Travelling at Passover - pack your own or trust the airline?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by IMGone, Apr 8, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. IMGone
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    IMGone Silver Member

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    Just curious to hear what folks do during Passover. Do you trust that the airline will actually not only board your special meal, but that it is good for Passover and not just a stock offering? I've had it work and had it fail, so now always have food with me, just in case.

    What about at your destination (if not your home or that of a friend) ... is it a lot of tuna fish or something equally simple for you, the local Chabad or ???
     
  2. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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    No trust for the airlines

    4 AC TATLs in Jan/Feb. Not one went a planned re Kosher meals. The meals were either not boarded or given to someone else or whatever - just a really poor [attempt at] service. The crappy service could have been an AC thing rather than a special meal issue so YMMV (???). I was ok because as long as it's not pork or shellfish, or mixing meat and dairy, I am good to go with the food [ate vegetarian meals on the AC flights]. However, if I was only going to eat Kosher food, I'd pack a bag.
     
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  3. KyRoamer
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    KyRoamer Gold Member

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    Do not trust the airline. Come prepared and you will then get your ordered meal; otherwise Murphy says you will be out of luck. As for destination, check sites like http://www.totallyjewishtravel.com/kosher_restaurants/. If staying with friends, discuss needs in advance.
     
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  4. IMGone
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    IMGone Silver Member

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    The site is good for everyday travel, it's Passover that is more of an issue IME. A lot of the restaurants shown, think bagel bakery and pizza place, are closed rather than trying to fully clean and kasher.
     
  5. Dovster
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    Dovster Gold Member

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    If I were kosher I would never trust an airline. If I am flying in Economy (and not on El Al) I generally ask for kosher meals simply because they are better than regular fare.

    Several times, however, I heard someone complaining because the airline did not have a kosher meal for him. Rather than make him go without eating, I tell the FA to give him mine and take a regular meal instead.

    One flight, on Alitalia, had a very strange incident. I was in an aisle seat in Economy and the Orthodox couple next to me were very upset. The husband had gotten a kosher meal but not his (very pregnant) wife. He was arguing with the FA that they have to give her a kosher meal because, in her condition, she could not make the 4 hour flight without eating.

    (Note that he did not say he would give up his meal -- after all, he was not pregnant.)

    I told the FA to give his wife my meal and bring me a regular one. A few minutes later she returned and told me that there is room for me in FC and they are moving me up to thank me for solving the problem.

    The husband was furious! His wife was the one who did not get the kosher meal, he argued, and they should be upgraded, not me.
     
  6. IMGone
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    IMGone Silver Member

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    Just a quick note that I was really looking for Passover aspects to this ... not generic kosher / special meal ordering that is not handled well. This time of year, you can request and they provide a kosher meal which is still no good, as it is kosher and not kosher for passover ... very different issues this time of year.

    Same thing for once you arrive - kosher restaurants abound, kosher for passover restaurants do not.
     
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  7. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    I didn't realize the airlines would go beyond the kosher meal and actually provide a kosher for passover meal.
    Now trusting them to adhere to the passover restrictions is another story. I say have a backup plan ready to execute. ;)
     
  8. IMGone
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    IMGone Silver Member

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    Yes, at least UA is provided passover meals by their caterer just a matter of what gets delivered to the plane. I've had both positive and negative success . The worst was getting the french toast (which I really like) for my passover breakfast one year ... didn't quite work out for me!
     
  9. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    LOL! That's pretty funny! :D
     
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  10. Analise
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    Analise Silver Member

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    What a louse of a husband. Not only does he not give up his own meal (so much for his integrity about being concerned about his pregnant wife not eating), he feels he should be rewarded for something he did not do. Wow. Scary that a male with such a selfish mindset will be molding a child into adulthood.
     
  11. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Hadassah magazine had an hysterical article probably around 30 years ago. Author got a regular kosher meal during Passover and had to try to explain what the issue was. After all, the FA said, it says Kosher!

