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Japan Airlines serves up vegan food: A Banana

Nevertheless, was the breakfast ever meant to be a full meal?

The surprise of receiving a vegan breakfast consisting of a banana and nothing else has been described by a Japan Airlines business class guest. The traveler had specifically requested a vegetarian vegan meal, and even utensils and a pair of chopsticks were sent along with the fruit.

One banana is provided for vegan travelers.

On February 20, the incident happened on a Japan Airlines flight between Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK) and Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT). Using the user name “Kris Chari,” Kris Chari shared his story on the flyertalk aviation site.

Fortunately, the traveler found the humor in the situation and said that the banana was “one of the best” he’d recently had. Perhaps it would be more understandable if the traveler had unexpectedly asked for a vegan dinner and the airline was unprepared. Chari noted, however, that he had in fact reserved a Vegetarian Vegan Meal (VGML), and had checked this with the flight attendant before receiving his banana.

Chari uttered,

“Today’s flight attendant confirmed that I had ordered VGML and that my breakfast consisted of a banana before takeoff, which I took to mean that breakfast included a banana. I mistakenly though the banana she brought out after takeoff was simply a meh appetizer, but it was actually the complete lunch service! It was one of the finest bananas I’ve recently tasted, yet it still seems more fitting as a snack. Is CGK catering always this disappointing?”

More funnier was the crew’s choice to give Chari chopsticks and utensils to eat his banana with. One can order special meals in advance of a flight through Japan Airlines’ website or by calling one of the airline’s call centers. The special inflight meals page for the airline features an image of a typical vegan lunch made up of many plant-based foods.

An entire breakfast or a snack?

In contrast to the late-night flight (JL726) leaving at 21:35, which, according to Japan Airlines’ website, does not provide breakfast, Chari’s trip out of CGK looks to be the early morning 06:35 rotation (JL720), as one commentator on flyertalk pointed out.

A look at the standard business class menu for the February flight JL720 reveals that there is no mention of a breakfast meal either. Instead, passengers were likely given a snack and some drinks before receiving a full lunch service a few hours later. This may help to explain why the vegan “breakfast” was so meh because a complete breakfast was never intended.

A complete lunch of “barely seasoned spaghetti” was eventually given to the passenger. Japan Airlines has been contacted by Simple Flying for comment on this article; an update will be given when they respond.

Other problematic vegan dishes

It’s not the first time a vegan has been given a dubious “meal,” and it most likely won’t be the last either. According to The Independent, a female passenger on an Air Canada flight who requested a vegan meal was astonished to only receive a single bottle of water.

She was eventually given a makeshift dinner of fruit and bread rolls made from trays from the business class that were left behind. An animal-based meal featuring butter and cheese was delivered to a British Airlines passenger in 2020 despite their request for a vegan choice.

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