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What does a low-carb vegan do for in-flight meals on UA?

What does a low-carb vegan do for in-flight meals on UA?

Old Nov 23, 19, 12:52 am
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2015
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 204
What does a low-carb vegan do for in-flight meals on UA?

As a low-carb vegan, I've generally not ordered any special meal in more than a decade. The reason is that special meals like various vegetarian ones are usually loaded with carbs. If I had to pick my poison, I'd eat meat over carbs. More specifically, the only exception to the no-meat rule I have has been chicken and I've always found a chicken option on flights. But on a recent TPAC flight, the only choices were a carb-filled vegetarian pasta (with cream sauce) or pork. I ended up eating pork. Very reluctantly.

To avoid having to make such choices in the future, what does a person in my situation do? None of the special meals that UA offers is meat free and low carb.
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Old Nov 23, 19, 1:03 am
Join Date: Sep 2006
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Why not just pack something before the airport - or at the airport? Don't eat airline food.
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Old Nov 23, 19, 1:09 am
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: LAX / BUR
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Many of us are in your situation with dietary choices that don't match up perfectly with the airlines. I make my best educated bet and then either compromise like you've done or bring my own main or small sides which combined with portions of the airline meal can work fine. For me, TJs pouches of Indian curry and pita are easy, Ramen or other noodle cups, pretty much anything I can heat by adding hot water or surrounding w hot water. I've also brought on flavored tofu or other protein to eat w the airline salad and sides. Depending on class of service and how nice/non-stressed the FA seems, I've also waited until service is done and then asked if there are portions of the various meals I could nab to make myself a plate, YMMV.

It is unpredictable. I've had UA ex-Rome serve me raw veggies w olive oil as an Asian veg main meal in business. My recent Asian veg meal in Swiss business ex-LAX was horrendously bad on a 12 hour flight, but they had a spare pasta. My one hour Austrian connection served a fantastic curry. My bag was stocked w some fillins just in case, regardless.
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Old Nov 23, 19, 3:08 am
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: London & Sonoma CA
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I need to be gluten free and that's very hit or miss with UA - more miss than hit, really, at least in Business Class. The problem is that they eliminate all sorts of things which don't contain gluten but which make the meal edible. For example, butter and vinaigrette are both eliminated, making salads and GF bread completely unpalatable. Main courses tend to be dry and extremely bland. In economy I've even been served packeted items on the GFML tray which contain gluten.

The simple solution is to buy in the airport before boarding, but at SFO there is next to nothing which doesn't contain gluten as it's all bread based, or they add gluten to dressings etc. It's easier at LHR, my other main airport, where there are quite a few decent fresh choices, but little that will keep satisfactorily for the second meal.
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Old Nov 23, 19, 7:05 am
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Yeah, buying food at the airport isn't always practical because of variable food availability. Some airports are better than others. Besides, when you're traveling 20-30 hours (with connections), buying a salad (or even two) doesn't cut it. Unfortunately, one has to rely on the food airlines provide and complement it with stuff you take from home or buy at the airport. I've actually had better success at lounges in Asia, the Middle East and some European airports (mostly not Northern European ones, which rules out FRA & MUC). Thanks to Priority Pass, these days I rarely reach my destination famished or dealing with the debilitating effects of blood glucose crash (due to a few too many carbs consumed along the way). But it still happens, and the longer I have to fly on UA Y, the higher the chances of that happening. (Having said that, I've found UA business class food to be quite good and wholesome.)
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thebakaronis is offline  
Old Nov 23, 19, 7:11 am
Join Date: Oct 2011
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Do the same this carnivore does. Eat before you get on the plane.
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Old Nov 23, 19, 7:18 am
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Originally Posted by Plane-is-home View Post
Do the same this carnivore does. Eat before you get on the plane.
Eat at home for flights ranging from 14 hours to sometimes 30 hours? Seriously? I think our travel patterns are vastly different.
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Old Nov 23, 19, 7:23 am
Join Date: Feb 2017
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Special meals on airplanes is not something to be counted on. I’d eat before and bring something with me if I had to meat the OP’s requirements.
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Old Nov 23, 19, 7:31 am
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Fly private.
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Old Nov 23, 19, 7:46 am
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Sometimes, you just have to pack your own non-perishable meals and snacks. Then, if youíre lucky, you can supplement with items from the airport or onboard. Thatís what I do for my picky little boy. Weíve traveled all over the world that way.
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Old Nov 23, 19, 8:32 am
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: YUL
Posts: 678
I just pack food. Just cannot rely on airport or airline food. Not that hard for 30 hours. I can live on 4 protein bars, and some fruit. Then I will eat whatever I can from the airline meals. You can make it a huge problem, or you can just make the best out of what it is.
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Old Nov 23, 19, 8:41 am
Join Date: Jan 2016
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i have to agree with bogwoppit. I am an extremely fussy eater and rarely like airline food, so I just have something in the lounges, then I might find something to pick at, usually from the starters or dessert.
I can survive a flight without food , I rarely move so don't use up much calories!
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Old Nov 23, 19, 9:15 am
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Iíve been on a vegan diet for 20 years. If youíre flying United (hit 1K this year!), pack your own food ... especially on long haul. Otherwise, your best bet for good food on *A as a vegan is to fly BR or SQ on TPAC flights. They have acceptable food in both Y and J ... they have actual cooked vegetables and usually tofu.

Most of the time, when I know Iím traveling for a whole day, I pack a completely separate tote with all of my meals, never expecting to rely on airline/lounge food. Marinated/roasted tofu and seitan, seeds, nuts, salt/pepper, and avocados. Always making sure to finish any fresh fruits/veg before clearing customs/ag inspection.

Last two SFO-SIN flights and IAH-LIM on United have not loaded special meal request. Doesnít really matter, I have my food, and I get compensation for meals I probably wouldnít have eaten anyway. Flight back from LIM served me cold chickpeas and cold, undercooked eggplant for both servings in J
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Old Nov 23, 19, 10:28 am
Join Date: Jul 2006
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One thing that seems to not have evolved in the airline industry is food catering. Could be wrong though.
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Old Nov 23, 19, 10:39 am
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: SF Bay Area
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Just pack some stuff to eat on the flight maybe? Or just understand that a meal loaded with carbs or meat every once in a long while isn't going to hurt you. Life is all about moderation. If you eat that type of stuff an average of once every 3-12 months, your body isn't even gonna know the difference. Or if you just outright skip a meal once every 3-12 months too. Take your pick.

Now if you are a very frequent flyer the circumstances change, but I don't think a very frequent flyer would be asking this question so...

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Nov 23, 19 at 12:39 pm Reason: OT content removed
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