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Special Meals - Questions, Experiences,... only AVML, GFML, Kosher, VGML meals

Special Meals - Questions, Experiences,... only AVML, GFML, Kosher, VGML meals

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Old Sep 24, 22, 12:50 am   -   Wikipost
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We are working hard to return our special meal program to more flights across the United network. Check for the latest updates on special meal availability below. As a reminder, vegetarian options are offered on all flights where a meal service is provided. Regular vegetarian options do not require a special meal request. However, these options are available for pre-order on select flights. Refer to the Preorder Meal page for further details.

Special meals


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 Jul 21, 22, 9:44 pm
  #391  
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Originally Posted by uastarflyer View Post
anomaly for sure. Iíve flown 837 SFO-NRT many times going back to the 744 days <sigh> and it has always been a logically paired Indian meal. Plus sometimes a salad, which doesnít really match but I like anyways.

I just returned SIN-SFO and ironically my Indian entree was paired with a western bun instead of naan. SIN catering should know better
I received the western bun instead of the naan ex-EWR. The latest Kirby Kutback?
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Old Jul 26, 22, 6:02 pm
  #392  
 
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If you order a special meal, do the ingredients get listed on the meal, e.g. a sticker on the plastic or something? Long story, there's serious allergies in the family and even with VGML, there could be allergens in the meal, and the only way to know if an ingredient list is provided. Of course will pack a backup meal, but would be great if they could assess the VGML meal and see if it's an OK option.
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Old Jul 26, 22, 7:30 pm
  #393  
 
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Originally Posted by bioyuki View Post
If you order a special meal, do the ingredients get listed on the meal, e.g. a sticker on the plastic or something? Long story, there's serious allergies in the family and even with VGML, there could be allergens in the meal, and the only way to know if an ingredient list is provided. Of course will pack a backup meal, but would be great if they could assess the VGML meal and see if it's an OK option.
I have never seen, across all airlines and all these years, any ingredient list on the special meal tray. I haven't asked the flight crew if they have one for my meal, but I would assume not. Most of them don't know the difference between vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.

Passengers with serious allergies should self-cater to be on the safe side.
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Old Jul 26, 22, 8:30 pm
  #394  
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Originally Posted by bioyuki View Post
If you order a special meal, do the ingredients get listed on the meal, e.g. a sticker on the plastic or something?l.
not on UA, NH, or SQ From my experience
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Old Jul 26, 22, 9:02 pm
  #395  
 
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Originally Posted by bioyuki View Post
If you order a special meal, do the ingredients get listed on the meal, e.g. a sticker on the plastic or something? Long story, there's serious allergies in the family and even with VGML, there could be allergens in the meal, and the only way to know if an ingredient list is provided. Of course will pack a backup meal, but would be great if they could assess the VGML meal and see if it's an OK option.
KSML would strictly avoid several allergies.
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Old Jul 26, 22, 10:07 pm
  #396  
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Originally Posted by ctownflyer View Post
I'd guess that it's Fresko, but try reaching out to UA (CS or media) to see if they can confirm who the supplier is for that route in both directions. KSMLs can be a 1 or a 10 based on the supplier.
​​​​​​
I flew EWR-JNB-EWR in J last October, but that was before KSMLs were restored. But it's a great flight to get in some work and a full night of sleep without much jetlag.
I reached out and no one at UA could tell me.

I ordered a Kosher meal from LAX-EWR and it was not loaded.
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Old Jul 27, 22, 12:43 am
  #397  
 
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Originally Posted by MatthewLAX View Post
I reached out and no one at UA could tell me.

I ordered a Kosher meal from LAX-EWR and it was not loaded.
Per my advice upthread hopefully you brought food.
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Old Jul 27, 22, 8:07 am
  #398  
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
Per my advice upthread hopefully you brought food.
I had the ravioli, which was fine - but that choice has been with us for over a year now.

The smart move was having a feast in the Newark Polaris Lounge, which made the mediocre food just fine on my EWR-CPT flight.
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Old Jul 27, 22, 9:08 am
  #399  
 
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Originally Posted by MatthewLAX View Post
I reached out and no one at UA could tell me.

