Lufthansa Flight Attendants Annoyed, Want Special Meals To Cost Extra

Lufthansa Flight Attendants Annoyed, Want Special Meals To Cost Extra

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As reported by aeroTELEGRAPH, Lufthansa flight attendants are frustrated by the volume of special meals that passengers are ordering, and are demanding that something be done to address this. This is an interesting topic, as I’m sure Lufthansa flight attendants aren’t the only ones with this issue.

Why Lufthansa flight attendants have issues with special meals

On long haul international flights with meal services, it’s normal for airlines to let you pre-order a special meal. This is intended primarily for those with dietary or religious restrictions, though anyone can order them.

In the case of Lufthansa, there are 11 different special meals to choose from, ranging from meals based on dietary restrictions (gluten free, low cholesterol, low sodium, etc.) to meals based on religion (Kosher, Hindu, Muslim, etc.).

The issue is that crews have seen a sharp increase in the number of passengers ordering special meals over the years, and this significantly complicates the service flow:

  • Lufthansa crews are regularly seeing 100 special meals ordered per flight, with some flights seeing up to 190 special meals ordered
  • At most airlines (including Lufthansa), special meals are brought out first, and then the main meal service is performed; however, when you have 100+ special meals, this causes issues, and delays the service for other passengers
  • Lufthansa reportedly doesn’t label each special meal with the seat number and name of the passenger, so the logistics are complicated, as crews have quite the process by which they have to deliver these

I can completely understand the frustration among flight attendants here. It’s one thing if five people are ordering a special meal, but when half the cabin is ordering a special meal, it’s a challenge for the crew. And it’s not just an issue of it being too much work for the crew, but it makes it hard to manage expectations of other guests, since this volume of special meals delays the service for other passengers.

Lufthansa passengers are ordering lots of special meals

What’s the solution to this special meal problem?

A flight attendant representative has explained that this issue was first discussed with management back in 2017, but no corrective measures have been taken, and the issue has only become worse.

The flight attendant representative makes several proposals, though they mostly seem kind of half-baked. These include limiting the number of special meals per flight, limiting the variety of special meals, and even charging extra for special meals. The hope is that if the airline charged extra for special meals, fewer people would order them.

Unfortunately I’m not sure these suggestions are really feasible. Lufthansa charging extra for special meals would almost certainly not go over well, and would be viewed as religious or dietary discrimination. Furthermore, there’s no way you can quiz people, or judge if they really “need” a special meal or not.

It seems like a few practical things that could change would include the following:

  • Each special meal could be labeled with the seat number and passenger name, so that there’s less of a guessing game to figuring out which special meal belongs to which passenger
  • Lufthansa could decrease the number of special meals to choose from, to simplify the process of delivering these meals to passengers
  • Special meals could just be loaded onto the same carts as the regular meals, so that there’s no longer an advantage to getting your meal earlier, and so that other passengers aren’t kept waiting; however, this may only complicate logistics

In response to this, a Lufthansa spokesperson stated that “the range of special meals and the associated on-board service processes, like other product and service topics, are regularly examined and further developed.”

Lufthansa crews suggest charging for special meals

Bottom line

Lufthansa flight attendants are complaining that they’ve gotten to the point where the number of special meals ordered gets in the way of the service flow. When up to half of the economy cabin is ordering special meals, it can be tough to deliver those meals without neglecting other passengers.

Unfortunately I fear this is a problem where there might not be a great solution, so I’m curious how this plays out…

What do you make of this logistical challenge?

Conversations (152)
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  1. Marek Guest

    It's easy solution, LH has to do better with catering. If you have vegetarian pasta as a main meal no choice, people start order special meals because they taste better and contain meat or fish. I started to do the same and its not about getting the meal first just regular food is getting worse and worse on LH flights.

  2. Martin Guest

    Offer two meals and thats it. You don’t like it bring your own dam dinner. Stop catering to these people.

  3. Roy Guest

    Meat, pasta or fruit plate... These will meet all dietary, religious restrictions.

  4. Evan Guest

    I personally think that special meals are very important and that Lufthansa should not cut down on their offerings. As someone with celiac disease, I have to be extremely careful when traveling by air to ensure that I don't become ill from contaminated food. I can only even consider the gluten free meal, and if there isn't one on offer, then I'll have to eat my own food. Some airlines do a better job than...

    I personally think that special meals are very important and that Lufthansa should not cut down on their offerings. As someone with celiac disease, I have to be extremely careful when traveling by air to ensure that I don't become ill from contaminated food. I can only even consider the gluten free meal, and if there isn't one on offer, then I'll have to eat my own food. Some airlines do a better job than others with the availably of special meals. On United, you have to fly 2000+ miles to order a special meal in domestic first class which is a real annoyance, especially when airlines like Delta and American ensure that special meals are offered whenever a meal service is offered. Even some airlines don't provide special meals on European business class, which in my view, substantially decreases their appeal for me to upgrade.

  5. Amritpal Singh Guest

    Abolish Unions. Organized Labor is Organized Crime. Just ask Jimmy Hoffa!

  6. Nicolas Guest

    Wow! I conquer, simplify meals. I am cabin crew for a US legacy carrier(without a voice). The SPML situation is out of control and affects other guests by way of service flow and timing. Sorry, we don't offer gluten-free, no egg, no dairy, no vegetable oil, low-sodium Buddhist meals. I think maybe make a beans/rice and a green vegetable/vegetable. Note: If you ordered a special meal, please don't expect a regular meal, meals are provisioned...

    Wow! I conquer, simplify meals. I am cabin crew for a US legacy carrier(without a voice). The SPML situation is out of control and affects other guests by way of service flow and timing. Sorry, we don't offer gluten-free, no egg, no dairy, no vegetable oil, low-sodium Buddhist meals. I think maybe make a beans/rice and a green vegetable/vegetable. Note: If you ordered a special meal, please don't expect a regular meal, meals are provisioned to customers counts. I'm a diabetic I carry food when traveling, not rocket science. My mother had six children and she carried food/snacks so we wouldn't STARVE while traveling. Yes! Something needs to happen with respect to special meals.

  7. Andy Guest

    Another solution - where there are particular routes with high numbers of SPML requests due to the religious/cultural background of passengers, just make those special meal type(s) one of the 2-3 standard meal options on that flight.
    Thai Airways already does this on flights to/from India. Given the very high number of Hindu meal requests, as standard one of the meal options (in both economy and business) will be an Indian veg meal. These...

    Another solution - where there are particular routes with high numbers of SPML requests due to the religious/cultural background of passengers, just make those special meal type(s) one of the 2-3 standard meal options on that flight.
    Thai Airways already does this on flights to/from India. Given the very high number of Hindu meal requests, as standard one of the meal options (in both economy and business) will be an Indian veg meal. These are distributed as part of the regular meal service.

  8. Erika Lesage Guest

    That’s a brillant idea! Because to many special meals slow down service!

  9. Miriam Guest

    I agree to charge for not medical meals

  10. Andy 11235 Guest

    These complaints could be easily addressed if LH did what other airlines do -- load special meals in with all the others, label with the seat, and deliver during normal service flow. "Regular" meals will usually have a vegetarian option for main service only. Additionally, salads or appetizers will often not be vegetarian. As for consolidating meals -- the airlines have already done this, and it's annoying as f*ck. I am not vegan, nor do...

