Kris Chari, a business class passenger on a seven-hour Japan Airlines flight, claimed that he was served a single banana as his vegan meal during the first meal service of the flight, Business Insider reports.
Chari was on his way to Tokyo, Japan, from Jakarta, Indonesia, in February, Business Insider says. He claimed that he requested a “vegetarian vegan meal” as listed on Japan Airlines’ website. The website shows a selection of vegetarian options that comply with Hindu, Muslim, and Jain beliefs as well as a vegan option — each of which appears as a full meal in the photographs on the page.
But according to Chari, while non-vegetarian passengers were served seared tuna, Moroccan-style eggplant salad, cheese, and a baguette, he received only a banana and a pair of chopsticks.
A business class airline passenger who ordered vegan food says it was insulting to be served one banana along with a pair of chopsticks https://t.co/it8rElphUI
— Insider News (@InsiderNews) February 27, 2023
“It’s a bit insulting to be served a single banana while others are given a far more substantial and flavorful menu,” he told Business Insider, sharing a photo of the undersized meal. “It seems especially important given the growth in the number of vegans and vegetarians.”
While many people become vegetarian or vegan for health reasons, some are concerned about the effect that raising animals for food has on the environment. Greenpeace reports that eating meat is an inefficient use of farmland and is leading directly to deforestation as trees are cut down to make room for cattle.
But in a society built for meat-eaters, it can be difficult to switch to a plant-based diet. Japan Airlines isn’t the only organization with disappointing vegan cuisine. Business Insider also reported last August that Air Canada served only water to a vegan passenger on a 10-hour flight. Meanwhile, schools are just beginning to offer plant proteins in cafeteria lunches.
A Japan Airlines representative told Business Insider, “We apologize for not being able to meet expectations” for an appropriate vegan menu. “We will continue to respond to our menus in light of the growing interest and diverse needs of customers requesting special meals, including the valuable feedback from this customer.”
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