Recently I have been touting the virtues of international airlines. The standard services offered on such flights, usually complementary, are luxuries compared to anything I’ve experienced in recent years on domestic flights within the US. The past few months have afforded me several opportunities to fly with Air France, specifically, and I have been left with nothing to complain about (free wine to accompany my free and delicious dinner?! Yes please!).
But on this week’s Aer Lingus flight from Boston to Dublin I was asked a most shocking question: Chicken or beef?
For those who don’t know, I am a vegetarian (or pescatarian if you want to get specific). Now before you roll your eyes, let me explain my frustration here. I’m not trying to say “woe is me for not being able to eat a meal on a plane for free,” because let’s be honest: free meals are a thing of the past on US flights, and I’ll gladly take what I can get. But on international flights where people are converging on one plane from all over the world with different religious affiliations, health concerns and philosophical views, I find it hard to believe that not even a fish option is available (even if you were willing to pay for one). In a world of vegans and micro-vegetarians and who-knows-what-atarians, Aer Lingus is still constricting choice for its broad range of passengers and only offering chicken or beef.
I’m actually very used to having limited options as someone who has chosen to cut certain foods out of my diet. But for some people it isn’t a choice. And… it’s 2011. In the five years I’ve been a vegetarian, I’ve never been on a flight that didn’t offer a veggie or fish meal option (albeit for a price). Ever. Even in the US.
I still got to eat some salad and bread and a piece of individually packaged cheddar and had a bite or two of the dessert – which was cheesecake and tasted better than some I’ve had on the ground. But for being so behind the times, Aer Lingus’ reputation just got taken down a few notches in my book.