Traveling for the holidays or another special occasion but surrounded by speciesism? Visiting family and friends around the country can be fun, but for some people, it may be a disruptive venture outside of an established daily vegan routine or “comfort zone.” Away from the shops and restaurants that you frequent every week to buy food and other products, you may be uncertain where to grab a quick meal or your favorite cruelty-free goods. There’s one place, in particular, that may put a knot in your stomach: the airport. But never fear: This vegan airport guide is here to help you breathe easier.
It’s simpler than ever to make kind consumer choices to help animals while you’re packing and traveling as well as once you’ve landed. Since no animal should ever be exploited just so that humans can be whisked off to another part of the world, always ask yourself these questions before your next trip to the airport:
Have you packed everything you’ll need?
Whether it’s the the wallet you’ll dig your ID out of, the belt you’ll need to remove, the layers you’ll have to take off, or the bags you’ll need to place in the overhead bin, dressing and accessorizing vegan from head to toe is easier than ever.
While some hotels offer cruelty-free shampoos and conditioners, you can always pack toiletries and beauty products you’ve already got at home to take along with you—as long as you’ve got some of those cute little 3-oz. bottles to pour them into.
- Reading one of these great animal rights–themed books or other works of literature that critique speciesism
- Catching up online with PETA’s latest campaigns and victories to learn how you can help (if a midair internet connection is accessible)
What are you going to eat?
Take a look online before leaving your home to see if any vegan quick stops are on the way. Also, many common fast-food chains have animal-free options, and you can find a lot of them (like Moe’s Southwest Grill, Burger King, and others) inside airports all over the U.S. Use the VeggL app to find more, but here are a few favorite spots with animal-friendly fare at popular hubs:
- Los Angeles International Airport: EarthBar and other eateries in various terminals offer vegan food and drink options (or ones that can be ordered vegan).
- LaGuardia Airport in New York: Dos Toros is a speedy restaurant serving Mexican-inspired dishes in Terminal B with a plant-based meat option for burritos, tacos, and bowls.
- Portland International Airport in Oregon: Flying Elephants is a gourmet deli temporarily stationed outside concourses B and C with vegan—or adjustable—items like Coconut Curry and a Tempeh and Quinoa Wrap. Portland Roasting Coffee is a java joint in terminals C and D offering premade, vegan to-go meals as well as some vegan pastries and cookies.
- Chicago O’Hare International Airport: Burrito Beach is a quick grill in Terminal 3 that serves Beyond “A La Plancha,” Guaco Tacos, and a Mexican Quinoa Salad.
- San Francisco International Airport: The Plant Cafe Organic, an organic restaurant in Terminal 2, boasts an abundance of vegan dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: Qdoba, a fast burrito joint in Terminal A, usually offers plant-based meat along with guacamole add-ons at no charge.
If you can’t find a full-on meal, you can at least stock up on smaller vegan vittles to keep yourself from slipping into a hangry mood. Airport convenience stores (such as Hudson News) carry some “accidentally vegan” snacks that you can slip into your bag for the flight.
Some airlines offer in-flight vegan meals or snacks.
If you’re jetting across international waters, all the major airlines—including Hawaiian Airlines—offer vegan meals upon request. If you didn’t submit a request when you purchased your ticket, be sure to call the airlines at least 72 hours before your flight and then reconfirm your meal while checking in at the airport.
Recently, certain titans of the tarmac have stood out above the rest: Collaborations between various animal-free brands and Delta, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, and Air Canada have created a better array of compassionate meals on select flights. If you’re loyal to a different airline and curious whether it serves vegan fare, check its website or call ahead, since it may have just added some cruelty-free options.
Domestic flights typically offer or sell snack options such as pretzels or nuts that are, in most cases, vegan—just check the ingredients. And if you’re not content eating complimentary nut packets for the entire flight, remember that you can take homemade food onto an airplane. Obviously, don’t try to clear security with forks or knives (or imagine that soup is a good option, unless you want only a couple of ounces of it for lunch)—but slipping a sandwich or wrap into your bag is fine.
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What’s your final destination?
Are you familiar with the city you’ve landed in? Finding vegan food in places all over the world is easier than ever. The helpful HappyCow App locates the nearest vegan-friendly establishments based on your location and then fills you in on all the details. Others, like Veganagogo, will even help you order vegan food in another language.
If searching on social media suits you better, remember that many vegans are active on local group pages. Look for helpful posts, reviews, and short videos on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms. While using any of them, share PETA’s action alerts to help spread the compassionate message that animals should never be used for experimentation, food, clothing, entertainment, or anything else. And keep using other supportive social media and apps, because the future is here and it’s vegan.
Have you thought about where you’re staying yet? After you leave the airport, you can still lead a conscientious life with respect for animals, even while on the road. We can hook you up with hotels that offer cruelty-free toiletries, down-free bedding, and vegan menus and recommend places that allow animal companions to stay with you.
Using Vegvisits, you can search for vacation rentals around the world by accommodation, property type, kitchen appliances, the host’s lifestyle, and more. Whether you need a place to rest your head for one night or a long-term rental, it’s never been easier to stay with a vegan or vegetarian host in an animal-friendly abode.
It’s easier than ever to be vegan at the airport (and everywhere else)!
Keep this guide in mind for the next time that you start getting those preflight jitters. And once you’ve landed and the plane is taxiing to your gate, send everyone you’re visiting a copy of our free vegan starter kit so that you can all toast to compassion and engage in an animal-friendly gathering.