Air travel - experience versus expectation
The lack of travel in my 'younger' years!
I hadn't travelled much until I was about 25 years old and when I did, booking flights was something I'd happily leave to someone else. You can imagine the delight I felt when I was due to travel to India and learned of a travel agent who specialises in flights there. He gave me options, which were easy to digest and then make a choice. I went for Jet Airways.
The excitement about being catered for on the plane
Now, getting to the most important bit; I was very impressed with their choice of meal options!
For some reason, I get hungry on planes and stupidly, I expect to be catered for properly, especially if I've gone for an option which the airline readily offers. However, I was disappointed on 6 different occasions!
Experience versus expectation
Generally, the staff seemed to lack empathy and customer service left much to be desired! Although the vegetarian/vegan option is defined well; the staff who put the meals together, as well as, some who served it didn't know what a vegan diet included !
I was given Paneer and was told it was vegan. I was also given a dairy spread and dairy milk. If it was a mistake and they swapped it for a vegan option I would have been fine BUT there were no alternatives! They were also unclear about whether the bread had eggs or dairy in it.
So, I ended up eating fruit.
On one of the trips, the flight attendant said that there was meal for me but he didn't want to give it to me because although it was labelled vegan, he knew it wasn't. He said he didn't think the airline or other staff understood what vegan meant. He was as surprised as I was! Other attendants were telling him to give me the meal, telling him that I could eat it but he was right. It was not vegan!
What to do when you're flying and you have specific dietary requirements
When you have a particular dietary requirement, it's probably best not to expect too much from the airline. It may also be worth taking some snacks if you 'need' to be fed during the journey!
The hope for a better experience with Emirates
Some good news! After the sixth flight I decided to look into an alternative airline when travelling to India.
After the poor service I experienced with Jet Airways, I decided to try flying with Emirates.
Unfortunately, this started off badly but improved hugely after we stopped over, so do read on. :)
The team in the UK can't seem to get it right!
It seems that the UK catering department don't understand what vegan means but the Indian team do!
Here's the problem! When you flight out from the UK on an early flight, breakfast is continental. Even if you choose a vegan breakfast; I was told that this option includes a NON-vegan croissant and some fruit which has some sort of dairy in it! To top it off, there were no alternatives, so I was left with coffee! They gave me a sandwich but they didn't know if it had cheese in it. After some investigating, we realised that it did include dairy cheese so I decided not to eat and hoped that lunch would be better.
For lunch, they'd had some sort of mix up with many of the 'special' dinners, so they gave me a salad from their Premium Class.
Emirates do it so well when they get it right!
On the way from Dubai to Ahmedabad I had a full vegan dinner which even had a suitable and delicious dessert!
On the way back from India to Dubai and then Dubai to London I was fed well too! :) The dinner consisted of Ravioli, a salad, some bread and dessert. The breakfast consisted of a simple yet yummy sandwich with salad and a sweet bread for afters.
I was a happy bunny with Emirates! :)
Based on these experiences I'll write-off the flight from London to Dubai and remember that when they get it right, they do it really well! :)
"To me, an aeroplane is a great place to diet."
- Wolfgang Puck