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J Travel Med. 1997 Mar 1;4(1):14-16.

Dietary Advice for Airline Travel.

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Senior Lecturer, Department of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, James Cook University of North Queensland, Townsville, Queensland, Australia.


In addition to their regular meal service, most of the major domestic and international airlines offer special meals. It should be noted that regular meal services on international flights often give a choice of meals, even in economy class, and often include a salad and or fruit dish, which could be consumed by most people. More airlines also seem to be moving towards having at least one more culturally appropriate meal on the menu, particularly for relevant flight sectors. However, these meals may be inappropriate for some passengers, and there is a need for this special meals service. Meals services on airlines have improved greatly in recent years, particularly with the employment of consultant dietitians to the catering staff of airlines and advances in chef training. Special meal services are designed to cater to the most common variations of meals required by most passengers for medical, religious, or other reasons. The special requirements for these meals are described elsewhere.1 It is important to realize that the meals are designed and the ingredients interpreted by that airline, and may not necessarily reflect what the traveler might eat at home. So it is important to advise travelers not to have high expectations of this special meal service. This paper aims to provide some basic practical advice for selection of special diets for airline travelers.

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