Airline meals usually aren’t known for being impressive, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a couple of pieces of fruit as your vegetarian option. With today’s options, you also don’t have to worry about packing your own snacks only to risk having them confiscated when you go through security. More and more airlines are offering vegetarian meal options on international flights. 

What to Order

When you request a vegetarian meal, keep in mind that Vegetarian Lacto-Ovo Meal (VLML) is the most common type available. This meal doesn’t have any meat or fish in it, and it typically includes one or more of the following:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products, such as milk, cheese and butter

What to Expect

From simple snacks to gourmet meals, what kind of vegetarian options can you expect? That depends on the airline you’re traveling on, the class you’re traveling in, the specific flight you’re on and other factors. Some airlines provide you with different vegetarian options to choose from for a complete meal, while others only have limited light meal or snack options. For example, Lufthansa prides itself on offering gourmet meals prepared by top German chefs, while RyanAir focuses on easy, convenient food options. 


The following are a few examples of the kinds of vegetarian options available on different airlines, but keep in mind that airline menus change from time to time. To find out what kind of meal choices you currently have, contact your airline:


  • RyanAir: Vegetable panini, Ratatouille and pancakes are on the summer 2018 menu
  • Air New Zealand: Impossible Burger that resembles beef (and even “bleeds’) is available on business class flights from Los Angeles to Auckland through October 2018
  • EasyJet: Porridge, tomato soup and Mezze snack box are on the current menu
  • American Airlines: A spicy Asian vegetarian meal that includes an appetizer and dessert is among the vegetarian meal options
  • Lufthansa: The current menu’s vegetarian options include Chilled Ratatouille with artichoke escabeche and a pomegranate balsamic glaze as an appetizer, mild goat cheese tortelloni with seasoned vegetable ribbons as an entree and papaya and mango with chili lime spice for dessert

When to Order

For many airlines, you’ll need to place a request for your vegetarian meal by a certain time. For example, American Airlines and Singapore Airlines allow you to request a special meal up to 24 hours before your flight, while Virgin Atlantic only allows special meal requests up to 48 hours before departure. Check with your airline for specific meal request rules, so you don’t miss the deadline. The easiest way to avoid this is to request your vegetarian meal at the same time you book your flight. 

Pack Your Own Snacks

In some cases, you still might want to consider packing a snack or two. If you have a long layover or you’re worried about long delays at the airport, it makes sense to bring a snack with you instead of waiting to see what kinds of vegetarian options are available in the terminal. If you plan on doing this, keep a few tips in mind:

  • Make a sandwich with hummus as a convenient snack rather than bringing an unopened container with you, since it’s likely to be confiscated.
  • If you’re packing a small salad, put the dressing on beforehand, or bring it separately in a 3.4-ounce or smaller container.
  • Simple snacks, such as nuts or granola bars, are the most convenient vegetarian snacks to bring.

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