    These complaints could be easily addressed if LH did what other airlines do -- load special meals in with all the others, label with the seat, and deliver during normal service flow. "Regular" meals will usually have a vegetarian option for main service only. Additionally, salads or appetizers will often not be vegetarian. As for consolidating meals -- the airlines have already done this, and it's annoying as f*ck. I am not vegan, nor do I require a bland, low-sodium diet. However, I have frequently been served the most tasteless vegan food as my "vegetarian" order. I have had a plate of unripened fruit as part of the entree service... then an identical plate of unripened fruit as the dessert (KLM in C). I have had vegetarian meals on 16-hour-long flights with zero protein (KE in Y). I would happily pay extra if it meant actually getting a decent meal, but all I ask is that airlines accurately label what they offer. If I knew ahead of time that all the special meals were merged, I'd happily pack my own cup ramen and some protein bars. Perhaps the "issue" is that some airlines actually do an awesome job with their special meals (AF, SG, and TP, shockingly enough).

  11. T- Guest

    Everyone these days seems to think that they are so special and must be catered to. It’s like everyone claiming to be gluten intolerant when the actual percentage of people that have gluten intolerance is minuscule. Now even products that don’t contain gluten are claiming to be “gluten free” and people avoid a necessary nutrient source just because. Now that we are all so entitled let’s all make everyone else kiss our behinds because we...

    Everyone these days seems to think that they are so special and must be catered to. It’s like everyone claiming to be gluten intolerant when the actual percentage of people that have gluten intolerance is minuscule. Now even products that don’t contain gluten are claiming to be “gluten free” and people avoid a necessary nutrient source just because. Now that we are all so entitled let’s all make everyone else kiss our behinds because we are so special. Let those who seriously do have dietary restrictions (for whatever the reasons they might have) be seen as legitimate.

    1. LK Guest

      actually its the carnivores who think they are so special that they must have meat. The airlines could just get rid of that...

  12. Gary Guest

    I am curious. What if special meals were serviced after the normal ones? If the special meal is really a requirement, then it is worth waiting for. My thinking is that could reduce the number of special meals that are ordered by people who just want to make sure that they get something they like and they get it first.

  13. Joe Cornelson Guest

    21 years ago when I was married I ordered hindu for 5 year old son, moslem for my wife and kosher for me. The stewardess kept walking back and forth eyeing us she said "How can you cook at home?" My wife had no idea I ordered special meals it was a joke I said it isn't that difficult.

    1. Anonymous Guest

      And hereby you perfectly stated the problem with passengers today. For you it is a joke.. for the cabin Crew it is just a hazzle. And Then you probably ste not the one who cooks at home anyway.

    2. Hh Guest

      It's not a problem to cook in a way that is Hindu, kosher and halal.

  14. Mark Fernandes Guest

    Ordering of special dietary requirements on religious and medical grounds is done by mostly all the airlines . So what's annoying the Lufthansa Flight attendants ??? To actually serve their guests on board with German hospitality?? You either quit the airline and work for a Gourmet restaurant else Lufthansa recruit Catering educated staff on board to maintain their status quo. Embarrassing moments for the entire Luftwaffe Inflight team to ascertain this trend from their Cabin...

    Ordering of special dietary requirements on religious and medical grounds is done by mostly all the airlines . So what's annoying the Lufthansa Flight attendants ??? To actually serve their guests on board with German hospitality?? You either quit the airline and work for a Gourmet restaurant else Lufthansa recruit Catering educated staff on board to maintain their status quo. Embarrassing moments for the entire Luftwaffe Inflight team to ascertain this trend from their Cabin Crew

    1. Miriam Guest

      The problem is that people don't realise that an aircraft is not a restaurant where you wouldn't find such a choice !

    2. Siraj Guest

      Well then stop catering altogether. They r an international airline catering to passengers of all backgrounds. If they can't do the most basic of requests, then don't cater at all. Or stop allowing passengers with special meal requests to board

  15. Corina Grossmann Guest

    Why not just serve the regular meals first? This would eliminate the advantage of ordering the special meal so that you can eat first. Perhaps it is easier for the crew .

    1. Duck Ling Guest

      The problem with this is that the crew would rely on the 50+ passengers that had ordered a special meal to make a point of mentioning this to the crew when they are about to plonk a meal tray down.

      Given the global nature of many airlines and the language barriers, we would likely see a situation where say someone that has ordered a vegetarian special meal then asks for the vegetarian option from the...

      The problem with this is that the crew would rely on the 50+ passengers that had ordered a special meal to make a point of mentioning this to the crew when they are about to plonk a meal tray down.

      Given the global nature of many airlines and the language barriers, we would likely see a situation where say someone that has ordered a vegetarian special meal then asks for the vegetarian option from the regular menu and voila, we don't have enough 'regular' meals for customers that have not ordered a special meal and are left with an excess of various SPML.

  16. Parnel Guest

    The solution is simple! Any special meal costs money!!
    If you are religious what difference does it make?
    CHARGE for special!

    1. Samo Guest

      It's not a solution because it may not actually lower the number of special meals significantly. And if it does, it would mostly be because those pax chose to fly someone else than Lufthansa.

    2. UncleRonnie Gold

      LH could charge extra for the special meal AND allow that pax to choose their seat 72 hours before take-off. That way they can label the meal with the seat number & name at the kitchen with plenty of time in hand. If you don't want to pay extra, you check in 24 hours out and take your chances that the veg meal suits you.

  17. Fed UP Guest

    except for Kosher and Halal meals, it has gotten ridiculous. I have been out eating with people and the demands they make for all of these "special requests" is overwhelming.

    Sorry , if you are that concerned or fussy, just stay home. On the plane, it your diet is that complicated --- bring you own special needs food. It's hilarious when some pays rock bottom low budget prices for a ticket, then expects they are...

    except for Kosher and Halal meals, it has gotten ridiculous. I have been out eating with people and the demands they make for all of these "special requests" is overwhelming.

    Sorry , if you are that concerned or fussy, just stay home. On the plane, it your diet is that complicated --- bring you own special needs food. It's hilarious when some pays rock bottom low budget prices for a ticket, then expects they are in first class at a 5 star restaurant. Ever go to Starbucks, the qualifiers on a stupid cup of coffee are ludicrous.

    STAY HOME ! ( most of this s**t is in their minds anyway).

  18. Nope Guest

    In a country where everybody can literal decide over night to change gender, or even how to be addressed without changing anything, the least problem should be allowing ppl to chose their meals.

  19. Dave S Guest

    Amazing how many people have become gluten or lactose or shellfish or nut intolerant etc over the last 20 years. Practically unheard of when I was growing up, good luck finding anywhere serving gluten free meals and lactose free products etc. Sure I'm sure there were people who really struggled with this all their life, but in the numbers proclaiming to do so now? The wife of my friends brother refuses to give her baby...

