I'm flying to Asia in the summer and I noticed a long list of special diets that are available. In Europe, I have always been able to order a cheese sandwich instead of one that contains meat. Is that the case everywhere, or are there airlines that don't serve vegetarian meals?

  • 1
    Even when you've pre ordered your vegetarian meal, be sure to check it before consuming. Once I had opted for a vegetarian meal and got served non vegetarian sweet dish.
    – DS R
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 16:33
  • The way to go forward is to check which of the following mentioned Codes does that "specific flight" of that airline support. Long range internationals have more options, trans continental in the US typically do not - I always ate at the airport despite having flow Business via being a Frequent Flier with Status. You'll have to check specifics of each airline by yourself and for more insight go to Travel SE or FlyerTalk
    – Alex S
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 12:06

4 Answers 4


Airlines provide a wide range of meals for people with different dietary restrictions. They have a common set of meal codes that they use so if you've wondered what the strange 4 letter code is on your ticket, it's one of these if it's vegetarian (there are other codes for non-vegetarian meals such as low-sodium that I won't list here but you can click on this link to see):

  • VGML is a vegan meal

  • VLML is a traditional western vegetarian meal that won't contain meat or fish but may contain eggs

  • AVML is a traditional asian vegetarian meal, no meat, fish or eggs and in an asian style

  • VOML is a vegan meal in a more oriental style

  • VJML is a Jain meal, vegan but with additional restrictions such as no aubergines (eggplants), onions, garlic and potatoes and other Jain based restrictions

  • RVML is a raw vegetarian meal, and

  • FPML is a fruit platter meal

Not all airlines serve all of these on all flights but you can always order a meal that's more restrictive than you normally are. Some of my non-vegetarian friends order vegan meals on airlines just because they find them more palatable. What airlines do offer probably also depends on what routes and therefore passengers they fly. The happy cow has a list containing information about many major airlines.

Airlines attention to detail has not always been the best in the past either, I've been offered VGML (vegan) meals where the main meal itself was vegan but the desert offered contained dairy, and even on more than one occasion gelatine, and the creamer has been dairy too on occasion when it should not have been. Having said that things do seem to be improving from my, admittedly anecdotal perspective.


This doesn't exactly answer "are there airlines that don't serve vegetarian meals", however you are likely to find more vegetarian options on Asian airlines. Given the number of Hindus and Buddhists that travel, it is essential.

Failing that, take your own cheese sandwiches :o)

Check out this answer for more info on religions that require vegetarianism.


On long flights I always request the Hindu option (if possible).

But I would highly recommend just bringing your own food if the Hindu is not available. The food is not great tasting, and is often junk. If you are coming from home, you can homemade sandwiches, wraps, sushi, and nuts(!), for example.

  • I am not sure this addresses the question...
    – Zanna
    Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 11:31
  • It may not be a great/thorough answer, but it isn't fully irrelevant.
    – Erica
    Commented Nov 18, 2017 at 22:52

Generally, yes, you can get a vegan meal on your flight.

It very much depends on the airline you're flying, but make sure you order a vegan meal before you board the plane. You can usually choose a "special meal" online after you bought your flight (at the same stage that they try to upsell you on better seats), or when you "check-in" and get your boarding pass.

VGML served on El Al airlines

Meal Codes

Airlines have developed a list of "meal codes" for various diets, many of which abstain from meats. Here's some relevant ones:

  • KSML - Kosher
  • MOML - Muslim
  • NLML - Non-lactose
  • VGML - Vegan
  • RVML - Raw Vegetarian
  • VJML - Vegetarian Jain
  • VLML - Vegetarian Lacto Ovo
  • AVML - Asian Vegetarian
  • VOML - Vegetarian Oriental
  • FPML - Fruit platter

You should be able to choose from one of the special meals above after you bought your ticket. If it's not an option on their website, call the airline and ask to be served one of the above meal codes.

Bonus: most airlines will serve you first if you select a "special" meal, so your neighbors will be staring at your awesome vegan meal and wish they had one too ;)

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