Why you should never ask for a special meal on flights

Allison Yee

If you think you’re being crafty by ordering the gluten-free meal during your flight and getting served first or avoiding normal plane food, think again.

While plane food has long divided travellers into two camps: those who revel in reheated mystery mush versus those who would rather starve, an industry insider reveals ordering a specialty meal could compromise one of the most pressing concerns of air travel.

Whether you get a free upgrade or not.

Source: Giphy

According to former air steward Nik Loukas, ordering a specialty meal be it gluten-free, kosher, diabetic or vegetarian, could see air staffers bypass you in the case of a spare business class seat going begging.

"If there’s a special meal request in your booking, the airline won’t even look at you [for an upgrade]," he told Business Insider UK.

Some people are tempted to order specialty meals just to avoid the normal plane food served. Photo: Getty

"[It's] because you’ve got a dietary requirement, and they might not be able to cater for you if they upgrade you."

For all those vegans out there despairing they’ll miss out on their chance to experience the champagne lifestyle on a beer budget, don’t fret. It appears this isn’t the case for all airlines.

One insider claims it could get you overlooked for an upgrade, but not all airlines agree. Photo: Getty

According to Traveller website, Qantas doesn’t take into account your meal choice when deciding whether you’re worthy of being upgraded to that extra leg room.

"This is untrue and the type of meal our customers order has no bearing on their ability to be upgraded,” a spokesperson told the website.

“If the upgrade is awarded, the special meal request will be provided in their new cabin."

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