’re also often better for the environment, using far less land and water to produce,” said Kristen Manion Taylor, who is the Senior Vice President of In-Flight Service.
Delta One and First Class passengers will be glad to know they receive hot meals on flights over 900 miles.
Through a partnership with Evergreens, a fast-casual restaurant in Seattle, Alaska Airlines has added some vegan options to its menus. The airline is prioritizing health and nutrition in response to customer feedback.
The company’s vegan option is the Brusselin’ Vegan Salad and the West Coast Muffuletta. The salad consists of Tuscan kale and romaine lettuce and topped with brussels sprouts, red quinoa, red peppers, golden raisins, capers and roasted almond slices. It is served with an agave and apple cider dressing.
“We built our menu thoughtfully to offer more plant-based, vegan and gluten-free options, which include a range of fresh, bright flavors inspired by the West Coast and ingredients that are authentically healthy by nature, such as roasted broccoli, crisp romaine and baby lettuce greens, quinoa, fresh fruit and more,” said Todd Traynor-Corey, Alaska Airlines’ Managing Director of Guest Products.
Passengers can pre-order everything from snacks to full meals using the airlines’ app or website.
With more than 180 choices, Emirates’ vegan menu is more extensive than most. The Dubai-based airline offers vegetarian meal options throughout its flight service in all travel classes. While the menu changes monthly, meals like Mediterranean vegetable ravioli and Moroccan Tagine vegetables with couscous are main course options.
Desserts include a zesty lemon tart with coconut cream and a dark chocolate custard cake with fresh strawberries.
“Vegan dishes have been rapidly gaining popularity on U.S., Australian, some European and UK routes, with Emirates noting a sizable increase in interest in vegan dishes over the last decade,” the company stated on its official website.
Customers can request vegan meals on all Emirates flights and across all classes of travel up to 24 hours before departure.
According to CNBC, American Airlines changed its menu to include vegan options because more customers are requesting them. Salads are being served more on flights since the pandemic. Many domestic first-class cabins will feature a “fiesta grain bowl” as a vegetarian option. This meal includes rice, quinoa, black beans, cauliflower, corn and zucchini.
“We have to be very choosy about what type of greens we offer,” American Airlines spokeswoman Leah Rubertino told CNBC.
Pre-order your meal at least 24 hours in advance if you require a vegan meal.
According to the British Airways website, the airline added several tasty options for vegetarian and vegan meals and a fresh fruit dessert to the menu. In 2022, the airline worked with its expert catering providers to introduce new plant-based menus. The menus initially rolled out across the airline’s Heathrow Airport lounges before appearing on the United States’ lounge menus, according to the carrier’s website. You can call the airline any time between 24 hours to 30 days before your flight to pre-order your meal.