    Amazing how many people have become gluten or lactose or shellfish or nut intolerant etc over the last 20 years. Practically unheard of when I was growing up, good luck finding anywhere serving gluten free meals and lactose free products etc. Sure I'm sure there were people who really struggled with this all their life, but in the numbers proclaiming to do so now? The wife of my friends brother refuses to give her baby (now toddler) anything dairy or gluten because she believes he's intolerant, without any medical back up to suggest as such. The kid will probably grow up intolerant to it now having never had it in the first place

  20. Tom R Guest

    It doesn't help that some media outlets (and no doubt some TikTokers) are suggesting getting the special meals, not too be served first, but because they can be different or sometimes better than the standard meals everyone else gets. I've seen numerous articles over the years but it only seems to have increased since Insta/TikTok/influencers etc etc. Not sure what the solution is though without unduly penalising those who actually genuinely need them

  21. Bill Guest

    Just another lack of interest in doing the job they applied for. With my home in Orlando back in the day that meals were routinely provided a Friday night trip home was frequently catered with many, many children’s meals. Those days flight attendants were interested in providing service. The special meals including children’s meals were just part of the job. Not the current culture of providing far less than even a smile while demanding high...

    Just another lack of interest in doing the job they applied for. With my home in Orlando back in the day that meals were routinely provided a Friday night trip home was frequently catered with many, many children’s meals. Those days flight attendants were interested in providing service. The special meals including children’s meals were just part of the job. Not the current culture of providing far less than even a smile while demanding high pay and law enforcement powers. Ah for the day when people applied for jobs they wanted and tried their best to be good at it.

    1. Debbie Guest

      You have completely misread this and jumped in without thinking. The reason they are complaining is because "the special meal customers" are causing other customers to suffer. When you have say 200 customers onboard and out of the 200 customers 150 have ordered "special meals" and none of them have been marked up it takes a minimum of 45 minutes to sort though in a tiny galley. Now whilst doing this NOBODY gets to eat...

      You have completely misread this and jumped in without thinking. The reason they are complaining is because "the special meal customers" are causing other customers to suffer. When you have say 200 customers onboard and out of the 200 customers 150 have ordered "special meals" and none of them have been marked up it takes a minimum of 45 minutes to sort though in a tiny galley. Now whilst doing this NOBODY gets to eat because you can't do this and serve. So instead of the service taking 2 hours it takes 3 hours and then everybody onboard goes hungry. They are not complaining about the work they are saying its not loaded correctly and the labelling should be done BEFORE it comes onboard. This way everybody gets to eat at the same time with no delays. People nowadays are unrealistic and expect way to much

  22. Johncadams Guest

    I have flown for a major USA carrier for 30 plus years. The special meal orders in the economy cabins are out of control. The last time I worked the economy galley out of Heathrow on a 777-300 there were 146 special meals ordered and 147 requests for wheelchair assistance when we reached the States. So obviously the meal & wheelchair are connected. Most of them are Asian vegetarian, Hindu and vegan and those folks...

    I have flown for a major USA carrier for 30 plus years. The special meal orders in the economy cabins are out of control. The last time I worked the economy galley out of Heathrow on a 777-300 there were 146 special meals ordered and 147 requests for wheelchair assistance when we reached the States. So obviously the meal & wheelchair are connected. Most of them are Asian vegetarian, Hindu and vegan and those folks think that they’re receiving some type of VIP service with a special meal & a wheelchair. It is beyond annoying especially when they change their mind and want something else and argue. And it’s quite disrespectful to other customers who are hungry and want to eat. Period.
    And that was the LAST time I worked the YC galley out of London.

    1. Nick Guest

      Would be better if United made the default 2nd meal choice Asian Vegetarian or said on X routes we always have this choice.

  23. Veggies Guest

    I do it because I sit in eco and the special meals are often better. Get a hindu meal and it's more likely to be rice with curry.

    Just make all special meals hyper restrictive that meats all kosher vegan needs. Then no one will order it. It's basically going to be a raw salad with no proteins at that point. Nutritious, meets requirements so no one can really complain

  24. Chris Guest

    Those who genuinely "require" a special meal will keep requesting them, and airlines aren't realistically going to stop offering them.

    The best solution I can think of here is to serve them last. Not as a punishment to those who "require" them, but as a deterrent to those who are pre-ordering special meals simply as a strategy to be served first.

    How materially different that's going to effect the situation will vary from flight to flight, but it's an idea.

  25. FLLFLYGUY Guest

    Many moons ago when I was cabin crew I "fondly" remember LGA-FLL/MIA Friday evening widebody flights when there were more SPMLs than regular meals in Y (when there were actually meals in Y).
    Crews hated those flights and it was impossible to so a spec service, ie drink service before meal svc.

    1. DT Diamond

      What’s special about Friday evening? It can’t be kosher meals because observant Jews wouldn’t be flying on the Sabbath.

  26. Adam Guest

    Do you not understand the number of pax who do online seat changes just hours before boarding a flight? I can totally understand the frustration of inflight to figuring it out, let alone dealing with the customer complaining that their gluten free meal is not boarded. Why can't we all just get along. Bring your own food if it is that important!

  27. Dave Guest

    But we are way too obsessed with other people needing to accommodate our "special needs". You're outside the norm, figure it out yourself.

    I often fly on Fridays in Lent, and I don't expect the airline to have a filet-o-fish waiting for me.

  28. Robert Fahr Guest

    I'm German. Of course I am annoyed with anything not routine. (⁠+⁠_⁠+⁠)

  29. VSM Guest

    The meals, at the very least, should have a seat # sticker…

  30. flying100 Member

    Best idea. Invest in your catering. Many people order special meals just because it tastes better than regular meals.

    I am Jewish and I only eat Kosher, I never had an issue before, and no, not always do special meals arrive first. I flew lately quite a few times on BA Euro club and I ordered a Kosher meal, they had it in the same trolley as all other meals and delivered it row by row. I was in the back and was served last.

    1. flying100 Member

      FYI I just flew Lufthansa business class intra Europe and they didn't have an issue providing me with Kosher food.

      I know European flight are different, but wanted to point this out.

      Regarding my previous comment, @Ben you once had a review of AA and you said that you order Kosher breakfast on AA. This is probably the case with many special meals that people order special meals because (they think) it tastes better.

  31. Nb Guest

    Stop religious food. Nonsense. Don’t like pork? Eat crackers.

    1. betterbub Diamond

      lol those flight attendants still have to separately load and serve those crackers

    2. Kevin Guest

      Easier solution that worked well since the wright brothers. Chicken or Fish? Don't like those, bring your own.

    3. LK Guest

      stop serving meat and it all gets easier

  32. James Guest

    How about the regular menu has at least one vegan option on it? Or how about the meals are healthier in general? Charging people more for dietary needs is not the answer. Plus, half the time my partner orders her vegan meal ahead of time online they act like they never got the request and she starves even though she paid for it. Why don't they just have different compartments in the cart with the meals instead of delivering them earlier?

    1. BookLvr Diamond

      I agree with James!

      Also, if well planned, a vegan meal could simultaneously be a kosher and halal meal. Falafel and pita (or rice), with a side of tabbouleh? That works for vegan, kosher, and halal customers. The same would be true of koshary, vegetable fried rice, etc.

  33. Auspointer Guest

    “The flight attendant representative makes several proposals, though they mostly seem kind of half-baked.”

