From airport restaurants to inflight dining, eating on the go is often a puzzle, trying to figure out options that are both affordable and nutritious. When you add dietary restrictions to the mix, you make it even more difficult. Currently, more than 9.7 million Americans identify as vegan, and even more people are looking to reduce their meat and dairy intake. Now several airlines, including Delta and Alaska Airlines, are introducing healthier plant-based options.
Preparing for a vegan vacation used to require weeks of meal planning, restaurant hunting, and stocking up on snacks for the plane. Now airlines have realized that vegan tourism is on the rise, and is even growing to become a significant percentage of the overall travel industry. A report surveyed 5,700 people around the world and found that 76% of respondents say ethical and environmental food sourcing influences their choices.
An app, Vegvisits, was launched to ease the stress of plant-based travel. The platform helps vegan tourists find plant-based experiences, restaurants, and snacks in new cities. Customers can use this app in more than 80 countries with expansion plans. But the app only helps once you reach your destination. For vegan travelers, the airport and airlines represent the last obstacle to a stress-free vacation.
Vegan travelers can now choose from a variety of deals on domestic or international flights. These seven airlines will prepare a special vegan dish upon request, allowing plant-based passengers to travel a little lighter.
7 Airlines with Vegan and Plant-Based Food Options
Alaska Airlines is making sure all of its passengers can eat healthy, sustainable meals this summer. The airline partnered with beloved West Coast chain Evergreen to introduce the “Soy Meets World” vegan salad. The totally vegan salad features roasted broccoli, fresh cucumber, scallions, pickled carrots, roasted cashews, fried onions, fried tofu, and brown rice on a bed of mixed greens. The vegan salad is served with a Tamari Chili Lime dressing. The vegan option is available on all flights over 1,100 miles.
Passengers can also order from a selection of vegan snacks with the Mediterranean Picnic Tapas option. This snack pack contains hummus, olives, corn crackers, almonds, an apple and fig bar, and a piece of dark chocolate.
American Airlines claims that almost 20 percent of its tickets for its International Premium cabin are vegan. The airline offers a selection of options including grilled eggplant, grilled cauliflower with chili, Mediterranean ratatouille with farro and much more. The airline also stated in a statement that 23 percent of its customers ordered vegan meals in advance in 2020. The airline intends to continue expanding its plant-based offerings on its domestic and international flights.
Delta Air Lines offers a special vegan menu item that is available to passengers on all flights that serve meals. Vegan meals might include a lentil and artichoke ragu or a Harissa roasted vegetable wrap. The major airline also offers extensive vegan options to its passengers on international flights and certain first class cabins.
In March, Delta also partnered with Impossible Foods and Black Sheep Foods to test five new plant-based dishes including meatless meatballs, Impossible Burgers and more. These options remain limited regionally, but these new menu items are “a part of Delta’s broader mission to promote wellness-focused travel.”
Vegan meals are not reserved for Business Class or First Class passengers on Emirates Airlines. Make sure to reserve your meal 24 hours in advance, because this airline offers a delicious selection of vegan food. Tasty vegan options include foods like misir wat (an Ethiopian red lentil stew), Tofu Jalfrezi, or Ancho Three-bean Chili. High-demand routes also provide several plant-based options on the main menu.
Passengers do not need to worry about food at all when they fly with Singapore Airlines. Traditionally prepared “Western” style, the major airline makes vegan options that include all major food groups. Some plant-based options include salad, chili with rice, or even spaghetti marinara. From time to time, the airline also offers a dish of fried tofu with vegetables. On certain flights, passengers can choose from a variety of plant-based options when they make a note of their dietary preferences 24 hours in advance.
Swiss international airlines
Swiss International has partnered with the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant, Hiltl, to offer its passengers plant-based meals. Most long-haul flights feature a hot vegetarian meal without pre-order, but travelers can order Hiltl’s a la carte option when booking their flights. The meal includes a mesclun salad, green vegetable curry, and a mango mousse.
United Airlines offers a special vegetarian meal for all flights where food service is provided; however, when it comes to going completely vegan, the airline has limited options. To keep up with its competitors, the major airline service announced in June that it had partnered with Impossible Foods. United introduced new plant-based foods at select airports and flights. United introduced the Impossible Meatball Bowl to all first-class customers on domestic flights flying more than 800 miles within the continental US. The bowl includes three vegan meatballs with broccolini, couscous, and herb-infused tomato sauce.
To find delicious plant-based foods anywhere in the world, visit The Beet’s Find Vegan Near Me articles.