OU Calls on Domestic Airlines to Provide Kosher Meals & Snacks For Sale on Board

14

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

ou logo.jpgIn its role as “the premier source for all kosher needs,”and in response to complaints by travelers that kosher food is no longer an option on domestic flights, the Orthodox Union Kosher Division today called on eight major domestic airlines to make kosher meals and snacks available for purchase on their flights, just as the airlines offered a kosher option when meals were included in the cost of a ticket. Since the airlines stopped providing the free meals, kosher passengers either must bring meals on board with them, or have nothing to eat on flights, even those of transcontinental length.

The airlines contacted are American, Continental, Delta, JetBlue, Northwest, Southwest, United and US Airways.

The OU has volunteered to work closely with the airlines in making the kosher food available, including providing the carriers with the names and pertinent information about OU certified caterers and snack manufacturers that could supply their planes.

In a letter to Vice Presidents for Food Services and other company officials, Rabbi Eliyahu Safran, Senior Rabbinic Coordinator and Vice President for Communications and Marketing of OU Kosher, noted that for decades, the OU has provided “reliable kosher certification of airline meals and snacks.” He added, “As the world’s largest and most respected kosher certification agency, the Orthodox Union certifies more than 400,000 products manufactured in 6,000 plants around the world.  It is our symbol, the OU, that you see on so many consumer products in supermarkets today.”

Rabbi Safran noted in his letter, “Recently, many consumers, who are frequent airline travelers, approached us to see if we can find a way to make kosher certified meals and snacks available for purchase on those routes where this is the only option. We are well aware,” he added, “of the financial considerations that have made this policy so prevalent. But kosher consumers, who are equally willing to purchase food items, have been left with no option, as kosher meals and snacks are not available on your airline.”

“The OU seeks to share its expertise with you in order to assure that all passengers are truly able to equally enjoy meals or snacks on your airline,” Rabbi Safran wrote.

In an interview, Rabbi Safran noted that kosher flyers must prepare or purchase food before leaving for the airport, pass it through security where it is x-rayed, and bring it on board with the rest of their carry-on belongings, while non-kosher passengers have no such requirements. “It puzzles me why the airlines, which for so many years routinely provided kosher meals as an option – along with vegetarian and other special needs – eliminated kosher when they established the policy of on- board  food purchase. But now is their opportunity to make up for this oversight, and the Orthodox Union will do everything possible to assist them in meeting the needs of the kosher passenger,” he declared.

Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of OU Kosher, expressed his belief that given the growing popularity of kosher products among non-Jews – particularly products carrying the OU symbol – that providing kosher food would satisfy a wide range of passengers. “The kosher market is enormous, it is expanding by 15 percent every year, and much of this growth is fueled by those who are not Jewish, but who purchase kosher food because of its high quality and its iconic brand names. Kosher at 35,000 feet will be every bit as popular as kosher in the supermarket,” Rabbi Genack said.


14 COMMENTS

  1. I travel a lot. Since 9/11, airline service in all respects has declined dramatically, not just in food service. On the other hand, supply and demand, and the hair-thin profit margins (if any) the airlines operate under, offers them no incentive whatsoever to improve in any way.

    I would be very pleasantly surprised if the OU’s effort succeeds.

  2. I yhink that once they went this far, let them demand that the airlines only serve Kedassia meals from London. Once we are paying, why cant it be a decent meal. I think that it is reprehensible that the city with the largest Jewish population in the world cant give either one of the 4 airports in the area a decent meal. No names mentioned, but from someone who is a world traveler, Kedassia-Hermolis is by far the best around.

  3. another case of a kashrut agency forcing its own hashgacha over other acceptable hashgachot.

    “including providing the carriers with the names and pertinent information about OU certified caterers and snack manufacturers that could supply their planes”

    how about non-ou but nevertheless acceptable hashgachot?

  4. Ephrayim, you are correct. Hermolis meals are second to none. In fact I was once flying and was eating a Hermolis meal,the non jew next to me was interested to know how he can obtain such a high quality meal next time he flies.

  5. “another case of a kashrut agency forcing its own hashgacha over other acceptable hashgacho

    The OU is taking the initaiative and helpin out Klal yisroel.Why would they arrange this whole thing and then give it to another kashrus org.?They arent forcing anything!

  6. AIR CANADA does offer Kosher snacks on its flights! All kosher items are marked with a star* on the menu of snacks for sale. Kosher sandwiches would be good though. Kudos to the OU!

  7. congratulations to OU and Rabbi Safran for again taking up the needs of the greater community. We remember R Safran from Pittsburgh where he exhibited enormous talents & leadership for all important Torah causes – so no surprise he is at the helm of this important need.(His new book on Modesty [Sometimes You Are What You Wear] is a WINNER!)

  8. “Southwest Airlines has never provided even non-kosher food on its flights.”

    This article is referring to snacks too, which SouthWest does provide, and which are kosher.

  9. Another important fact – some airlines still serve meals in first class, but have quietly brought in policies that allow them to not serve special meals in first class, where they used to, even when a full meal service is offered to other passengers. For example on American, in first class, you cannot order a kosher meal from Washington to Dallas, while your neighbor is enjoying appetizing, expensive meals which are included in the price of your expensive first class ticket even though you can’t eat the meal.

    With this airline you can get a meal from coast to coast or internationally, but now the caterers have become so confused with the policies in effect that they regularly don’t deliver kosher meals that have been ordered, claiming that kosher meals are no longer served on coast to coast flights (which is not true).

    Before you say “well you shouldn’t waste money on first class tickets”, understand that when you travel 50 to 100 thousand miles a year on business the airlines have ways of making first class travel more affordable, and when you spend much of your working life in an airplane and spend that time working, it’s not an indulgence to travel first class.

    I don’t care whether it’s OU or OK making the call – yesher koyach to the OU for speaking out on our behalf and I decided to join the OU this year specifically because of their speaking out on this issue.

  10. “Since 9/11, airline service in all respects has declined dramatically, not just in food service. On the other hand, supply and demand, and the hair-thin profit margins (if any) the airlines operate under, offers them no incentive whatsoever to improve in any way.”

    Well when people expect to pay $100 for a round-trip ticket from New York to Florida, you can hardly expect great service can you? If airlines charged realistic break-even prices for their services then they would be in much better shape – but then we wouldn’t be able to afford to fly!

  11. “This is the newest way to save a dollar on the airlines, what is the big deal? Bring along an apple, or two, some nash and that’s it.”

    Try flying every week from towns where they’ve never seen a Jew, spending 5 or more hours in the air each week, rushing from the client to the airport as quickly as possible, and see whether you would be willing to make a quick detour to your local supermarket on the way to buy an apple and some “nash” or some “that’s it”.