    LOL! I saw what you did there :)

  34. UncleRonnie Guest

    If you pre-order a special meal in coach, you get assigned a seat at the back. No changes. FAs unload the regular meals, walk up to the front of economy and serve “Chicken or beef?” meals first. Then bring out the special meal trolleys last and serve them last.

    BTW every long-haul flight I’ve been on, they never run out of vegetarian options. The flesh always goes quickly.

  35. Nasty Foods Guest

    More and more people are eating Indian Meals or Halal Meals on Planes. But it does not mean you have to serve them Garbage and make it look like Indian/Veg/Halal/Hindu Meal. UA, AA & Delta are notorius about that.

    1. tda1986 Diamond

      As opposed to the quality fare served other passengers on these airlines? Come on, you’re not that special…

  36. No Special Meal Orders on Qatar & Emirates Guest

    Emirates, Qatar & Lufthansa FA's simply tell you that we never did get that "Special Meal" Order. it is not True, we Double checked it months before and Days before Flights. I think it is Fixed! By the way it is the Business Class where it is happening the most.

    1. James Guest

      Exactly! They always act like they never got the order even when I show them a screenshot of our online order.

    2. red_robbo Gold

      Have some sympathy with the crew. What they are saying is that they - the cabin crew - didn't get the order loaded onto the flight. It's the supply chain at fault, not the crew. They have to deal with what they're given.

  37. Moe Guest

    As a consumer of Kosher food all my life I have seen and experienced almost all the options mentioned here. TATL flights tend to have a surprising number of Kosher consumers so many ideas have been tried and often abandoned. Some airlines tried to seat Kosher consumers in one section, this would mot work today and many affected pax were extremely turned off by the segregation. The sticker idea sounds innocent but it becomes a...

    As a consumer of Kosher food all my life I have seen and experienced almost all the options mentioned here. TATL flights tend to have a surprising number of Kosher consumers so many ideas have been tried and often abandoned. Some airlines tried to seat Kosher consumers in one section, this would mot work today and many affected pax were extremely turned off by the segregation. The sticker idea sounds innocent but it becomes a defacto way of marking likely Jewish passengers and might make some uncomfortable.
    With seat assignments constantly changing any expectation that meals be prelabeled with seat numbers is absurd.

    1. Samo Guest

      I don't see how showing the seat number on a tray sticker would "mark" anyone as Jewish. Crew can already see who ordered a kosher meal (obviously, since they need to be able to deliver it), so no new information would be provided to them. It would just be placed elsewhere.

      The real issue with this idea in my opinion is that meals are packaged well before check-in closes, thus seat assignments will often change...

      I don't see how showing the seat number on a tray sticker would "mark" anyone as Jewish. Crew can already see who ordered a kosher meal (obviously, since they need to be able to deliver it), so no new information would be provided to them. It would just be placed elsewhere.

      The real issue with this idea in my opinion is that meals are packaged well before check-in closes, thus seat assignments will often change after the time the label is printed, thus this could cause even more chaos.

    2. Moe Guest

      Please let me clarify. I see no issue with a sticker on a meal tray. my issue is when an airline puts stickers to mark the seats of those getting special meals. This was designed to alert the cabin attendant that there is a meal preordered for this seat.

    3. beachmouse Member

      The times I’ve seen the stickers used, they were usually a flag for ‘Indian vegetarian’ meals based on how the passenger associated with the meal looked.

    4. Eskimo Guest

      With LH, and issues like this, there is always someone who would take it personally. But I never understood why

      Don't be so paranoid, LH would not mark you and have a 'special' section. Nor would anyone intentionally do that under malicious intent.

      Your seat is marked for special meal, so what. You did ordered a special meal.
      What makes you so paranoid, what are you afraid is going to happen?
      I am really curious.

    5. Moe Guest

      The airline in question was not LH. It flagged the seatback as a sign of special meal with the code written as a reminder to the person serving meals.
      Obviously, you are not a member of a group that has (and is currently) singled out and discriminated against. I grew up with parents that were Auschwitz survivors.

    6. Neil Gibson Guest

      Why is everyone getting worked up over the food they get on an airplane. As most flights are under 8 hours duration, going without food will not hurt you . If you are so desperate take some packaged food from home or buy at the airport. Suggestion take a milk drink with you.

    7. Moe Guest

      Try stringing together two or three flights and it is easier to understand.

  38. Duck Ling Guest

    As a crew member for a large (non US) western legacy airline 'special meals' are a PITA.

    When I first started flying we'd have 5 or 6 on a flight. Now (route dependent) we will have anything from 20 to 100 per flight, all delivered by hand.

    Another issue that is happening is more and more passengers with increasingly complex meal requests. For example 'I am Vegan but also Gluten Intolerant' or 'I ordered...

    As a crew member for a large (non US) western legacy airline 'special meals' are a PITA.

    When I first started flying we'd have 5 or 6 on a flight. Now (route dependent) we will have anything from 20 to 100 per flight, all delivered by hand.

    Another issue that is happening is more and more passengers with increasingly complex meal requests. For example 'I am Vegan but also Gluten Intolerant' or 'I ordered a kosher meal but I am allergic to fish'.

    Just addressing a few of the comments:
    - caterers just label meals with seat numbers. At my airline this doesn't happen. Which I am thankful for. The caterers prepare these meal trays greater than 24hrs out from departure. The amount of seat changes we have between then and departure are significant. We have the SPML seat numbers showing on our hand held devices and sometimes even an hour before boarding the seats will change.
    - consolidate more meal choices. I am all for this and my airline does do this - however they are not transparent about it when people book a meal. And, some people get upset by it. I have had many a 'vegetarian' meal passengers express disappointment to me that they had been provided a 'vegan' meal. Same with those ordering a 'Hindu' meal which have been provided with an 'Asian Vegetarian' meal. If airlines are going to consolidate meals into fewer categories for both streamlining and cost savings, reduce the amount of options on the list.

  39. Roy Guest

    I’ve flown Cathay Pacific in recent weeks on a trip to Asia, and the corrective measures you suggested (except for limiting meals) are exactly what they do.

  40. Timtamtrak Gold

    On JL SAN-NRT in either 2015 or 2017, the FAs came through the cabin with small stickers and placed a VGML sticker on my husband’s seat (he is truly a vegetarian). They did this for all special meals in the Y cabin. He was served his meal at the same time as me, and the rest of the cabin, with the FAs taking a marginally longer time (measured in seconds) to find his meal on...

    On JL SAN-NRT in either 2015 or 2017, the FAs came through the cabin with small stickers and placed a VGML sticker on my husband’s seat (he is truly a vegetarian). They did this for all special meals in the Y cabin. He was served his meal at the same time as me, and the rest of the cabin, with the FAs taking a marginally longer time (measured in seconds) to find his meal on the cart. I don’t recall there being all that many special meals scattered through the cabin, but of course this was a while ago now.

    I recognize some folks may not want to be “singled out” in this manner but it is a far sight better than getting your food wayyyyy before the rest of the cabin has even had a drink. It also ensures the cabin crew will remember where the special meals belong for all meal services.

    Side note - my husband was having trouble clearing his ears and ended up with a terrible migraine on this flight. The cabin crew could not have been more lovely and accommodating. Brought him a warm towel to put on his ear and checked on him regularly. Reminds me of the old adage: “people may not remember what you said or what you did, but they’ll always remember how you make them feel.”