    He explained that it was kosher last week and will be kosher next week, but this week, it's not kosher!
     
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  12. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    If it was important to me, I would make my own arrangements and not rely on the airline.
     
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  13. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    :D

    I've seen AF serve regular Kosher during Passover. The message doesn't get through on all levels, from the catering company through the airport services loading the food through the crews, but the lack of system control and understanding starts at the top.

    Bottom line, OP, trust yourself, or, if all else fails the local Chabad at the destination can be relied upon.
     
  14. mhnadel
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    mhnadel Silver Member

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    The flip side of this is that weeks afterwards you could get a kosher for Passover meal.

    I'd say never to trust the airlines on this. My more general approach to traveling over Passover has generally been knowing which local supermarkets had a decent selection of acceptable foods.
     
  15. IMGone
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    IMGone Silver Member

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    It's happened, so what?

    Thanks folks for posting here. For the record, I wasn't asking for opinions of what I should do - I have that down, thanks! Years of biz travel at the holiday will do that to you, although I do try to avoid the overlap. The purpose of the thread was to discuss what others do, however I think only one or two responders actually would care that they had a Passover food over the holiday. Some of you order a kosher meal, it isn't seemingly imperative that you get it as alternatives are acceptable (regardless of the time of year) ... and then there was at least one post from left field.

    If anyone actually keeps kosher for passover at passover and would like to chime in, please share your habits. :)

    By the way, the best week on the road at Passover for me was when I had a NJ client and someone there had a brochure for a kosher grocery/deli in the area that was offering prepared foods. They also delivered ... had the entire weeks meals at my doorstep, switched over to a Residence inn for the refrigerator (I think I had a small microwave or something with me), and ate pretty well that year. A one day or a quick overnight trip are doable, although TSA stupidity makes it harder with no ice packs allowed in carry on so luggage often gets checked once beyond a day trip.
     
  16. Dovster
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    Dovster Gold Member

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    You might be surprised. There are different theological reasons for observing kashrut throughout the year and refraining from eating hometz during Passover. I will usually be very happy to get a nice, thick, pork chop but I will not eat bread or cake during the holiday.

    (For that reason, whenever possible, I prefer to be in Israel for Passover. I never have a problem with meals here.)
     
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  17. Kohoutek
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    Kohoutek Silver Member

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    Like if one encountered an IRROP? :eek:
     
  18. LAXtraveler
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    LAXtraveler Gold Member

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    I never rely on the airline for kosher for Passover food when I am flying. I always bring my own because of an experience I had once where I was flying during hol hamoed and ordered a kosher for Passover meal. I asked specifically if the meal would be OK for Passover and was told it would be. Turns out my meal was just a regular kosher meal taken from their normal catering stock (read: freshness???) and so I was out of luck.

    Moral: when travelling on Passover I always pack my own bag of food.
     
  19. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I've tried to get the kosher for passover meal a couple times. It never worked so I gave up on it. I pack my own.

    My observations of kashrut are somewhat less than some other folks so when it comes to eating while on the road I'm generally OK. I consider a steak without any other treatments along with some grilled/steamed veggies and a baked potato to be kosher enough for me, even if the meat isn't certified kosher and the kitchen is cooking other stuff, too. Maybe I'm a bad Jew but that's what works for me.

    This pretty much describes my level of observation as well. In fact, the pork chop at Bar Americain last night was quite delicious. :D
     
  20. Misterstuf
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    Misterstuf Silver Member

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    I keep strictly K for P and I try to avoid travel on the holiday itself if at all possible, so it is less of an issue for me, but I always try to have some snacks packed that will last me for the flight in case of emergency. When I travel after Passover I have often gotten the K for P meal on AA. This year I am travelling to Israel before the holiday and coming back afterwards on 2 separate airlines (LY TLV to LHR and AA LHR to BOS) , so I'll be able to report on whether they give the regular kosher meal or still K for P on the days following.
     
