Special Meals

About a week or so before flying, contact the airline to order special meals for each family member. The minimum time to request special meals is 48 hours before departure, but I have found that that is not always enough lead time to get the meal you want.

Check out the airlines' web pages, or check with a good travel agent and you'll learn that special meals in many flavors are all available. Some common ones include low fat meals, salt-free, Kosher, low calorie and the Grail itself, a kids meals.

If you are not on a special diet, in need of Kosher food or otherwise in need of a “special meal”, why not just order a kid's meal for each kid and be done with it?

In a word, variety. In two words, more variety.

Say what you will about airline food, but in the end it is usually the same and there are rarely much choices in flight other than a growling, ugly showdown between chicken or beef. By ordering everyone a separate, special meal you'll have a greater variety of things to mix and match, moving boiled carrots from the older child's plate in exchange for the rice the younger one does not like. P.S. the cabin attendants almost always serve special meals first, so you and yours will be chewing while the others around you wait. Your kids will like this.

Kid's meals we've seen are usually basic stuff like hamburgers or hot dogs, high fat, high sodium, high calories, lots of meat. On some United flights we have received actual McDonald's food in actual McDonald's wrappers. Our kids love it and we allow them to enjoy such food in modest amounts.

If you feel differently, be sure to ask what the “Kids' Meal” consists of. If the airline is unable to tell you in advance, it might be prudent to take along enough food that you can fill in and supplement with fruits, for example, a kid's meal that does not meet your standards.

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