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G’day Mate!  Such a long time!  Sunday evening we made it back to the states after a full day on the flight from Sydney and a full day of flying in America.  Two weeks across the globe in a foreign country is an experience of a lifetime but it does feel nice to jump right back into the swing of things.  Genki Husband and I both have a bit of jetlag due to the 15 hour time difference but we’re working through it as best as possible.  For this reason, I’m going to recap our adventures with Pink in Oz (my Aussie girlfriend) while in Australia.

Anyone ever taken the long trip to Australia?  From Virginia, Australia is the second farthest place to travel by plane.  It’s so far, direct flights are not even available, and a stop must be made in California first before traveling over the Pacific Ocean.  The total flight depends on the cross winds but generally speaking it takes 13 hours from LA to Sydney and 15 hours from Sydney to LA.  Then the flights from VA to CA takes about 6-10 hours.  Total travel time for the entire trip one way is 25 hours!  Yikes it’s a long trip but worth the cramped wait with a few hundred unknown friends.  Thankfully we had good seats with nice people around us for the long hauls.

Flying can be frightening for vegans because it’s hard to find vegan food in the airports and even more so in the airplane.  We flew United Airlines as members so it was easy to put in a request for only vegan food.  If flying by United Airlines, simply signup for a membership and in your details, put that you are vegan as a dietary requirement.  This is the method to choose vegetarian, halal, dairy-free and so on.  As it was our first trip with United as vegans, we did call up customer support but the representative had no idea what vegan was so we gave up and just trusted the membership website.  Thankfully it worked out okay and were signed in the entire trip as vegan.

Now if you aren’t vegan, you might start to think about going vegan while flying as there are benefits.  Firstly, special dietary meals are made fresh and set aside from all the other food (no contamination).  Secondly your food comes first, even before the pilot has time to announce to the entire plane that food service will begin – we were awaken twice for food service as it was before the announcement.  On the down side though, the food was less than exciting.Our first meal on the airplane was mostly vegan, a full curry dinner. (above) Inside blue container- below.A snack is served but unfortunately United really did fail for dietary needs.  Nothing was served to us and the stewardess gave us a ham and cheese sandwich with BBQ dipped in milk potato chips.  Failure… (Forgot Photo)

Breakfast was also served but was once again spicy curry with some mystery corn muffin?  There were three of us trying to figure out the white muffin thingy and no one could figure it out.  The curry was leftover from dinner so it was a bit strange.  Tip for United:  Try something like toast, jam, butter or even some fresh greens instead of curry.

On the flight home:  Lunch was served and again was (you guessed it) curry!  We laughed so hard…

Snack time consisted of ham and cheese once again but at least this time there were vegetarian sandwiches upon request.  We just removed the mega cheese and picked out all the bread with mayonnaise out of the roll.  A milk chocolate Tim Tam was also served.  ½ Failure United.

Breakfast was served instead of dinner since the time difference which was okay with us because we really didn’t want to see curry again.  I actually didn’t want to open the mystery covered container in fear it would in fact be the same curry again. It was then a pleasant surprise to find the mixture of beans, spinach and mushrooms.  Yum!

United Airlines did a good job at serving a few good dishes of curry which we greatly appreciated.  There were a few strange things though for us – besides always having curry.  Snacks would have also been nice as two meals for 15 hour flights can be very long and hunger inducing.  Additionally, fresh fruit and vegetables were served to non-vegans but vegans were served processed sugar-laden fruit and only cooked vegetables.  Why the difference?  Vegans would prefer fresh instead of processed, thanks.

Something strange did happen during food service though which I wanted to note to everyone since it does toss a red flag up in my book of concerns.  We did not end up eating the fruit cups since the sugar was just too much for our stomachs on a long flight.  We kept it in the back of the seat for the entire trip and then decided when we got to our destination we didn’t want to eat it.  We also did this for an apple that we couldn’t eat before getting off the plane for customs in CA.  As all fruit and vegetables must be disposed of before entering a new country, we gave both to the flight attendant.  Weird enough, she put the fruit cup back in the kitchen on the counter instead of the trash and she asked if the apple was ‘organic’ as if she was going to eat it or keep it.  It was very strange because all other food items were trashed on other flights.  Does this mean United reuses food?  I’m all about not wasting food but there seems like an issue with the food safety for this practice.  Should we worry of this?

All in all, we did appreciate United’s research in making curry and assuring the butter was vegan.  Our flights were a bit easier than expected due to these meals that were served with the addition of our own snacks.  Suggestion for future travelers:  Don’t expect much and double check all the processed foods for the ingredients listed if available (not all were vegan).  And, take your own snacks such as energy bars, tofurky sandwiches, vitamins, and so on since there are no options (you take what they toss at you).

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