A tray of vegan food from Qatar Airways

Flying Qatar Airways soon? Then you’ll be happy to know that Qatar Airlines do offer vegan meals for all customers.

I have travelled on Qatar Airways a few times now. It is usually one of the best and most affordable ways to fly between Europe and Asia. A regular route of mine is between Vietnam and the UK. It involves a stopover in Hamad International Airport with quite a few vegan meals in between.

In this article I am going to share my experience of ordering vegan meals on Qatar Airways and the quality of the meals themselves.

How are the vegan meals on Qatar Airways?

The vegan meals on Qatar Airways have been a mixed bag. As with any airline, the offering totally depends on the airport you are flying out of. In my experience, when flying out of countries like Vietnam you will get a really nice selection of vegan food and if you fly out of the UK you are much more likely to get vegan butter for your bread.

Despite the variation, I do find that most of their vegan meals are of a similar standard. Some just tastier than others. Here is an overview of my experience with each meal service.

Main meal

The main meal is always the best bit on a Qatar Airways flight. I am yet to be given something that I didn’t like. Most of the time you get some sort of rice dish, most likely a curry, with a side salad and fruit. This was the case when leaving the UK.

It definitely got a lot more exciting when flying out of Vietnam, because we were served cake. Yes, vegan cake, on a flight. This had to be a first for me! Plus their side salad of tofu and mushrooms was flavoured well (Vietnam know how to do salad right) and it complimented the tofu rice dish we were served.

Flying out of Qatar is also always interesting. You may well get treated to their breakfast which consists of a creamy oat pudding, fruit and a savoury dish with some sort of cornbread and savoury doughnuts.

Small meal

Qatar Airways Vegan Meal 5
The less then desirable vegan sandwich

For flights between 7 to 12 hours you will receive a small meal. This is usually just a sandwich. And the vegan offering has always been a rather gross roasted vegetable sandwich. It makes my stomach turn now just writing about it.

I couldn’t bring myself to try it but my partner did. He has a much stronger stomach than me and he just about tolerated it.

That being said, I’ve noticed the non-vegan versions of these sandwiches and they don’t look too great either.

Whenever the smaller meal gets delivered I tend to turn it down. However, I was once given some sort of vegan pizza pocket on a flight out of Vietnam that was packed full of this spicy rich tomato and mushroom sauce. I hope they serve me this again one day, it definitely beats the vegetable sandwich.

Drinks

I’ve heard rumours that you can get soya and oat milk in Qatar Airways’ lounges, but I am yet to see any plant-based milk options being offered during the drinks service onboard their flights. They may well have them in business or first class, but nothing in economy unfortunately.

Therefore, if you fancy a coffee or tea then you will have to drink it black. Or stick to spirits, like me!

Snacks

Usually at the start of the flight you’ll be handed out some snacks. For the last few flights I’ve been on we were given some rice crackers flavoured with soy sauce. These are vegan. But I have heard from other people that they have been handed out non-vegan snacks. So do keep this in mind!

Occasionally, about midway through a flight I’ve been handed a sweet snack. This is usually a packet of Lotus Biscoff, which are accidentally vegan and absolutely delicious!

Throughout your flight you can request more snacks if you want. But the vegan meals are so generous on Qatar Airways that I doubt you would need to.

Overall experience

When you have a stopover with Qatar Airways you may well end up on two 7 hour flights, or even one 7 hour and one 12 hour flight. I tend to fly on routes with the former and I usually end up eating a lot more food than I would want to in that period of time. You essentially end up with two main meals and two small meals within a 14-16 hour period (more if your stopover is longer).

So, whilst the food is always pretty good quality I would recommend only accepting the vegan main meals and turning down the smaller meals. Otherwise you end up eating a lot of food. Plus the smaller vegan meals are never as good in my experience.

How many meals do you get on Qatar Airways?

The number of meals that you get in economy class on a Qatar Airways flight depends on the flight time:

  • For flights under 2 hours: Unlimited snacks
  • For flights over 2 hours: One main meal & unlimited snacks
  • For flights over 7 hours: One main meal, one small meal & unlimited snacks
  • For flights over 12 hours: Two main meals & unlimited snacks

For any business or first class customers, you can order on-demand from their à la carte menu or pre-order through your online account.

In addition to food, all Qatar Airways flights offer complimentary drinks. If I’m on a long haul flight I like to order a few G&Ts or Mimosas to help me nod off. Be careful not to drink too much or too quickly though because they make their drinks very strong!

How do you order vegan meals on Qatar Airways?

It is really quick and simple to order a vegan meal on Qatar Airways. If you have booked online via the Qatar Airways website then navigate to their ‘manage booking‘ tab on the homepage, where you can request a special meal.

Screenshot of Qatar Airways Manage Booking tool on their website

If you have booked directly through their office or via an agent, then you will need to contact them to request it.

The universal meal code for a vegan meal is VGML. You will need to select this option within the ‘manage booking’ webpage and then it will process your request straight away. Find all the special meal options here.

What I like about Qatar Airlines is that it displays your meal request next to your name on the online booking management tool and on your boarding pass. So if you have a little panic a few days before your flight, you can easily double check that you’ve already requested your meals.

How is the service on Qatar Airways?

Overall, the service I have received on all Qatar Airways flights has been great. The drinks cart comes by regularly and the staff are always happy to help. My only qualm is with the delivering of the special meals.

Most airlines tend to hand out special meals before they bring the food trolley through for the rest of the customers. On many occasions I have also had flight attendants come round at the beginning of the flight to double check my special meal order. This has always made me feel a lot more comfortable knowing that my meal request will be fulfilled.

Unfortunately, there have now been numerous occasions on multiple Qatar Airways flights where my special meal has been forgotten. This has meant that the food trolley has come by and they’ve tried to pass me something with meat in it. I’ll quickly check with them that it is my vegan meal to which they normally quickly take back my tray and go find my vegan meal.

Thankfully, the requested vegan meal has always made its way to me. I’ve heard stories of vegans surviving off crisps on 12 hour flights on other airlines because their vegan meal wasn’t processed. None of this with Qatar Airways thankfully. I just wish they’d streamline their process of handing out special meals.

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