September 14, 2009

How Kosher is Your Airline Meal?

A friend of mine who traveled to Israel aboard Delta Airlines discovered that the special kosher meal he had ordered was not Glatt Kosher. The circumstances may be a bit complicated but here goes. In most cases, when a special kosher meal is ordered, it means a glatt kosher or mehadrin meal will be on board. The friend received such a meal on the Tel Aviv bound flight but on the return, he discovered that the meal was a “regular” kosher meal out of the Masbia kitchen outside of Tel Aviv, which also supplies El Al. It seems that the Delta office request for a kosher meal ends up as a regular kosher meal. The Delta office in Tel Aviv, however, does seem to have taken notice and is somehow capable of putting in the special request for glatt kosher. In other words, said my friend, “if I wanted a glatt kosher meal, I really should have contacted Delta in Tel Aviv and not the US.”

I recently wrote that I noticed somewhat of an improvement in the quality of kosher meals on flights departing from the US. On a web site comparing the kosher meals (www.airlinemeals.net), you can see the difference in the quality of the meals, depending on the kitchen it comes from around the world. I think that while kosher travelers expect a decent kosher meal while flying they are somewhat forgiving if it does not compare to the food served in an upscale New York restaurant. What was a bit discerning for my friend was that he had no way of knowing once he ordered the kosher meal, what kind of kashrus he was getting. His suggestion was that airlines should post where the meals come form and what the kashrus is. Amen!