    Obviously there’s a big difference in culture between LH and JL, but the aforementioned sticker fix seems an easy solution.

  41. Pavel Guest

    That's just plain ridiculous. First of all, the fact that they don't have a label system with pax name and seat number... who's here to blame? whenever I ordered special meal on Delta it came on a tray with my name and seat number on the aluminium wrap itself + a sheet with those printed. Second, I'm pretty certain that such a surplus on German airline is bcs of vegans and vegetarians. Solution? Have vegan...

    That's just plain ridiculous. First of all, the fact that they don't have a label system with pax name and seat number... who's here to blame? whenever I ordered special meal on Delta it came on a tray with my name and seat number on the aluminium wrap itself + a sheet with those printed. Second, I'm pretty certain that such a surplus on German airline is bcs of vegans and vegetarians. Solution? Have vegan and vegetarian option readily available as a part of standard offering. By cutting the gross cheap ass meat options you'll save money and do something actually meaningful for your environmental initiatives.

    1. Tom R Guest

      The amount of last minute seat swaps an hour or two before departure could render any labelling a waste of time and cause more chaos. At least many FAs now have hand held devices to help which include the up to date seat assignments

  42. Eskimo Guest

    Nothing about FA not doing their duties?

  43. Michael_FFM Diamond

    I don't believe the flight attendant's union. For starters this should be an industry wide phenomenon, which it does not seem to be, as we hear about it from UFO first.
    Then, at least on LH flights to India, there is usually at least one curry as standard order available, which can be prepared to tick a lot of boxes in the special meal area, thus reducing the need for passengers to go for...

    I don't believe the flight attendant's union. For starters this should be an industry wide phenomenon, which it does not seem to be, as we hear about it from UFO first.
    Then, at least on LH flights to India, there is usually at least one curry as standard order available, which can be prepared to tick a lot of boxes in the special meal area, thus reducing the need for passengers to go for special meals.
    And if there really are that many special meal orders, then organising them in a manner that they can be delivered as part of a trolley service is not unthinkable.
    Or doing something totally crazy, and go through the passenger manifest and write the seat numbers of passengers with special meals on little stickers.
    But my take is that is is something which the flight attendants union blows out of proportion because their members feel uncomfortable doing what they are paid for: working.

  44. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

    Easy fix: the catering company needs to mark the meals with a color coded sticker AND name. NO EXTRAS MADE. They are then sorted on to the carts by front to back of cabin. Assign 2 FA's to dole them out, no substitutions, only refusals of meals. If anyone in the plane has a special request, they have to wait until the very end of meal service to see of anything has become available. No...

    Easy fix: the catering company needs to mark the meals with a color coded sticker AND name. NO EXTRAS MADE. They are then sorted on to the carts by front to back of cabin. Assign 2 FA's to dole them out, no substitutions, only refusals of meals. If anyone in the plane has a special request, they have to wait until the very end of meal service to see of anything has become available. No time to hold up the rest of the cabin. And yes, the FA's should be laid a bit more for having to deal with this nonsense. I guarantee most fo the "trouble" isn't coming from kosher/halal meals, but from habitual dieters that are flipping between different "restrictions" and asking alot of questions. Bring on your own food!

    1. Samo Guest

      Your idea is nice but impossible to execute since seat assignments are not closed until long after trolleys are loaded at the catering facility. Check-in normally closes around one hour before departure of a long haul flight, and further changes may still be made at gate (IROPs, standbys, opups, etc). Realistically you only know who is gonna seat where some 30-45 minutes before departure. That's not enough time to start sorting the trolley at the...

      Your idea is nice but impossible to execute since seat assignments are not closed until long after trolleys are loaded at the catering facility. Check-in normally closes around one hour before departure of a long haul flight, and further changes may still be made at gate (IROPs, standbys, opups, etc). Realistically you only know who is gonna seat where some 30-45 minutes before departure. That's not enough time to start sorting the trolley at the catering facility and load it.

      And that's all assuming that people won't play musical chairs on board, which they do more often than not.

  45. splane21 Member

    A lot of the western world (especially Europe) has started becoming more vegan/vegetarian. There are also so many studies that show that Indian curries on planes tastes the best and meat doesn't reheat as well or taste as good on planes. Seems like it would be a huge cost savings and better for the environment to serve really good vegan options to all economy passengers (Indian/Thai curry). If its good food that passengers like seems...

    A lot of the western world (especially Europe) has started becoming more vegan/vegetarian. There are also so many studies that show that Indian curries on planes tastes the best and meat doesn't reheat as well or taste as good on planes. Seems like it would be a huge cost savings and better for the environment to serve really good vegan options to all economy passengers (Indian/Thai curry). If its good food that passengers like seems like passengers will realize how good plane food can be. Obviously some passengers won't be happy and if the food tastes bad many passengers won't be happy with the lack of meat options

    1. Samo Guest

      Some airlines tried to go full vegetarian for this exact reason, it didn't go well. Too many complaints. Like it or not, humans are carnivores, and fully vegetarian menu won't satisfy most of them.

      Passengers indeed love curries because they are the kind of food that can maintain good taste even when reheated. But most people will still prefer them with meat.

  46. splane21 Member

    Small changes on Lufthansa could go a long way. Lufthansa options between US-Europe are beef or vegetarian but no meal on the menu is ever guaranteed. Since a beef option doesn't suit many hindus many hindus are inclined to order a special meal to guarantee they have a choice they can eat. Alternatively if it were chicken and vegetarian and is clearly stated I would assume the number of special meal orders will considerably drop.

    1. N1120A Guest

      Agreed. Not only is beef an issue with Hindus, but it tends to be the most avoided by the general population, after pork. Further, some folks who adhere to kosher-style and halal-style diets might be OK ordering a chicken meal, but not a beef meal.

  47. Finora Guest

    Calling the FA reps suggestions "half baked" is too kind.

    Let's be clear they didn't think it through. Not even a little bit. Their suggestions are dumb. Don't penalize the customer for your rubbish process.

    1. sol wingman Guest

      Tell that to LH!!!!!!!!!

  48. Albert Guest

    Need data on cause:
    a) vegetarian/vegan as this more fashionable now
    b) generally better quality of special meals, so many regular travellers order them
    c) less "universality" of regular meals, so many regular travellers order special ones.
    d) other?

    E.g. despite other comments about European 1950s meat dishes, my issue is c) in that a large proportion of regular meals have become far too spicy for me to eat - when...

    Need data on cause:
    a) vegetarian/vegan as this more fashionable now
    b) generally better quality of special meals, so many regular travellers order them
    c) less "universality" of regular meals, so many regular travellers order special ones.
    d) other?

    E.g. despite other comments about European 1950s meat dishes, my issue is c) in that a large proportion of regular meals have become far too spicy for me to eat - when offered the choice of "curry" or "Thai" I had to beg for cookies and chips instead.
    @Brent has good point about universal base + meat (or other) addition
    Similarly various commenters about one meal satisfying multiple special requirements.
    But also to have regular meals satisfy E.g. bland in both the technical and general sense.
    As in a post about lounge food - provide piquant sauces etc in sachets/mini bowls so they are available but optional.
    Simplistic example - everything to be low sodium, but provide salt sachets for those who want it.

