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Vegetarian meals on board

Most airlines offer a wide range of special meals for their passengers with special dietary habits.

Generally this option is free of charge and available both in economy and business class. The service should be requested in advance, preferably when making the booking, or at least 24-72 hours before the flight. The requirements are different, so check with your airline for their rules.

Vegetarian Special Meal

Image from Turkish airlines website

Vegetarian special meal codes

There is a worldwide four-letter abbreviation system used by the airlines to designate special on-board meals. Totally 7 different types of special meals are suitable for vegetarians.

Description of vegetarian special meal codes

  • AVML  - Asian vegetarian meal – consists of spicy dishes of Indian cuisine with a use of dairy products. This meal does not contain eggs.
  • FPML – Fruit platter – contains only fresh, canned and dried fruits and fruit juices.  
  • RVML – Raw vegetarian meal – contains only fresh and dried fruits, fresh vegetables and natural juices.
  • VGML – Vegan meal – prepared without animal products such as eggs, dairy products, honey and so on.
  • VJMLVegetarian Jain meal – vegan dishes prepared in Indian style in accordance with Jain customs. Does not contain any root or bulbous vegetables (no onion, garlic, mushrooms, potato).
  • VLML – Vegetarian lacto-ovo meal – vegetarian dishes containing eggs, dairy products and rennet-free cheeses.
  • VOML – Vegetarian oriental meal – vegan dishes in Chinese style. Any animal products are excluded.

Special meal codes corresponding to major vegetarian diets

Lacto-ovo-vegetarians Lacto-vegetarians Vegans Raw food eaters
VLML
AVML
AVML VGML
VJML
VOML
RVML
FPML

In fact special meal provided by some air companies may contain unwanted ingredients, so be careful. For example, VGML may contain non-vegan products, and some companies consider VJML as VGML. For details check the description of vegetarian meal on the official website of your aircraft to be sure that you will get what you want. 

The largest international airlines overview

Airline

Deadline

Telephone

Available special meals

Air France

48 hours before flight

+1-800-237-2747

AVML, VGML, VLML

Alitalia

24 hours before flight

+1-800-223-5730

AVML, VGML, VLML

American Airlines

24 hours before flight

+1-800-433-7300

VGML

Austrian Airlines

24 hours before flight

+1-800-843-0002

AVML, FPML, RVML, VGML,  VLML

British Airways

24 hours before flight

 

+1-800-247-9297

AVML, FPML, VGML,  VJML, VLML

Cathay Pacific

24 hours before flight

+1-800-233-2742

AVML, FPML, RVML, VGML, VJML, VLML, VOML

Delta Airlines

24 hours before flight

+1-800-221-1212

AVML, VGML, VLML

Emirates Airline

24 hours before flight

+1 800-777-3999

AVML, FPML, RVML, VGML, VJML,VLML, VOML

Finnair

24 hours before flight

+1-800-950-5000

AVML, FPML, RVML, VGML, VLML

KLM

24 hours before flight

+1-800-618-0104

AVML, VGML, VLML

Lufthansa

when making reservation at least 24 hours before flight

+1-800-645-3880

AVML, FPML, VGML, VLML, VOML

SWISS

24 hours

+1 877 359 7947

AVML, VGML, VJML, VLML, VOML

United Airlines

24 hours before flight

+1-800-864-8331

AVML, VGML, VJML,

US Airways

24 hours before flight

+1-800-428-4322

AVML, VGML, VLML

The information has been collected from the airline companies. It’s provided for your reference only. All information is subject to change.

In order to avoid any surprises check the booking requirements in advance. It is more secure to request special meal when making the booking. If you buy a ticket via travel agency, inform your travel agent about your diet type. It would not be a bad idea to call the airline directly to confirm your special meal reservation.    

At check in make sure that your boarding pass has a special meal mark on it. For example, that’s how Thai Airline boarding pass with a special meal record looks like. 

How to bring your own food on board

In case you were not able to place a special meal request for some reason, there is no problem to take your own food on board provided that it is wrapped or packed in a plastic container. Keep in mind that only drinks bought after passing security are allowed.

If you had an interesting experience of special meal request, please share with us in the comments below.

Interesting fact to finish up with: on board food seems tasteless because some taste sensors do not work high up. 

Posted on 18 September 2013
1 comments

Comments

Ulhas salgaonkar and Jayashri salgaonkar 17 December 2014
We want to order veg.hindu meal on board.flight no CX699on 2jan.2015'departure from hk.at 5-25pm.cathey pacific airline.airways confirmation no.5Q7C26

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