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Holidayers heading abroad: Watch your menu!

OUTBOUND MUSLIM tourists booking seats with foreign carriers through tour operators in Lucknow, for holidaying in North America or Europe, are turning vegetarian? at least for 18 hours! Reason? These tourists aren?t sure whether the non-veg meal (mutton or chicken) served on board the flights is ?jhatka? or ?halal?.

india Updated: Jun 04, 2006 10:46 IST

OUTBOUND MUSLIM tourists booking seats with foreign carriers through tour operators in Lucknow, for holidaying in North America or Europe, are turning vegetarian… at least for 18 hours!

Reason? These tourists aren’t sure whether the non-veg meal (mutton or chicken)  served on board the flights is ‘jhatka’ or ‘halal’. Tour operators in India and abroad face the same problem when specific demands for ‘jhatka’ or ‘halal’ meal is made by tourists booking rooms in hotels or resorts especially, in North American and European cities.

“About 60 per cent of the seats booked from Lucknow by Muslims on a flight for outbound travel the choice of food is preferred as a ‘veg meal’ which surprisingly, has eggs served or the ‘Pure Hindu veg meal’  for strict vegetarians,” says Vivek Pandey, Branch Head (UP and Uttaranchal), Delhi Express Holidays.

“There are specific queries from passengers regarding the in-flight non-veg food being ‘jhatka’ or ‘halal’. We always tell the airline about the meal preference of the passenger but the online booking format for an airline seat only has ‘Non-veg’, ‘Veg’ and ‘Pure Hindu veg” meal options,” he says.

He added, ordering a non-veg meal on a foreign carrier is much easier for a passenger than a ‘Pure Hindu veg meal’ as standard in-flight menu has non-veg items invariably served on a platter. “It takes 48 hours’ prior booking by a passenger in Lucknow to book a ‘Pure Hindu veg meal’ in a foreign airline as the meal needs to be ordered by the airline from a flight caterer to be prepared on the departure date from India,” says Pandey .

There is another problem for passengers who book a ‘Pure Hindu veg meal” on foreign carriers.

A ‘Pure Hindu veg meal’ is available till London only. So, if you are travelling to New York with a stopover in London in the same foreign carrier, the flight caterer in London loads non-veg meals (mutton or chicken) or the ‘veg meals’ (with egg) on board as that is what is preferred by passengers on the North American and European circuit, he added.