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Special Meals - Questions, Experiences, ... [Consolidated]

Special Meals - Questions, Experiences, ... [Consolidated]

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Old Jun 14, 19, 9:23 am   -   Wikipost
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UA In-flight Special meals

Which flights can I request a special meal?
International flights
Special meals are available on all international trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific and most intra-PacificFootnote * flights. Special meals are also available on South American flights to/from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru. (Note that vegetarian lacto-ovo meals are currently available in the premium cabin only.)

*Special meals are only available in United Business® on flights between Guam and Honolulu. Special meals are not available on flights departing from Kosrae (Micronesia), Kwajalein (Marshall Islands), Majuro (Marshall Islands), Pohnpei (Micronesia), Koror (Palau), Sendai (Japan), Truk (Micronesia), and Yap (Micronesia).

U.S. flights

Special meals are available in premium cabins on the following U.S. flights with scheduled meal service:
  • Premium transcontinental flights
  • From the continental U.S. to Hawaii
  • From Honolulu and Maui to the continental U.S.
  • New in 2018 Special meals are available on most North America premium cabin flights 2,000 miles or longer.

    Note: Some special meals may not be available in every market.

Special meals must be requested at least 24 hours in advance and if requested earlier, it seems a good practice to verify again at the 24 hour point. Note, if the special meal is of importance, it may be appropriate to have a backup plan, just in case. For a variety of reasons, the special meal may not be actually available and the crew may not be able to provide any acceptable alternatives. Don't take a chance in a critical situation, have an backup alternative.

See the website for the current list of options.
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Old Feb 20, 14, 2:26 pm
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Location: Paris, France
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Special Meals - Questions, Experiences, ... [Consolidated]

I have booked a UA flight, and I would like to know how to request a special meal.
I was on "manage my booking", but I couldn't find anything...
LY777 is offline  
Old Feb 20, 14, 2:37 pm
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3Cforme is offline  
Old Feb 20, 14, 2:40 pm
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Originally Posted by LY777 View Post
I have booked a UA flight, and I would like to know how to request a special meal.
I was on "manage my booking", but I couldn't find anything...
ctownflyer is offline  
Old Feb 20, 14, 2:48 pm
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So, it is not possible to request online if I understand correctly. What a shame!
LY777 is offline  
Old Feb 20, 14, 2:51 pm
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Originally Posted by LY777 View Post
So, it is not possible to request online if I understand correctly. What a shame!
You can request it as part of the booking process, but if you don't, you have to call. Also, note that not all flights support special meals (the only domestic flights that allow them are between EWR/JFK and SFO/LAX, and to/from Hawaii).
mahasamatman is offline  
Old Feb 20, 14, 2:56 pm
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Does the flight offer meal service?...many domestic flights do not offer any meals at all.
dlinsider is offline  
Old Feb 20, 14, 3:15 pm
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If an international flight is involved, you can request it online under "Edit Traveler Information".

For the handful number of domestic flights where they do offer special meals, you'll need to call.
PTahCha is offline  
Old Sep 9, 14, 12:39 am
Join Date: Apr 2014
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The special meal that exists, only you can't order it...

My partner is a "non-moral" pescetarian, choosing not to eat meat out of personal preference.

To meet this, she's faced with the choice of "Asian Vegetarian" or "Vegan (Strict)" as a special meal.

However, on board a TATL flight from SFO, we learned that they cater a number of "vegetarian" meals on board most flights for those who have not ordered a special meal.

This is usually a vegetarian pasta from what we were told.

Why does this meal, which is exactly what she wants exist, yet can't be ordered?

Additionally, having to order the Asian Vegetarian meal means the pre-landing snack is a pot of apple sauce and crackers, and I can't think of anyone, other than a United customer ordering this special meal for whom this is a normal breakfast.

