We may complain about the food on airlines nowadays – the downward trend of quality, if we actually GET a meal, etc. But if nothing else, airlines really do try to be accommodating to passengers’ special dietary requests, especially when the airline offers a full meal.
Some options may include:
For passengers who need meals with certain medical concerns in mind:
- Allergen Free
- Bland (generally soft foods that are low in fiber and not spicy)
- High Fiber
- Low Sodium
- Low Fat
- Low Protein
- Low Purine (Purine is a chemical that increases uric acid, which puts some people at risk for gout)
- Low Calorie
Passengers of certain religions may be able to request meals that are in compliance with their religious guidelines:
- Halal (Muslim)
- Hindu (Hindu)
- Kosher (Jewish)
- Jain (Jain)
They may also offer special meals for those who eat plant-based diets:
- Fruit platter
- Raw vegetables
- Vegetarian (Standard or Lacto-Ovo)
Of course, not every airline will have every option. And there may be other options besides the ones above, as well, depending on your flight. For example, here are links to what the U.S.-based legacy airlines offer as options for special meals:
Generally speaking, airlines won’t have the special meal in question unless these requests are made ahead of time. After all, storage space is at a premium, and although a peanut- or gluten-free meal request may come up on a relatively regular basis, no one knows how many of any meal requests may be on any given flight at any given time. So airlines ask that these meals be requested in advance.
This brings us to a situation that was reported on Reddit not all that long ago, in their “MaliciousCompliance” subreddit.
Anyway, the post involved a flight attendant from the UK. Their name on Reddit is “Troikos,” and they have 10 years of service under their wing. Of course, being a flight attendant, especially in this day and age, isn’t an easy job. Your main job is to keep everyone safe, but you also have to deal with rude passengers all the time. Some of them truly deserve a medal for their service.
Anyway, this one flight attendant, who got tired of a passenger’s manipulative behavior, managed to get their revenge on them in the perfect way. Here’s their story (edited only for adult language):
Okay so just to preface this. I’m a Cabin Crew member (Flight Attendant). I’ve been doing it for over 10y. Any issues that crop up during my work day I will bend over backwards to accommodate people, if I can. However, there are unfortunately a handful of people that are dishonest to try and get what they want. Fake injuries to try and get upgraded, fake birthdays, you name it, people have tried it and believe you me, I’ve had loads of scenarios where people try to cheat the system because it makes them feel special or that they have one upped me, I guess?
Let me tell you about a fake vegetarian I had on board… He was flying in economy (coach) in the 2nd from last row. He wanted the pasta option. I apologised and told him due to popular demand we had ran out in the middle of the cabin, but we had the chicken option instead if he wanted that. Without skipping a beat he said “I’m a vegetarian. Last time they brought me a meal from business class, so I will just wait for that”.
Now, this is something I would have offered anyway as a nicety, (if available), as I’m not too much of a d*ck and I genuinely like helping people out, if I can. (After all, it’s a 747, not a 7-Eleven, as the saying goes 😂).
Anyway, the way he just expected it right off the bat before I could even offer a solution left a slightly bad taste in my mouth. And also I smelled a rat. I was 99% sure that I had cleared in an empty packet of smokey bacon Crisps from him earlier on, and no, they weren’t a veggy brand as I have the same ones occasionally. I was certain that he was being picky and wanted a higher quality meal. (Plus, any regular flyer would know how often we run out of the veggy option and to preorder a veggy meal). I said ‘It’s unfortunate that you didn’t pre order a vegetation meal, I will see what I can do for you though, just give me 5 mins to finish up here 😁”.
Anyway, I went up to Business Class. They had also ran out of the Veggy option. So I went up to First Class and asked if they could spare anything. We ended up putting a few leaves together with a bit of dressing. (They spend £1000s more up there and can dine at any time, so they didn’t want me taking any of the hot Veggy options in case someone wanted it later. Fair enough 🤷🏻♂️). Then I thought… I could probably have some fun with this fake Vegetarian. Cue malicious compliance.