    If the main reason is b) then perhaps they should increase the quality of regular meals (and perhaps reduce the number of different ones so regular travellers know on what they can rely)

  49. vlcnc Guest

    Given the low quality irritable service Lufthansa cabin crew give, I'm not sure they can really complain about workload - this screams of entitlement.

    1. Jake Guest

      Lufthansa, definitely not service with a smile.

  50. splane21 Member

    Honestly if Lufthansa made Indian Vegan Food (Rice, Daal, Vegetable) an option on the normal menu on US-Germany routes, served it at the same time as everyone else on the cart, and had some counter to ensure everyone who requested a vegan, vegetarian, or asian vegetarian meal could be guaranteed it, it would simplify a lot of things. Such a big problem bc (1) Lots of Indians travel on Lufthansa, (2) I've noticed that lots...

    Honestly if Lufthansa made Indian Vegan Food (Rice, Daal, Vegetable) an option on the normal menu on US-Germany routes, served it at the same time as everyone else on the cart, and had some counter to ensure everyone who requested a vegan, vegetarian, or asian vegetarian meal could be guaranteed it, it would simplify a lot of things. Such a big problem bc (1) Lots of Indians travel on Lufthansa, (2) I've noticed that lots frequent traveler Americans (who are not normally vegetarian) have come to like and order asian vegetarian food on planes, and (3) a large population of Germany are vegan/vegetarian and have realized that Asian Vegetarian on planes is usually the best vegan meal. Just my observations flying Lufthansa

    1. splane21 Member

      *best vegetarian meal*

    2. splane21 Member

      I remember seeing this when flying Emirates and receiving my special meal at the same time as others

  51. splane21 Member

    MUC-LAX flight attendant was amazing. First meal service she profusely apologized for serving special meal first without drink but how she loves the asian veg meal. Second meal service she remembered exactly which seats had special meals and just brought them out on the cart at the same time and it sped up everything.

  52. Mantis Gold

    Serve the special meals last, after regular meal service is fully completed. Problem solved.

    1. splane21 Member

      I actually think sometimes the special meals heat faster than the regular meals which is why they do this. Was on the top deck of the a380 on Lufthansa (economy) with a flight attendant who mentioned that the "meat" meals need to be in the oven for 10 more mins anyway or something

  53. splane21 Member

    As a vegetarian I always order Asian Vegetarian (usually always better than the onboard pasta option and guaranteed so ik i have food if they run out). Flew DEN-MUC and flight attendants were clearly annoyed bc there were 100+ special meals and took forever and lots of people also trading seats.

    MUC-LAX flight attendant was amazing. First meal service she profusely apologized for serving special meal first without drink but how she loves the...

    As a vegetarian I always order Asian Vegetarian (usually always better than the onboard pasta option and guaranteed so ik i have food if they run out). Flew DEN-MUC and flight attendants were clearly annoyed bc there were 100+ special meals and took forever and lots of people also trading seats.

    MUC-LAX flight attendant was amazing. First meal service she profusely apologized for serving special meal first without drink but how she loves the asian veg meal. Second meal service she remembered exactly which seats had special meals and just brought them out on the cart at the same time and it sped up everything.

  54. 9volt Gold

    Another option is to have more of a "one size fits all" approach to the meal. As in, the special meal should fit into more categories. Like why not have a kosher, low sodium, AND low carb meal?

    1. 9volt Gold

      This would mean less sorting by the crew, which would speed up the process.

    2. YULtide Gold

      Why not just make a highest common denominator meal as the standard? Everyone gets a kosher/halal/vegan/non-dairy/gluten free meal. No more special orders.

  55. Never In Doubt Guest

    "Lufthansa reportedly doesn’t label each special meal with the seat number and name of the passenger, so the logistics are complicated, as crews have quite the process by which they have to deliver these"

    How do they do it then?

    Shouting auctioneer-style across the cabin?

    1. Gaurav Community Ambassador

      Probably just have passenger names.

    2. Samo Guest

      Passenger manifest shows who ordered a special meal.

  56. Paul Bevan Guest

    I hate getting my special meal early, as at that point, they haven’t brought any drinks out. Often the drinks don’t arrive until my meal is finished. It takes a great FA to ask if you want a drink when they drop off the meal.

  57. Paul Bevan Guest

    I hate getting my special meal early, as at that point, they haven’t brought any drinks out. Often the drinks don’t arrive until my meal is finished. It takes a great FA to ask if you want a drink when they drop off the meal.

    1. InternationalTraveler Gold

      This has been my observation as well. I tired a special meal order on one flight and did not like to have it either without a beverage or wait for the beverage service and have a cold meal.

  58. Jacques Portgieter Guest

    Also, I have status on TG and they always make a point of greeting me when I'm flying Y, and asking for my meal choice before takeoff. This is a lovely gesture, but it's honestly a bit awkward having your meal brought to you while everyone around has to wait for the cart. I just end up keeping it on my table and sipping my wine (which they also bring, winner!) till others are served theirs. Interesting topic.

  59. Jacques Portgieter Guest

    Just give them all the same meal that fits every category... most fruits and vegetables are generally suitable for most special meal categories, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, low sodium, low fat, diabetic, kosher, halal, fruit platter/raw vegetarian, bland meals, and lacto-ovo vegetarian.

    1. Donato Guest

      With all due respect, a fruit meal without protein does not serve the purpose of a meal. It might be OK for a short flight but sometimes you are flying a 2 or 3 segment trip/up to 24 hours duration.

  60. Ian Guest

    As a lacto vegetarian, I am one of them troublesome special food ordering miscreants.

    My solution: just offer veg and tofu with a choice of staple in economy. You will survive a flight without meat

    (only half joking)

  61. Srini Rao Guest

    If the airlines didn't serve food geared for Europeans from the 1950s people would not need to order special meals. what's the deal serving beef..pork and lamb. A lot of people for a variety of reasons don't eat that. They need more mainstream options and definitely decent vegetarian and vegan options. This is also true in the USA where the hot food for purchase is either a tasteless goop like pasta or red meat.

    1. jedipenguin Guest

      Airlines should only serve Indian food-problem solved.

    2. Dave S Guest

      Except if you don't like spicy food, which can also upset your stomach, hardly ideal on a flight. Neither is a plane full of curry

  62. Cedric Guest

    Seems to me its more of a logistics issue. It would be interesting to see the data. If a large portion or orders are vegan / vegetarian, then you could just add a option on the regular meals and remove these special options. Reducing the complexity. Clearly LH has the data on this. Maybe adding the seat number on the meal. Seems pretty nuts that 100-190 people are ordering special meals, but hey, I drink oat milk so... I'm part of the problem :)

    1. splane21 Member

      So I think they have already made sure at least one option is vegetarian on US routes (and Indian routes are all vegetarian now). Issue is they have run out of vegeterian meals before (esp if I'm at the back of economy) so the only way to guarantee a "vegetarian" meal is to order a special meal. Very helpful though during irrops when special meals don't carry through and they have an option on the menu

  63. Brent Guest

    This is a universal design problem. And I agree with Dale: fully vegan meals often satisfy a significant number of dietary restrictions at once. We catered our wedding with a universal design and an animal protein add-on. It was mostly vegan with no dairy and limited gluten. I just think all large-scale catering operations need to figure this out. But many of these types of designed meals also can be reheated fairly easily.

    1. N1120A Guest

      I don't necessarily think my dining experience should be guided by other folks eating disorders

  64. Nikojas Guest

    I thought airlines were encouraging pre ordering meals to reduce food waste? Or is that bad now? It's hard to keep up.

    1. N1120A Guest

      They are in premium cabins. The issue is mainly special meal ordering in the back

  65. Sean M. Diamond

    This is exactly why airlines should encourage tipping of flight attendants. I promise you that special meal delivery duties would immediately become a highly sought after role.

    1. Flightsurg New Member

      Well presented argument, bravo!

    2. red_robbo Gold

      I take it (hope?) that was satire from the normally sensible, much respected Sean M?

  66. Paul Guest

    Seems surprising that a global enterprise such as LH Group would want to make a strategic business decision that impacts the passenger experience, such as this would, because of an inefficient workflow. Fix the workflow first and then see if it still makes sense to charge for special meals, (and it may make sense to do so). It seems illogical to immediately react with penalizing the passengers because they are ordering too many of these...

    Seems surprising that a global enterprise such as LH Group would want to make a strategic business decision that impacts the passenger experience, such as this would, because of an inefficient workflow. Fix the workflow first and then see if it still makes sense to charge for special meals, (and it may make sense to do so). It seems illogical to immediately react with penalizing the passengers because they are ordering too many of these meals and it is disruptive to the inflight service flow, (which I can imagine it is). It sounds like there are some common-sense logical fixes which may help, (i.e. labeling with passenger name, etc), and may provide the opportunity to still offer special meals as a complimentary perk. But if LH wants to charge for this perk, then it should be a separate decision and in alignment with their overall business strategy and not because of something that is currently broken within their operating infrastructure.

  67. blake Guest

    I was on a LH flight recently (my first time), traveling from India to the US. I requested a special meal, as I'm a vegetarian, and unlike United, LH does not state that they will by default have vegetarian options available - even coming from India, which as noted is sure to have a large number of vegetarians.

    Lo and behold, the regular meals did in fact have veg options, and they were (or looked)...

    I was on a LH flight recently (my first time), traveling from India to the US. I requested a special meal, as I'm a vegetarian, and unlike United, LH does not state that they will by default have vegetarian options available - even coming from India, which as noted is sure to have a large number of vegetarians.

    Lo and behold, the regular meals did in fact have veg options, and they were (or looked) far superior to the special meal I received.

    If only LH would guarantee and state on their website (like UA does) that the meal service will always have veg option, I would have been thrilled to save myself and LH the trouble of requesting a special meal and get better food to boot.

  68. Thomas Guest

    The way Emirates has 'solved' this in Economy on many routes with a high number of special meal orders (typically, many pax to/from the subcontinent) is to make the vegetarian option on the menu the equivalent of a Hindu vegetarian meal, and load at least as many as pre-ordered.
    The upside is that the majority of special meals get served during the main service.
    The downside is that passengers who didn't preorder and...

    The way Emirates has 'solved' this in Economy on many routes with a high number of special meal orders (typically, many pax to/from the subcontinent) is to make the vegetarian option on the menu the equivalent of a Hindu vegetarian meal, and load at least as many as pre-ordered.
    The upside is that the majority of special meals get served during the main service.
    The downside is that passengers who didn't preorder and would prefer the vegetarian menu option often can't get it, and are only offered one menu item with meat.

    1. N1120A Guest

      They almost solved it then. Load the pre orders, then have an algorithm figure out how many more AVMLs to load for the rest of the cabin.

  69. Ere Whon Guest

    The day is not far when we're going to see AI-equipped robots instead of human FA's rolling down the aisle with friendlier service than many of the surly staff currently performing this job. There's possibly a prototype already in testing in an academic setting.

    Will sort itself out. Any bets if trials will start within the next 5 years.

    1. jedipenguin Guest

      AI is going to replace ALLL jobs. We are all going to become pets of robots.

  70. Abidjan Gold

    Too many special meals. Charge extra.

    1. rrapynot Guest

      Charging extra for meals that are needed for medical reasons such as low sodium, gluten free (for true celiacs) or diabetes would be illegal under EU disability laws. Just like it would be illegal for a hotel to charge extra for a room that is adapted for wheelchair users.

    2. N1120A Guest

      And it would be similar for discriminating based on religious adherence. Besides that, you'd see substantial book away for folks who are adherent.

    3. CPH-Flyer Gold

      It would not be illegal. SAS already does this and have no legal issues.

    4. Samo Guest

      That's nonsense. It's fairly common to charge extra for a gluten free dough for pizza for example. Restaurant meals also have different prices and it may happen that a meal suitable for some kind of a dietary restriction happens to be more expensive.

      The issue is purely commercial.

  71. Lee Guest

    On a LH group airline, a person in our party had a medical device that required pre-approval months in advance. Make, model number, and serial number. At check-in, the make and serial number matched. But, while the model number on the device was 1125A, the model number on the airline's paperwork was 1125. Simple notation error. The agent refused to issue boarding passes. The pilot refused to approve. Deemed no-show, fares lost. Never again.

    1. Lee Guest

      The point being that so many facets of LH are problematic.

      In either case, all complaints SHALL cease when LH becomes a subsidiary of Aeroflot in a couple years.

  72. beachmouse Member

    With Delta, as part of their pre-flight cabin walkthrough, they’ll verify that a passenger is the seat that their mobile says they’re supposed to be in- seat info is updated on the company mobile/handy pretty much in real time- and then a sticker gets put on top of that seat to note that a special meal goes there. A combination of good IT and making it easier to visually identify the special meal types- maybe...

    With Delta, as part of their pre-flight cabin walkthrough, they’ll verify that a passenger is the seat that their mobile says they’re supposed to be in- seat info is updated on the company mobile/handy pretty much in real time- and then a sticker gets put on top of that seat to note that a special meal goes there. A combination of good IT and making it easier to visually identify the special meal types- maybe different types get different color foil or packaging? Als consolidate special meals so, say, bland and diabetic are the same meal and vegan/dairy free are the same meal as many other airlines are doing to reduce the amount of sorting the FAs have to do.

    1. splane21 Member

      Yeah Delta makes their Vegan/Vegetarianspecial meal the same (and it tastes really bad). I ordered lacto ovo vegetarian special meal on Delta to guarantee I have a vegetarian option (in case they run out) never understood why they couldn't just use the pasta option on the normal menu (now I only do asian vegetarian since their ovo lacto vegetarian/vegan special meals are horrible)

  73. Dale Guest

    Perhaps the solution is to guarantee that on every flight one of the standard meal options will always be vegan. This would satisfy the majority of people’s legitimate needs for ordering a special meal. It would simplify a lot of the service issues for flight attendants. I say this as someone that always needs to request a special meal for health reasons. If there was always a vegan option, I wouldn’t need to request a special meal

    1. Eskimo Guest

      A lot of people are your exact opposite. Always wonder why vegans are so self centered when it comes to food.

      Perhaps the solution is to guarantee that on every flight one of the standard meal options will never be vegan. This would satisfy the majority of people’s legitimate needs for ordering a special meal. It would simplify a lot of the service issues for flight attendants. I say this as someone that always needs...

      A lot of people are your exact opposite. Always wonder why vegans are so self centered when it comes to food.

      Perhaps the solution is to guarantee that on every flight one of the standard meal options will never be vegan. This would satisfy the majority of people’s legitimate needs for ordering a special meal. It would simplify a lot of the service issues for flight attendants. I say this as someone that always needs to request a special meal for I don't eat vegan. If there was always a non vegan option that won't run out, I wouldn’t need to request a special meal.

    2. Samo Guest

      Majority of people ordering special meals don't order vegan meals. The world doesn't revolve around you.

  74. Grey Diamond

    I mean, Lufthansa is a popular airline for people flying between India and North America, so I would imagine they get a lot of vegetarian meal requests on many of their routes. But the best solution really just seems to be to fully embrace meal pre-ordering. This will help them load the correct amount of food and allow them to sort it easily.

    An interim easy method that I have seen used before is...

    I mean, Lufthansa is a popular airline for people flying between India and North America, so I would imagine they get a lot of vegetarian meal requests on many of their routes. But the best solution really just seems to be to fully embrace meal pre-ordering. This will help them load the correct amount of food and allow them to sort it easily.

    An interim easy method that I have seen used before is just to give some colour of a sticker per special meal and stick this on the seat somewhere visible. This makes it visually very clear where the special meals in the cabin are and can be implemented almost immediately with minimal difficulty.

    1. beachmouse Member

      Delta does the sticker on the seat system and it seems to ork reasonably well.

    2. beachmouse Member

      Delta does the sticker on the seat system and it seems to ork reasonably well.

  75. Jim Guest

    They just need to serve special meals last and/or make sure the quality of special meals is lessor than what is regularly offered

  76. Alonzo Diamond

    The explosion in special meal ordering over the past 4 years is mainly from Tik Tok. Millennials thinking special meal ordering means they'll get a quinoa bowl or a massaged kale salad.

    1. AJ Guest

      You realise it’s mostly Gen Z on TikTok and not millennials right?

    2. Srini Rao Guest

      Such an idiotic comment. It's primarily because not all of us are dinosaurs who eats the crap that passes for main choice.. unhealthy meaty stuff.. while a lot of people want to eat healthier.

    3. Alonzo Diamond

      Such an idiotic comment for someone to comment that plane meals are healthy with all of the salt and fats that are used lmao. Congrats on not eating like a dinosaur who doesn't eat "unhealthy meaty stuff." Moron.

    4. Eskimo Guest

      Racist idiots, The T-Rex hands are too short to eat with utensils.

  77. andy Guest

    One viable option would be to offer SPECIAL MEALS to only cutomers in the Premium Cabin.......FC/BC and Premium Economy. These customers are paying a premium price that should offer them an expanded option. Way too many people fail to realize the space constraints on an aircraft or the fact that it is not a restaurant where unlimited supplies exist. The added costs of these SPECIAL MEALS more than likely drives up costs unnecessarily. If someone...

    One viable option would be to offer SPECIAL MEALS to only cutomers in the Premium Cabin.......FC/BC and Premium Economy. These customers are paying a premium price that should offer them an expanded option. Way too many people fail to realize the space constraints on an aircraft or the fact that it is not a restaurant where unlimited supplies exist. The added costs of these SPECIAL MEALS more than likely drives up costs unnecessarily. If someone has a restrictive diet, that is on You and you need to take precautions.

  78. tom Guest

    Make the portions of special meals smaller, less desirable looking and less tasty, and take away the dessert. That will quickly reduce orders.

    1. splane21 Member

      Dessert for most vegetarian special meals has (and always has been) just fruits. When I was younger I used to ask for real dessert and nice flight attendants used to always give it to me if they had extra (or now that Delta/United do ice cream flight attendants usually give it to me anyway)

  79. Daniel from Finland Guest

    Finnair knows how to handle this: while the regular food in Y is barely edible, the special meals are absolutely terrible, so after you have ordered a special meal once, you won't do it again. Moreover, the dropdown menu on their webpage might be long, but in reality, they are combining these meals so that no matter which special meal you order, you will end up with some super-bland vegetarian stuff without allergens that, in...

    Finnair knows how to handle this: while the regular food in Y is barely edible, the special meals are absolutely terrible, so after you have ordered a special meal once, you won't do it again. Moreover, the dropdown menu on their webpage might be long, but in reality, they are combining these meals so that no matter which special meal you order, you will end up with some super-bland vegetarian stuff without allergens that, in theory, suits everybody and, in reality, suits nobody.

    1. DaBluBoi Guest

      Huh, I thought I was the only one in thinking their special meals were garbage. Couldn't even take a second bite

  80. Jeffrey Erlbaum Guest

    About 22 years ago I was traveling BA to Europe with my family. I was booked in premium economy and cleared an upgrade for business class. When I got to the counter the agent told me I could not be upgraded because I had ordered a special meal. The agent said an economy meal could not be served in business class. I pleaded with the agent, asked for a supervisor, but there was no changing their minds, it was against policy. I haven't ordered a special meal since.

  81. John Guest

    SAS has begun charging for special meals, however kosher meal is still free (hard to guess which special meal is now the most popular).

    1. splane21 Member

      Yup paid $10 for Asian Vegetarian meal each way on SAS and it was the most disgusting meal I have ever eaton on a plane

  82. Tom Guest

    Agree with FA's. Willing to bet most of the people requesting "special" meals would be the least likely to pay for them

  83. Sel, D. Guest

    Special meals last. Will sort itself out.

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flying100 Member

Best idea. Invest in your catering. Many people order special meals just because it tastes better than regular meals. I am Jewish and I only eat Kosher, I never had an issue before, and no, not always do special meals arrive first. I flew lately quite a few times on BA Euro club and I ordered a Kosher meal, they had it in the same trolley as all other meals and delivered it row by row. I was in the back and was served last.

4
Duck Ling Guest

As a crew member for a large (non US) western legacy airline 'special meals' are a PITA. When I first started flying we'd have 5 or 6 on a flight. Now (route dependent) we will have anything from 20 to 100 per flight, all delivered by hand. Another issue that is happening is more and more passengers with increasingly complex meal requests. For example 'I am Vegan but also Gluten Intolerant' or 'I ordered a kosher meal but I am allergic to fish'. Just addressing a few of the comments: - caterers just label meals with seat numbers. At my airline this doesn't happen. Which I am thankful for. The caterers prepare these meal trays greater than 24hrs out from departure. The amount of seat changes we have between then and departure are significant. We have the SPML seat numbers showing on our hand held devices and sometimes even an hour before boarding the seats will change. - consolidate more meal choices. I am all for this and my airline does do this - however they are not transparent about it when people book a meal. And, some people get upset by it. I have had many a 'vegetarian' meal passengers express disappointment to me that they had been provided a 'vegan' meal. Same with those ordering a 'Hindu' meal which have been provided with an 'Asian Vegetarian' meal. If airlines are going to consolidate meals into fewer categories for both streamlining and cost savings, reduce the amount of options on the list.

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Auspointer Guest

“The flight attendant representative makes several proposals, though they mostly seem kind of half-baked.” LOL! I saw what you did there :)

2
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