Friday, October 2, 2009

Flying the Vegan Friendly Skies

With my two week wedding/vacation in Panama fast approaching, I've started looking into what is available to me for the in-flight meal. I've only flown once since becoming vegan and it was a short 3.5 hour flight from Toronto to Cuba. On the flight down to Cuba, I hadn't yet gone public with my lifestyle change so I complained of an upset stomach and let the kids attack my meal. On the way home, I heard someone in front of me ask for a vegetarian menu and heard the not so helpful response from the flight attendant that they were basically shit out of luck. Once again, the kids got a little extra for their meal.
Panama is a longer flight and I figured I deserve to eat an appropriate meal, after all, I'm the groom and I've brought together nearly 30 people that are spending money on the airline. I was pleased to find out the Air Transat does indeed cater to their customers needs and you are able to order ahead of time special meals for several types of diets. It was a bit tricky to find on their website but you need to go to the bottom menu and click on the customer service link at the far left. From here you need to look for the special meals link. You can go directly to this page by clicking here.
On this page, a toll free phone number is provided and you simply have to call within 72 hours of your flight and provide them with the 4-letter code of the meal you wish to have. A list of these codes are listed on a table on this same page.
After November 16, I'll tell you how this all worked out. My sister-in-law to be is lactose intolerant, so she too will be using this service.
As for other Canadian airlines, Air Canada offers a program called NutriCuisine. As far as I can tell, you don't have to pre-order your food, it is something they carry. This is vegetarian and not vegan.
I could not find anything on Westjet's website, but I will put in an e-mail to their customer service to find out more.
Skyservice, a popular charter airline that flies Canadians away from the snow and into the beautiful heat and sunshine of the south, has a meal pre-order system similar to Air Transat except their choices are limited. There are 4 specialty meals and the closest you'll get to vegan is the vegetarian. Their pre-order information page can be found here.
I believe that covers the Canadian airlines that travel far enough to offer in-flight meals. In posts to come, I'll be looking at international carriers and what they have to offer.

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