I brought it back down on a Silver tray and held it above his eyeline so he couldn’t see what it was. I explained that unfortunately the vegetarian business class option had run out, then he went to cut me off so he could complain, but I held up my hand and said “However ✋🏻😁, I managed to go one step further and I got the last vegetarian meal from FIRST CLASS 😱🎉 Then I pulled the linen cloth off the top of the tray as I placed the salad down in front of him. (It really was a very basic but large salad and his face said it all 😂) .
His face went from a smug “Haha, I worked the system” to “Wtf is that?!” within 2/3 seconds flat.
He then said “I wanted something hot, I’ll just have the chicken then”. I put on a shocked face and said “I cannot give you that Sir, I would feel awful.” He responded with “Don’t worry about it, it’s fine”. I gave him an “Are you sure you’re vegetarian? 🤔”‘ look and brought back the chicken, by which point it had been sat drying up in the oven a little bit longer. Bon appetite 😉
Just to say, even if he was a real vegetarian, he should have pre ordered. Same goes for Gluten Free, Vegan, Children’s Meal, Diabetic, etc…
Anyway, that’s my story. Sorry if I rambled a bit 😂
The post went up about 3-4 weeks ago and got about 500 replies, most of which agreed with the FA in question. But it also brought up a couple of interesting points:
- People who’ve pre-ordered their meal tend to get it first. That way people who really need, for example, a gluten-free meal (because they’re Celiac, etc.), instead just “prefer” having a GF meal, will hopefully get it.
- Some people who’ve pre-ordered special meals still don’t get one.
— “Sigh. I’ve never been offered anything more than a bag of chips as a “sorry” for that.” — Electronic_World_894
— “This. I have preordered and the flight attendant confirms they received my preorder, but they still end up giving away my meal to someone else. So I go hungry.” — SiskoandDax
- “I’m old, so I remember meals on flights. I would always try to get the first flight in the morning, because you could get cereal and a muffin, and even Delta couldn’t f**k that up.” — BlueLanternKitty
- “Vegetarian frequent flyers also know to ask for “just the set up” if their choice isn’t available. They’ll get the side salad, bread, etc. from the meal without the hot main dish.” — Throckmorten_Left
- I admit that I accidentaly did this once, many years ago. I had moved to the back row as it was empty (14hr Sydney to Dubai flight), so the only thing left was the fish option. Now airline food is bad enough, but airline fish sounds like a recipe for disaster. I declined, I can live with skipping one meal, but she kept pushing it on me, so I eventually said I was allergic to fish, and not to worry, but I’d love another glass of wine if she got a chance after food service, and then settled back down to watch a movie.
Twenty minutes later, I’d completely put it out of my mind, but she comes down the aisle and hands me a huge tray and tells me she’d managed to get a first class meal for me, and also just handed me a bottle of the wine she was serving, and a pass to the business class lounge on our stopover (6 hrs in Dubai before flying on to London). I felt so guilty (although I enjoyed the hell out of it!). — Araucaria2024
- I had a coworker who travelled over 100,000 miles a year. He knew which meals on which airlines were best and would pre-order them. Apparently the Kosher option is pretty good. — Newbosterone [Note from Sharon: that’s what I had always heard, too. Never took advantage of it, though]
- (In reply to above) I keep kosher and let me tell ya, kosher airplane is almost always awful. If it’s better than the non-kosher food, than the normal meals must be horrendous. — theturtlegame
- It seems that airlines try to make a special meal fit a lot of needs. That actually came in handy on my last flight. I’m diabetic who was temporarily on insulin for pregnancy so I pre-booked a diabetic friendly meal. Which is funny because they’re not particularly lower in carbs, they just tell you how many carbs there are so you can dose properly. But I noticed on the flight out that the diabetic meal was also the gluten free, vegetarian, kosher option. — misoranomegami
The story reminded me of something a friend of mine told me, years ago. She worked for U.S. Air, as a reservationist. She said that most people she spoke to on the phone were fine, but some were “real pills.” If someone got her mad enough on the phone, she’d quietly check the box to put them down for a Hindu meal (“Non-vegetarian, Indian-style meal prepared according to Hindu customs that contains no beef, veal or pork, but with lamb, domestic fowl, other meats, fish and milk products.”) and not tell them. 😉 I think it is a little more assertive than “malicious compliance,” but it certainly made me laugh at the time (as well as realize to not p*ss off airline workers).
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary