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What are Meal Codes?

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When working in aviation you will be required to learn lots of key terminology (just take a look at this post all about IATA codes to get an idea of what you will need to learn). One of the areas that you will need to learn about are meal codes.

Meal codes, airplane meal

What are meal codes?

Meal codes are exactly as it says on the tin- a code that represents a particular meal.

Why are meal codes important?

Cabin Crew and ground staff are required to know the different meal codes when delivering meal services onboard a flight. They need to be able to respond to the request of the passenger and deliver them the correct meal. This not only ensures that the passengers are happy and receive a good standard of customer service, but it also ensures passengers don’t eat anything they are not allowed to. 

Here are some examples of why Cabin Crew need to know the different meal codes:

  • If a passenger has a baby or child onboard the flight, then Cabin Crew will need to give them a meal correlating to the correct codes (BBML or CHML). 
  • If a passenger informs Cabin Crew of their religion and subsequent dietary requirements, it is then the responsibility of the Cabin Crew to give them the correct meal. E.g, if a passenger is Jewish they will require a Kosher meal (KSML) that contains Kosher foods. Similarly, if a passenger is Muslim they will require a Muslim meal (MOML) that contains halal foods. It is important they are given the correct meal so that they don’t eat foods which are not permitted in their religion. 
  • If a passenger has any dietary requirements then Cabin Crew will need to ensure they are given a meal that is safe and free from anything that could harm them. For example, someone with diabetes will require a diabetic meal (DBML), and a passenger with a gluten or lactose intolerance will require a gluten-free meal (GFML) or a non-lactose meal (NLML). This is especially important as if they were given the wrong meal they could become seriously ill. 
  • There may also be some passengers who request meals based on personal preference. For example, a vegetarian would request a vegetarian meal (VGML) so that they don’t eat any meat, or a passenger may request a low-calorie meal (LCML) or a low fat/low cholesterol meal if they are watching their calorie or cholesterol intake. 

To see how meal codes are used in action, take a look at this video made by easyJet crew.

Meal codes, airplane meal

Examples of meal codes

Here are some examples of meal codes that are commonly used in aviation:

  • AVML – Asian Vegetarian meal
  • BBML – infant/baby meal
  • CHML – Child meal
  • DBML – Diabetic meal
  • FPML – Fruit platter
  • GFML – Gluten free meal
  • HNML – Hindu (non-vegetarian) meal
  • KSML – Kosher meal
  • LCML – Low-calorie meal
  • LFML – Low fat/low cholesterol meal
  • LSML – Low sodium/salt meal
  • MOML – Muslim meal
  • NLML – Non-lactose meal
  • ORML – Oriental meal
  • SFML – Seafood meal
  • SPML – Special meal, food to be specified
  • VGML – Vegetarian meal

So, there we have it- meal codes explained! If you found this article helpful, I am sure that you would also enjoy these articles:

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