Qatar Airways is rolling out à la carte vegan dishes for its business class passengers. The very tasty looking meals will be available on all business class flights out of Doha and selected business class flights into Doha. The airline says the new offering is in response to passenger demand.
Qatar Airways is introducing à la carte vegan meals in business class. Photo: Getty Images
“We are delighted to incorporate a vegan main course choice to our on-board menu,” says Mr Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways.
“We always strive to provide our customers with authentic and indulgent experiences in the skies.”
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Good enough to make a meat eater switch sides
Frankly, it all sounds good enough to make a person give up meat. The airline’s press release lists some of the à la carte vegan options, including smoked moutabel, spiral courgettes and arrabbiata sauce, tofu and spinach tortellini, Asian barbecue tofu, noodles, scallions and shiitake, fried tofu with vegetable tajine, cauliflower couscous and kalamata bruschetta, and chickpea flour omelet.
Qatar Airway’s new vegan offering comes out of the Qatar Aircraft Catering Company located at Doha’s Hamad International Airport.
Qatar Airways has always had a solid reputation for its in-flight food. People often dismiss inflight food as a sideline to the main game, but on a long-haul flight, meals take on exaggerated importance. As a long-haul airline, Qatar Airways recognizes this.
“My vegan meals on all flights were delicious and better than expected. Protein usually consisted of chickpeas or lentils with veg and rice, lots of flavors added with Nepalese/Indian/Middle East spices. Fruit salad and bread accompanied each meal. They feed you a lot, you never go hungry,” says one contributor about Qatar Airways on a vegan food forum.
One of Qatar Airway’s new à la carte vegan meal options. Photo: Qatar AIrways
The good and not so good airlines for vegan food
Of course, one person’s great airline meal is another person’s food hell. But a scroll online points you towards the airlines that do vegan food well, or not so well. Even before the refreshed vegan offering from Qatar Airways, the airline had a decent reputation on the back of its pre-ordered vegan meals.
Other airlines that scored well were the legacy Asian carriers. That’s no surprise as these airlines come from places with a strong historical focus on plant-based food. Asiana, Singapore Airlines, Dragonair, Cathay Pacific, Air China, Korean Air, and Hong Kong Airlines are all said to do decent vegan food.
Also scoring well is Air India. Now, Air India doesn’t do that well in most competitive tables, but Indian food is generally excellent and also has a strong plant-based focus. So, really, it’s no surprise that carries over onto the national airline.
Another vegan à la carte vegan meal option in Qatar’s business class cabin. Photo: Qatar Airways
What airlines have some work to do before they catch up to Qatar Airways in the vegan meal stakes? Nick Hines, writing for Matador on the best and worst in-flight vegan food options, fingers Icelandair, Air Lingus, XL Airways, WOW Air, and Hawaiian Airlines as laggards.
While the Qatar Airways à la carte vegan option is squarely aimed at passengers lounging in the soft seats up the front of the plane, the airline is at pains to point out various meal options, including vegan meals, are available to all passengers regardless of their class of travel.
All passengers, including economy class passengers, can pre-order special meals up to 24 hours before traveling.