Booked on BA, but MH won't cater?

Old Mar 17, 2024, 11:49 pm
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Booked on BA, but MH won't cater?

We're flying in J with Malaysian and booked via ba.com but my partner is a strict vegan for dietary reasons and Malaysian Airlines does "not offer" vegan special meals on our route, only vegetarian. Aside from seeming absurd they can't arrange this with advance notice, is there any recourse? Would a complaint to ba.com be the best course of action?

Never had an issue like this before so unsure what to do!
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Old Mar 18, 2024, 12:10 am
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I donít understand the logic of complaining to BA over another airlineís policy?
What route are you flying?
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Old Mar 18, 2024, 12:23 am
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Have to agree with surryson. BA allows you to book flights with many partner airlines, however that doesnít make them responsible for the offerings of those other airlines. You wonít get anything out of a complaint to BA on this matter.

Best course of action is to either rebook on a different carrier that offers a vegan meal if that is important to you, or alternatively to self-cater. Iíve always found it best not to assume that any meal request, even when confirmed, will actually be to oneís liking/expectations.
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Old Mar 18, 2024, 12:33 am
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Originally Posted by surryson
I don’t understand the logic of complaining to BA over another airline’s policy?
What route are you flying?
DPS to KUL. I thought maybe naively that as it was marketed and sold by them that they'd be able to help. She's got a vegan meal request set up on our account so it's not unreasonable to expect this to be catered for. Of course IT limitations meant neither BA nor MH notified us that she wouldn't be able to eat on this flight. We will of course self-cater for her but you shouldn't have to do that in business class (or any cabin) for a valid dietary requirement.
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Old Mar 18, 2024, 12:38 am
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to the extent you can complain, your complaint is really with MH tho - unless BA promised something they have failed to deliver as the selling agent.

can i ask what you mean by getting recourse? i think the best you will get (if anything) is some small goodwill gesture.

it is a good spot however and highlights that not all airlines may provide the full range of special meals.
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Old Mar 18, 2024, 1:00 am
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MH had some pretty severe catering issues late last year, particularly on regional routes (which I would guess DPS-KUL falls under). They only appear to have partially resolved reasonably recently, with perhaps some small incremental improvements still coming. The lack of meal options might be a consequence.

Malaysia to end 26-year contract with caterer Brahims'.

My only other thought is that BA has a document detailing all the ingredients in their meals - "Chef's Chat". I would imagine MH has something similar. Perhaps if you ordered the vegetarian meal and asked for the ingredients list there's always a chance you might get lucky and find it's also vegan, even though you wouldn't know until onboard.
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Old Mar 18, 2024, 1:02 am
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Iíll be blunter than others: I donít think there is a valid complaint here unless BA didnít warn you that you were booking a codeshare (which they did).

Those warnings come for a reason: with codeshares, it is for the customer to familiarise him/herself with the service of the operating airline. In fact, the ba website has various warnings that service may differ on flights operated by partners. People may be surprised that MH does not offer a vegan special meal on your route (or indeed ksml on any route I believe) just like they might be surprised BA does not offer ksml on European night stops and just like they might be surprised AA does not offer a meal at all in J/F on flights under a certain distance. Many airlines also only offer spml (or some spml) in j/f but not in y/w. Such are the joys and perils of codeshares when it comes to food, and I wonít even start on differences that pertain to seat selection, cabin layouts, boarding processes and the likes.

As for the suggestion that given advance notice, they have ample time to basically offer something they donít offer, Iím sorry to say thatís flying pink elephants territory. I wonít say no airline would ever do that because I can think of one exception, which was in fact MHís neighbours from Garuda when they had first class. They had great ambition to offer the most personalised F service in the world, and used to encourage customers to mention special requests and would notably go get them food on order if people said at few days before the flight: ďIíd really like to eat a gado gado (or a McDonalds or whatever)Ē, but an exception is exactly what this was, and BA, MH and others will not do that, not even in F, let alone in J or Y.

Iím sorry for your partner - itís unpleasant to be left without food one is able to eat. As a practical mitigation, given the flight is in C, Iíd take a careful look at other alternatives offered as some may in fact have a high likelihood of vegan dishes (notably Indian/Asian vegetarian alternatives) which can be double checked with crew onboard) but you are doing the right thing by self catering. Beyond that, whilst you can of course complain about anything to anyone, I donít think there is an apt course of action here or one likely to get you anywhere.

Last edited by orbitmic; Mar 18, 2024 at 2:25 pm
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Old Mar 18, 2024, 1:26 am
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I flew with MH LHR KUL in C at the end of last year . Every passenger was made to either sign a disclaimer that they accepted there would be minimal catering on board and fly or if they declined to sign they were offloaded . This was at check in . It was all very odd. I ate plenty in the Qatar Lounge , bought some snacks and was happy enough . Onboard they bizarrely had full catering after all. I was very full !

