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I'm taking the NH171, which leaves at 12.45 and takes roughly 11 hours. The airline's "My booking" page does not contain any information regarding when meal will be served.

Is there some kind of database where I can figure out this info? Or do airlines have conventions regarding how their meals are scheduled?

It kind of matters, e.g. it would be very horrible if I come expecting lunch, and it turned out they will only start serving meals at dinner time.

  • 2
    There's a similar question here. – drat May 14 '15 at 7:14
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As mentioned in an answer to another similar question, the best source for this kind of information is the website of the airline itself. In your case, ANA has a page, where you can choose your route and it will give you the menu for the flight.

As it is called 'lunch/dinner', you can probably safely assume that the food will be served not too long after departure but in any case before dinner time. For more details on how meals are usually timed, you can see again the answer I linked to.

  • "as the flight already comes from San Francisco without a meal in the first leg" how do you know this? – user69715 May 14 '15 at 7:32
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Generally, on long-haul flights food is served shortly after start and then again shortly before landing. As a rule, the higher the class, the closer to takeoff/landing the food will be served. Because there are less people in higher classes, it's faster to go around with the drinks first.

The airline usually try to have the longest possible time in which the passengers are not disturbed by food service. They will "wake you up" again about 1-2 hours before the landing and serve the Breakfast.

But whatever their method is, it might be a good idea to have some food in the airport just because it will take some time to serve you food, even if they try to serve you as fast as possible.

If this flight takes off at 12:45, it will take roughly one hour until the airplane is in the air and has the fasten-seat sign off. Then they will start serving food. Starting with drinks and so on, it can take another hour or even two until you get your food on the back-most seat in Economy class. So if you did not have lunch, it might be challenging to wait until as late as 15:00. So having something for lunch first might be a good idea.

  • I'd say it would be very unusual for it to really be an hour before the seat belt sign is turned off. It's usually more like 10 minutes or less in my experience. Aside from that, though, you're right. The first meal has usually been at least an hour into the flight in economy. Part of this is due to the fact that they have to heat up the meals once the flight is already airborne. – reirab May 14 '15 at 16:41
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    Slight correction - on good airlines in high classes, you can choose when you want to eat! – Gagravarr May 14 '15 at 18:04
  • @Gagravarr yes, For simplicity I was putting down the time when they would give it in case you do not want to change the time. – uncovery May 14 '15 at 23:26
  • @reirab I maybe made a bit too generous calculation from the time they open the gate. You are right, If you just take the time from take-off, it's often much shorter. – uncovery May 14 '15 at 23:28
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To add to the excellent answers above: you should always bring some food onto the plane in case you get hungry during mid-flight. Some of the common food I seen are bread, sandwiches, and instant noodles (the flight staff should be able to provide hot water).

  • Or there's turbulence / bad weather and the flight crew has to remain seated. – mkennedy May 14 '15 at 21:23

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