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Toronto woman shows off hilarious 'vegan meal' served aboard Air Canada flight

Mmmm, little napkins: the snack (nay, the meal!) of choice among travellers who don't eat meat... by Air Canada's estimation or something.

I'm being facetious, but not completely; a Toronto woman was, in fact, served nothing but napkins and water aboard a recent Air Canada flight from Frankfurt after requesting the "vegan" meal option in advance of her trip.

While true that bottled water and tiny airplane serviettes are technically vegan, the vast majority of people would agree that this combo shouldn't count as a "meal" aboard an international flight.

This is why Miriam Porter, a Toronto-based writer and travel columnist, decided to poke fun at AC's pitiful attempt to serve plant-based eaters in economy class with a humorous TikTok post earlier this month.

"POV: You are on an Air Canada flight for over ten hours and order vegan meals," reads a text overlay on the video, which quickly moves on to show "meal 1" — a tiny bottle of water atop a napkin — and "meal 2," which is literally just an Air Canada-branded napkin on its own.

Fortunately, a kind flight attendant nabbed some snacks from business class for Porter to eat (fruit and a granola bar) while her fellow passengers tucked into their reheated trays of maple chicken gnocchi and potato-egg salad.

"It seemed my preordered and confirmed vegan meals didn't make the flight," said Porter to blogTO when asked about the order.

"Everyone gets a napkin, mine just happened to have no food on it."

The travel writer is used to documenting every leg of her trips (including, in this case, a 24-hour-long flight delay), but didn't actually think about posting the Air Canada in-flight meal until later when she'd returned home.

She shared the footage on TikTok in an attempt to bring some humour and levity to the conversation surrounding travel woes in Canada and abroad right now.

More than 1.5 million views later, the post has taken on a life of its own.

"I made a seven second funny video of my own personal experience. Some people have taken it too far and have been very unkind," Porter told blogTO.

"I have received death emails because of it. I have been told to 'stop complaining b*tch', 'I don’t deserve food', 'I should starve', 'I should just drown' and I should 'get cancer and die already'."

"Someone named Sarah keeps commenting on my TikTok video and insists that eating plants instead of animals is 'high maintenance', 'a fad diet' and unhealthy. Then hundreds of people explain to her why this is completely false and it goes back and forth boosting my post even more," she continued.

"Eating plants that grow in the ground instead of animals that have been slaughtered is not high maintenance... Eating animals that have been raised for food on factory farms takes massive amounts of energy, land, water, and food to feed them — this contributes to species extinction, ocean dead zones, global warming, climate change, and the destruction of our planet."

Fair points, but Porter is the first to note that she didn't post this video as a form of animal rights activism. She simply felt that "a lot of people can relate to challenges when traveling these days."

"Many people have been dealing with much more serious issues than me such as sleeping on the floor of Pearson Airport, having their entire vacations cancelled, lost luggage, and dealing with longer delays than mine, which was 24 hours," she says.

"There are lots of funny comments [on the video]. People sharing their own airplane food experiences... and of course, lots of mean comments by people who are taking it way too seriously."

Despite the video going viral, Air Canada has yet to respond to blogTO's request for comment about what happened.

Porter said she eventually heard back from the airline after complaining and that AC "apologized for the missing meals and offered an e-coupon to cover meals for my next flight."

"I thought that was very nice of them," she said of the gesture. "I will fly with Air Canada again. There are often no other options to certain destinations from Toronto and people like the kind flight attendant that brought me food gives me hope! The airline staff is great and they have a hard job."

air canada vegan

Miriam Porter, pictured here with rescued pigs, has been dealing with airlines messing up vegan meals for so long that she usually brings her own food. Image via Miriam Porter.

Porter explained to blogTO that this isn't the first time she's had an airline fail to give her proper food, and that she is genuinely more concerned about people onboard who could get sick or die from eating something they've been served by an attendant.

"It's easy to preorder food when you book your ticket. The challenge is when the food doesn't arrive," she told blogTO. "It's much harder for people with severe food allergies when traveling."

The travel writer and mom is clearly far more chill than the people in her comments who are becoming polarized by the mere mention of the word "vegan."

"I would rather be hungry on my flight than eat an animal that wanted to live," she told blogTO, shrugging off strange threats from strangers.

"Eating a plant-based diet is the most important thing you can do to lower your carbon footprint."

While she was indeed hungry on her flight back from Germany to Toronto, Porter planned ahead to take some food along for the first leg of her trip.

"I always do my best to be prepared and bring my own food. On my Air Canada flight to Germany more than half my first meal was completely frozen solid and I could not eat it and the second meal was totally frozen. It was a slab of ice," she said.

"The person across from me had ordered a Kosher meal and her fruit salad was also frozen, we laughed about it. I was prepared with my own sandwich since I was coming from home, so I ate that instead."

"I will continue to bring food with me on flights whenever possible and continue to confirm my vegan meals are ordered," she told blogTO.

"In this past situation there was nothing different I could have done due to multiple extenuating circumstances."

This is to say that airlines have been known to drop the ball on specially-requested in-flight meals long before the pandy halted travel, long before this chaotic era of post-lockdown wanderlust madness.

"Lucky for me my awesome son got us veggie bowls from Freshii and it was waiting for me when I got home," she said of the ordeal's happy ending.

"It was his first time buying me a meal. So sweet."

Lead photo by

Miriam Porter

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