A business class airline passenger who ordered vegan food says it was insulting to be served one banana along with 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
The passenger was given a pair of chopsticks alongside the banana.Kris Chari
  • A passenger on a Japan Airlines flight ordered vegan food but was disappointed to be given a banana.
  • Non-vegan passengers were served tuna with a salad, cheese, and a baguette as a snack, per the menu.

A passenger onboard a Japan Airlines flight said he was served a banana with chopsticks as part of the vegan inflight menu.

Kris Chari told Insider he booked to fly business class on Tuesday from Jakarta in Indonesia to Tokyo in Japan. The flight was scheduled to last more than seven hours.

There were two meal services during the flight — the first was a snack and light refreshment served after takeoff and the second was lunch, a Japan Airlines spokesperson told Insider. The snack option for non-vegan passengers consisted of seared tuna with a Moroccan-style eggplant salad, cheese with orange salsa, and a baguette, per the airline's menu and Chari's experience.

Chari told Insider he expected to receive the equivalent of what non-vegan passengers were served as a snack, such as a sandwich, salad, vegan cheese, or a baguette.

"Instead, I was served a single banana," he said. Chari sent verification to Insider confirming he was on the flight.


The flight attendant told Chari before the plane took off that the banana was a catered meal. He said he was "frankly quite shocked."

"It's a bit insulting to be served a single banana while others are given a far more substantial and flavorful menu," he said. "It seems especially important given the growth in the number of vegans and vegetarians."

A spokesperson from Japan Airlines told Insider: "We apologize for not being able to meet expectations."

The spokesperson confirmed the snack and refreshment option for all special meals on this flight was a banana.

"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," the spokesperson said.


Chari said the second vegan meal he received was spaghetti. Lunch options for non-vegan passengers flying in February included a cheese omelet, ratatouille, and a chicken sausage on the "Western Menu," and grilled salmon on the "Japanese Menu," per the airline's website.

A "vegetarian vegan meal" is listed under special meal menus on Japan Airlines' website and shows a sample picture of salad bowls, a baguette, a halal sorbet, and a larger dish containing rice.

Some airlines have come under scrutiny for not providing substantial meals to vegan passengers. For example, an Air Canada passenger said flight attendants initially only offered her water during a 10-hour flight from Frankfurt to Toronto, Insider previously reported.

Have you had a similar experience? Get in touch with this reporter via email kduffy@insider.com or DM her via Twitter. She also has Signal.