Why doesn't United offer this as a normal special meal, and can anyone suggest why there isn't a "lacto-ovo" vegetarian meal on United? AC and other *A carriers have this.
skycrab is offline  
Old Sep 9, 14, 1:03 am
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as someone in the same non-moral pescetarian boat as your partner, the lack of a lacto-ovo option is certainly one of the frustrating facets of UA's generally indifferent attitude towards non-carnivores. i could be wrong, but i believe it used to be an option even after the merger.

i don't bother setting a meal preference. i've done it in the past, and the vegan dishes are fantastically bad. although the non-meat options are rarely good, i don't recall a flight where i've gone hungry (although my upcoming island hop on UA154 has me worried with the ham sandwich lunch). as an example, when in domestic first for breakfast, i'll have the FA simply not serve me the sausage with the quiche. i'm okay with not knowing whether the sausage is packaged separately from the rest of the plate.

what i've found amusing is that there are two options for "vegan (strict) vegetarian" where you select your meal preference in your profile. perhaps one of these is the lacto-ovo option that's gone missing?

riphamilton is offline  
Old Sep 9, 14, 1:14 am
Join Date: Jun 2014
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This is what I wrote to them on the survey about it:

Whilst the cabin crew were brilliant beyond recognition - the thing that was very disheartening was the fact I had to order an "Asian Vegetarian" meal as I do not eat meat based on non moral reasons, and then a vegetarian meal was offered to everyone as part of normal service. It frustrates me greatly every time I fly in economy that I have to order a strict (practically vegan) meal because United do not offer a simple 'vegetarian' meal. It frustrates me even more that I am given some form of crackers and apple sauce for breakfast?! Is that even a standard breakfast for anyone, anywhere in the world who hasn't ordered a United 'Asian Vegetarian' meal?

I now understand that there is normally a small amount of vegetarian meals that are standard tray items carried on board that are offered to customers that I cannot order for myself online? Why is that? I just don't understand why because I don't eat meat, I am not given a delicious chocolate snack as part of my meal, but instead a rather scary looking yellow cookie coloured with tartrazine and 'sunset yellow' coupled with a very uninspiring pot of plain yoghurt.

I am not given fruit for breakfast, despite this being the highest form of vegetarian there is! The croissant given as standard is vegetarian, but I am deprived of this? I really just don't understand why?

In conclusion, this has been ongoing for a while now and I am deeply unsatisfied with the choices on board for people who simply don't eat meat. I would like to be able to order a pasta dish not containing meat and get all the benefits of croissants, non sunset yellow cookies, chocolate treats, butter, bread, fruit and a landing snack that's actually edible!
skyhedgehog is offline  
Old Sep 9, 14, 1:32 am
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Simple solution: don't order a special meal anymore.

I agree that it is stupid that you cannot confirm this in advance, but UA loads sufficient vegetarian meals and now you know.
MatthewLAX is offline  
Old Sep 9, 14, 1:47 am
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I'm confused, why are you ordering that meal when there's always a non-strict vegetarian option, i.e. pasta, being offered as part of the regular meal service? Can't you just select the pasta when they come through? Or is it that you're worried that they may run out of those?
itsMoe is offline  
Old Sep 9, 14, 2:35 am
Join Date: Jun 2014
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Having only just found out about them, I previously didn't know they existed. Going forward 1) I am worried that they are not offered on every flight, 2) As you mention they may run out, the crew told me they only do about 10 and 3) I don't get why you can't just order them online before you fly so you are safe in knowledge that you will not go hungry!
skyhedgehog is offline  
Old Sep 9, 14, 3:21 am
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Only 10? That can't be right. You get a choice of two meals in coach. One is something with meat, usually a chicken/beef+rice or chicken/beef+mashed potatoes contraption, while the other option is a vegetarian pasta option, usually in a tomato or cream sauce with cheese.

I've never seen them run out of the pasta, even when sitting in e- in the back. I'm having a hard time believing that they only load 10 such meals for an entire widebody.
itsMoe is offline  
Old Sep 9, 14, 3:23 am
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They may have limited quantities. On a flight recently in e+ in the second row, the FAs were forcing everyone to have the meat option as they had to leave the other option for those who were genuinely vegetarian - or so they said.
lhrsfo is offline  

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