Flying Vegan - Round Trip to Marseilles

Well here in the US, it's Thanksgiving Day, the day where we pretty much just eat. In observance of the holiday, I thought it would be appropriate to cover my meals for my trip to Marseilles France last week. The itinerary took me to London for a connection, then on to Marseilles. For work, the stay in France was roughly 1 week, back to London for an overnight layover, then the final leg back to Philadelphia.

Philadelphia to London

This was a short flight, but a memorable one... but not in a good way. I've flown vegan meals now on four different segments, and this meal was by far the worse meal I've had so far. Coming out of Philadelphia, it sort of surprises me that such a great food city can have such terrible airline catering. I've flown American Airlines catering out of Dallas and had not great, but passable food on that flight. Out of Philly I was surprised at the meal quality.

First off, the outbound crew was bad, one of the least happy and attentive crews I've seen, which was contrasted by the amazing inbound crew, more on them later. The food was presented to me on the normal tray with a mix of foods but the one that struck me right away was the salad. It had cheese on it... this is a vegan meal... with cheese? Alright, that is never a good start and it does make one question the rest of the meal. Everything else seemed to be on the level, but was just plain bad. The main course was little more than rice with 3 pieces of asparagus on it, on by little more than, I mean it was only rice. This meal consisted of no protein. The rest was fine, fruit with coconut seemed confused but tasted fine.

London to Marseilles and Marseilles to London

The flights to and from Marseilles was fairly straight forward inter European flight, the flights food wise were identical... emotionally very different, but I'll talk more about that fiasco in another article. 

The flights to and from Marseilles were flown on British Airways. The food offered was a bit of a surprise since in America there is no food option other than purchased snack boxes while flying domestically on short haul flights. This flight was only 2 hours, but a complimentary food option was offered. The food offered was a sweet bun and a turkey sandwich... I didn't take it since it was unlikely to meet my dietary needs.

On The Ground in France

Let me just say up front, France is by far the single most difficult place to eat vegan I have ever traveled. There are essential no options, not even vegetarian in Southern France. My meals mostly consisted of salad, then a lot of nuts when I returned to me room. The one exception was when we dined with work colleagues, one of whom could speak French quite well. He was able to get me a special made meal from the chef, it was excellent. Other than that, it is very difficult to stay on plan for vegan.

Return Trip from London to Philadelphia

This was an excellent flight, the crew was incredible. The flight attendants joked with each other non stop, made jabs at passengers including me, and I loved every second of it. This crew defined exactly what I love to see on a Atlantic crossing flight.

The food was much better in this direction. The catering at Heathrow is a notch above that of Philadelphia. The main meal was mediocre, which is par for the course for economy meals. The main course was a pasta dish, the sides were salad and fruit as seems to be the way of things for vegan meals, really a fairly plain meal. 

The star of the flight came as the pre-arrival snack. The normal offering, which was given to me on top of the vegan snack, was a feta empanada and some sweet roll thing. The cheese in the empanada was obviously not vegan, so I skipped this and stuck to the vegan option. For the vegan snack, the meal was a couscous with roasted vegetables and a thick tomato sauce. This actually mimiced perfectly a meal I had at the hotel in London. I loved the meal in the hotel and I loved the airplane version just as much. This meal was the highlight of not only this flight, but every vegan option I've ever had on any flight. I would eat this on the ground if I had the option. Adding eggplant to any meal is a win for me

Next Trip To France

Once more I will be returning to France in February for another week at work. Look forward to a busy month in February as I not only go to France, but also to Argentina.