  21. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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    Sounds like my week.

    I always request the kosher meal and the special meal has been part of my UA profile for years. Outbound UA ORD-PVG was a nightmare. Chicken or pasta I hear so I ask where my special is??? I know once I have to ask, it's nowhere to be found. I was correct. Nothing. This is going to be a long flight. I end up with fruit plate and a salad [good thing UA was too cheap for bread crumbs]. I do however end up with a flight kit and probably $200-$250 towards a domestic flight - haven't entered it yet. Not a pleasant flight but not too terrible, ie no FA attitude about me asking where my food is.

    The return is much worse, PVG-ORD. It's the same crew and one of the FAs recognizes me as I board and mentions the kosher meal. Not a good sign. We're in the air for 30+ minutes and a different FA comes over congratulating UA for loading kosher meals. Food is served. I look at the wrapping for a sign of life, something that says kosher for Passover. Nothing. I open it anyways hoping for the best. Hametz. I am going to be hungry again. However, as I am wallowing in self pity at my inability to eat the meal in front of me, the earlier UA congratulating FA comes back and tells me that I was given someone else's meal [she declared that she wouldn't be spillin' those beans to the other passenger - just like a good FA should act]. I responded that it didn't really matter who got the meal since the meal was not kosher for Passover. My conversation with the FA was similar to the quote below. It was futile trying to explain why neither of us could eat the kosher but not kosher for Passover meal. Not a big deal that the distinction between the two wasn't known except 1) now there were more folks not eating and I was going to be hungry for a few hours, and 2) UA offers kosher meals, Someone with some sort of authority had to know is was Passover? Maybe? Am I asking too much? Don't offer the meal and I won't end up disappointed. No food so I slept instead. The second food offering comes and it's pasta. Again kosher but not for Passover. I tell this FA that I can't eat it because it is not kosher for Passover. The FA just looks at me kind of funny and walks away. 1+ hours later, the unopened food is still sitting in front of me [and it is not even my unopened food but some poor soul who was lied to by a UA FA]. No one dared approach and try to collect the now uneaten cold food masquerading as garbage. Not a look or a sneer or anything as the FAs buzzed on by. Seemed weird, but who knows, it is a long flight. 2+ hours and it became obvious that the FAs were pissed that they went out of their way to provide a kosher meal [someone else's kosher meal] and then I refuse to eat the meal [other events made this obvious and are better suited for the UA thread - after I get some sleep]. By the time the last snack rolled around, something bread based, the purser ended up intervening and getting a fruit plate from C so that I wouldn't waste away to nothing on the 13+ hour flight. No flight card but 1kvoice might see things in a way that gets me one.

    Now I know US has kosher for Passover meals. I've eaten them on an IAD-FRA flight. Albeit, the flight was in late May, but I know they have them.

    Next year, no trips over Passover! [although PVG again for $600-ish and I'll pack dinner]

    Getting back to the question at hand: Recent experience has shown, do not trust the airlines.

    Cheers -

     
  22. jharris

    jharris New Member

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    I'm a big supporter of Joburg Kosher's Beef Biltong. Hence why I took it on a "spreading the word" roadtrip and ultimately joined the company.

    It is the South African style of beef jerky - so its actually healthy for you and tastes much better. Soft and delicious. Provides energy with protein, and can be used in place of a meal.

    No refrigeration needed. We have a number of Air Force pilots that bring it up with them, so it would be a great flight snack as well. Kosher for Passover this year.
     
  23. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    There has to be something said for effort. Doing the best you can makes you good, not bad.
     
  24. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    I'm sad to read about so many negative experiences. You would think at this point in time you could actually be accommodated correctly, no matter what your special diet is. How horrible to not be able to eat on a long flight. Props to those who make it work and even more to those who made it work for others. (NOT that idiot husband!)
     

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