I've been a vegetarian for over 16 years and have been requesting vegetarian meals on intercontinental flights for a while. Unfortunately for hungry me, I often end up receiving a vegan meal. I suspect this happens in order for airlines to reduce the different types of meals to prepare. But my issue with receiving a vegan meal is that they typically don't have sufficient calories/protein for me.

On a recent Air France flight I noticed once on board that they offered multiple options for the dinner and, surprise, one of them was vegetarian! But, having pre-requested a vegetarian meal, what I ended up being served was vegan and I spent the meal looking longingly at the cheese and cheesecake my fellows were eating.

Returning from Europe I flew KLM, and I noticed when I checked in that there were options to pay more for specific meals (but not categories of meal) but no place to specify a dietary restriction (maybe too late in the process). When I asked at the counter they told me to check in with a flight attendant upon boarding and fortunately they did have a vegetarian option on the menu.

Is this typical of the SkyTeam airlines I fly to Europe with (Delta/KLM/Air France)? In order to get an actual vegetarian meal, should I stop pre-requesting a vegetarian meal and hope that I'll be able to get a vegetarian option aboard?

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    What's your backup plan if, when the crew reach you, all they've got left is the chicken or the beef? (i.e. the handful of non-special veggie meals were taken by previous passengers) – Gagravarr Apr 27 '16 at 13:31
  • You've not said - are you actually vegetarian? This seems kinda subjective at present. I'd say no, because meat = delicious. Others would argue for vegan, and some vegetarian. I also don't really get your question - what is 'worth it'? I'm closing for now as subjective, but feel free to read the help center and edit your question, then flag to reopen once it's clearer. Thanks! – Mark Mayo Apr 27 '16 at 13:32
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    Are not vegan meals vegetarian meals? It sounds like you eat a pseudo vegetarian diet, perhaps including some animal products like eggs or dairy. For an airline to accommodate every variation on a healthy diet would be impossible. Your best course of action would be to bring a small packet of cheese to supplement your dietary needs. – user13044 Apr 27 '16 at 13:55
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    @Tom how is this relevant to the question?\ – raphael Apr 27 '16 at 14:30
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    The wording of your question "Should I...?" does make it sound opinion-based. Maybe you should rephrase as a factual question: "Do airlines generally offer vegetarian meals without needing a special request?" – Nate Eldredge Apr 27 '16 at 14:44