Sadly, having flown them many times in the past, Malaysian are a shadow of their former selves . They used to be on par with SQ.

I would try and get a meal together in the lounge and take something onboard and have a bit of a giggle plating it up nicely . The food offering in C on regional MH flights is pretty poor now a days . On my last flight I had a foil container of curry and rice . On flights under 3 hours there is no alcohol except for beer .


Actually I have had a look and their website says they do Vegan meals on the DPS route and there is now even a pre departure chef on call menu ? Might be worth double checking ? https://www.malaysiaairlines.com/uk/en/experience/in-flight-offerings/dining-experience.html#chef-on-call-business
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Last edited by simonsmith; Mar 18, 2024 at 1:54 am
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Old Mar 18, 2024, 1:39 am
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As simonsmith points out above, Malaysian are a shadow of their former selves. However there are good reasons for that.
Sadly they had two major aircraft losses in the last few years along with Covid, which would be tough for any airline to recover from.
So they fact that they are still going and you are able to fly on them is positive. But not getting a meal to exactly suit your dietary preference is IMHO a very minor negative. I also have certain preferences, but cannot always get what I wantÖ but that is lifeÖ I accept it and move on. Trying to pressure BA for something that is clearly both a minor issue and not under their control anywayÖ is in my view very unreasonable. Just my two pence.
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Old Mar 18, 2024, 1:56 am
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Originally Posted by BA or bust
the fact that they are still going and you are able to fly on them is positive. But not getting a meal to exactly suit your dietary preference is IMHO a very minor negative. I also have certain preferences, but cannot always get what I want… but that is life… I accept it and move on. Trying to pressure BA for something that is clearly both a minor issue and not under their control anyway… is in my view very unreasonable. Just my two pence.
Why does the phrase "just my two pence" always follow someone being condescending?

I just want my partner to be able to eat her dietary requirement (not preference) as a meal is a basic component of an airline's business class offering
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Old Mar 18, 2024, 2:02 am
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Originally Posted by simonsmith
I flew with MH LHR KUL in C at the end of last year . Every passenger was made to either sign a disclaimer that they accepted there would be minimal catering on board and fly or if they declined to sign they were offloaded . This was at check in . It was all very odd. I ate plenty in the Qatar Lounge , bought some snacks and was happy enough . Onboard they bizarrely had full catering after all. I was very full !

Sadly, having flown them many times in the past, Malaysian are a shadow of their former selves . They used to be on par with SQ.

I would try and get a meal together in the lounge and take something onboard and have a bit of a giggle plating it up nicely . The food offering in C on regional MH flights is pretty poor now a days . On my last flight I had a foil container of curry and rice . On flights under 3 hours there is no alcohol except for beer .


Actually I have had a look and their website says they do Vegan meals on the DPS route and there is now even a pre departure chef on call menu ? Might be worth double checking ? https://www.malaysiaairlines.com/uk/...-call-business
How strange to be asked to sign a disclaimer failing which you will be offloaded. Was that their way of avoiding complaints/compensation further down the line? If so, it's pretty poor behaviour. I wonder if anyone took the offload option.
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Old Mar 18, 2024, 2:08 am
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I'm pretty sure in the T's&C's the meal is complimentary - i.e. you're not paying for it. That was how BA managed to get away with offering basically nothing during the catering strike many years ago. Therefore, whilst I sympathise with your issue, asking them to do something beyond normal for an element you are not paying for, is likely to unlikely to get much traction. (I know you are actually paying for it, but the way it is positioned helps them not do what you wish in situations as you describe.)
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Old Mar 18, 2024, 2:09 am
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I'm sure BA would have a good laugh if you lodged a complaint with them. No way they'd offer any kind of gesture IMO. Isn't it a sub 3 hour flight, anyway? Hardly the end of the world.
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Old Mar 18, 2024, 2:10 am
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Originally Posted by infrequentflytalker
Why does the phrase "just my two pence" always follow someone being condescending?

I just want my partner to be able to eat her dietary requirement (not preference) as a meal is a basic component of an airline's business class offering
Perhaps you could change this into a positive experience for you both by getting together a little surprise meal of favourite things for them and serving it yourself onboard ? It would be much better than any airline meal . You could even add a flower or two for that special touch .

I donít think the above was meant to be condescending, itís a commonly used phrase in the UK. Itís a humble way of offering an opinion saying that the opinion is only worth 2 pence .
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Old Mar 18, 2024, 2:13 am
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Originally Posted by South London Bon Viveur
How strange to be asked to sign a disclaimer failing which you will be offloaded. Was that their way of avoiding complaints/compensation further down the line? If so, it's pretty poor behaviour. I wonder if anyone took the offload option.
It was a two sided sheet of paper and yes basically did the above . I was rushing out last minute for my Mum in Laws Funeral so just needed to get there .
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