A vegan airline passenger was given small snacks instead of a hot meal during a six-hour flight.
Juanita Headley, a TEDx speaker, attorney, and author who has maintained a vegan diet for 13 years, said her KLM flight from Ghana to Amsterdam on April 19 served her just fruit and nuts when everyone else received a full meal. Although Headley said she understood that the situation was due to a last-minute flight change, she said it still was not enough of an excuse.
“In this day and age where veganism isn’t a new phenomenon, it is unacceptable that a six-hour, long-haul flight doesn’t carry a few extra meals for situations like this, or at a minimum that the vegetarian meal is also vegan which would make life very simple for crew and passengers,” Headley told Insider.
A KLM spokesperson told Insider that the airline regretted the incident and offered “our sincere apologies,” but Headley said it was “appalling that all KLM did is say sorry.”
Headley’s situation is part of a larger pattern of vegan airline customers feeling shocked at the lack of options or preparedness on flights. A vegan airline passenger in Japan shared his experience of being served a single banana as breakfast on a long flight.
With vegetarianism and veganism on the rise in the U.S. and practiced by many around the world for centuries, Headley’s and stories like it don’t bode well for a significant and growing portion of air travelers. Most airlines request that customers indicate dietary restrictions at least 24 hours in advance, but during travel changes with limited time to buy meals between flights, Headley’s suggestion might soothe a few rumbling tummies.
The passenger served the single banana wrote on the online forum FlyerTalk, “It was a really good banana — one of the best I’ve had recently — but it still seems more appropriate as a snack,” he said. “It was cute of the crew to serve the banana with chopsticks, though!”
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