I ordered a Kosher meal from LAX-EWR and it was not loaded.
FA gave me a $250 ETC on the spot when they forgot to load my CLE-LAX KSML earlier this year.

All of the KSMLs from US airports will be Regal frozen meals except for ex-EWR flights which are supposed to all be Fresko, but there have been some reported exceptions where those have been Regal.
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Old Jul 27, 22, 10:05 am
  #400  
 
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Originally Posted by ctownflyer View Post
FA gave me a $250 ETC on the spot when they forgot to load my CLE-LAX KSML earlier this year.
My wife received no compensation in late May when they didn't load a GFML on MUC-IAD in Business. They did cobble something together which turned out significantly better than the slop provided on the outbound (IAH-MUC). If you think the regular Polaris meals were bad, this was far worse, and I'm trying to be nice. In fact some of what was provided on the outbound may not have been gluten free - it was something like a pita wrapped in foil with no labeling. Almost like someone's leftovers.

On long haul, if they are going to offer special meals, there really does need to be some level of effort to ensure guidelines are met and clearly communicated.
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Old Jul 27, 22, 12:14 pm
  #401  
 
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Originally Posted by fed planner View Post
My wife received no compensation in late May when they didn't load a GFML on MUC-IAD in Business. They did cobble something together which turned out significantly better than the slop provided on the outbound (IAH-MUC). If you think the regular Polaris meals were bad, this was far worse, and I'm trying to be nice. In fact some of what was provided on the outbound may not have been gluten free - it was something like a pita wrapped in foil with no labeling. Almost like someone's leftovers.

On long haul, if they are going to offer special meals, there really does need to be some level of effort to ensure guidelines are met and clearly communicated.
My sentiments precisely. What I find extraordinary is that for a flight between the UK and the USA, for example, UA don't seem to be subject to the laws of either jurisdiction. You cannot serve in a commercial setting something purporting to be GF when it isn't. In the UK a list of ingredients has to be available - I don't think that's the case in the US - but UA seems to ignore all of this. I also have been given food containing gluten in a gluten free meal (I know because it was a packeted item which had an ingredient on it, and I've also been refused items which don't contain gluten. The sheer ignorance and arrogance of the FAs and UA's catering contractors defies description.
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Old Jul 27, 22, 1:23 pm
  #402  
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Originally Posted by ctownflyer View Post
FA gave me a $250 ETC on the spot when they forgot to load my CLE-LAX KSML earlier this year.

All of the KSMLs from US airports will be Regal frozen meals except for ex-EWR flights which are supposed to all be Fresko, but there have been some reported exceptions where those have been Regal.
I thought about asking, but didn't push the envelope. I should have.
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Old Jul 27, 22, 1:36 pm
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Originally Posted by bioyuki View Post
If you order a special meal, do the ingredients get listed on the meal, e.g. a sticker on the plastic or something? Long story, there's serious allergies in the family and even with VGML, there could be allergens in the meal, and the only way to know if an ingredient list is provided. Of course will pack a backup meal, but would be great if they could assess the VGML meal and see if it's an OK option.
I've never been under the impression the special meals - at least on United, are meant to address allergies and hence no ingredients are listed. The special meals are meant to address dietary restrictions versus allergies: Kosher, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free. I suspect UA does not want the liability possibilities of addressing allergies.

You aren't going to get much more than what is available on the UA website:

Vegan meals are available for those customers who exclude from their diets all foods derived from animals, including meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, honey, eggs and dairy products and their byproducts. The meal is based on Western/Mediterranean cuisine.
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Old Jul 27, 22, 2:19 pm
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
The special meals are meant to address dietary restrictions versus allergies: Kosher, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free.
I would guess that most people ordering a Gluten Free meal are doing so for allergy reasons, as opposed to general health, moral, and/or religious reasons that are usually the basis for the other meals.
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Old Jul 27, 22, 2:25 pm
  #405  
 
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Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
I would guess that most people ordering a Gluten Free meal are doing so for allergy reasons, as opposed to general health, moral, and/or religious reasons that are usually the basis for the other meals.
Perhaps - but the website goes out of the way to say the meal is for customers who are gluten-intolerant versus allergic to gluten.

If allergic to something - I'd always bring my own food.
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