Airplane Food: Really Not Worth the Hateration (thanks, Aer Lingus!)

I am back! S and I returned from our Ireland and Scotland adventure on Sunday. It was, in a word, glorious. I have so much to share because, as it turns out, Dublin and Edinburgh are just bursting with truly phenomenal vegan eateries. I’ll be spacing out my inevitably effusive posts over the next couple weeks, but in the meantime let me start by answering the question that’s on everyone’s lips: How was the airplane food?!

Well, dear readers, it was just fine. We flew Aer Lingus, and a couple days before our flight I called and confirmed that we wanted vegan meals for both legs of our flight. Even after the customer service agent assured me that it was all set, I was a bit nervous. Last time I flew overseas, the meal on the way back from Italy wasn’t vegan – there was some confusion because that flight was operated by KLM, not Delta. But Aer Lingus came through on both legs of our flight, so S and I didn’t have to break into the sizable stash of snacks I’d brought with me. And the great thing about ordering a special meal is that you get it before everyone else on the flight because the flight attendants heat the special meals up separately. Win!

Anyway, here’s what we ate for dinner on our flight to Ireland:

Mmm, scrumptious!

The main dish was a tomato-y chickpea curry with broccoli and carrot. Yes, singular carrot – I spied but one baby carrot in my dish. Despite the slightly mushy veggies and rice, this really wasn’t terrible, and it was more creative than other vegan airplane dishes I’ve experienced. The side salad was a cucumber and tomato deal with no noticeable dressing – fine by me. The meal came with a roll, some non-vegan margarine (whey fail!), and a small fruit salad. Not bad.

After we traversed the Atlantic and jumped ahead in time, we received breakfast. While the rest of the passengers got some sort of croissant sandwich, we received a bagel with blackberry jam and a little tub of orange juice.

Brekkie!

Again, not terribly exciting, but totally acceptable.

I didn’t photograph our food on the flight back, but you’re not missing much. Our lunch was an uninspiring pasta and veggie dish; it was limp and rather flavorless. It came with a typical side salad (no dressing), a roll, actually-vegan margarine, and more fruit salad. Sadly, we did not receive a special vegan pre-landing snack. The crew came around and offered another breakfast bread-y snack (croissant? roll? bagel? I don’t even remember), but it contained dairy, so we passed. Ah well. Can’t win ’em all.

In summary, Aer Lingus definitely passed the airplane food test. It also passed my “no delay” test – I have reallllly bad luck when I fly; nearly every flight I take gets delayed, gets cancelled, or goes horribly awry on one leg (or both!). But none of our Aer Lingus flights had any issues; other than the Chicago-Dublin round trip, we embedded a Dublin-Edinburgh trip that went equally smoothly. Hooray for that.

Don’t worry – this is the least exciting of my travel recap posts. I have much more exciting stuff to talk about later!

What have your vegan airplane food experiences been like? 

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