A special meal fail in first class: TPG reader mistake story

Jan 19, 2020

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We’ve been asking to hear your travel success and mistake stories to both celebrate and help our TPG U.K. community.

This week, Dave contacted us to share his story of special meals on what he thought would be a very special flight.

“I fly a reasonable amount of mid- to long-haul, but usually in economy. Typically, I fly on Emirates, which has always been very comfortable and is usually the cheapest option between Asia and Europe. I had also long ago discovered that by selecting a special meal (“Hindu non-vegetarian” in my case, and purely for taste reasons), I would get my meal earlier than others. This has been great when travelling with kids, and usually results in a reliable, tasty meal.

After studying up on elite status, I discovered one November that I was within reach of Silver Tier, the lowest elite level with Emirates Skywards. All I’d need was a round-trip business class trip between Hong Kong and Bangkok, reasonably priced at that stage. A little more research revealed that for the same price (more or less), and still earning enough to get to Silver, I could do an economy on one leg, followed by first class on the return leg. This would be on the A380, with a suite and shower, and would be my first experience in the first class. I went for it.

My mistake was when asked if I’d like the “Hindu non-vegetarian” meal. Thinking about how satisfied I had always been with the meal in economy, and looking at how amazing the standard”first-class meal options were, I was dreaming of how fantastic the first class “Hindu non-vegetarian” was going to be.

Experienced flyers probably know what happened next. In the midst of my luxurious suite, after my mid-flight shower, after finishing my starters and having drunk some very fine wine, the flight attendant (somewhat shamefacedly) brought me the economy class “Hindu non-vegetarian” meal. Insult to injury was that this economy class version was less wonderful than it usually would have been (or perhaps it was the quality of everything else that had caused it to pale in comparison). After realising my mistake, I asked if there were any first-class option remaining, only to be told that there weren’t.

Lesson learned: special meals are only special in economy.”

Related: What special meals can you order on airplanes and are they worth it?

Featured image by Brian Kelly / The Points Guy

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