What Are Meal Codes and Why Are They Important for Your Flight?


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If you are a frequent traveller or work in the travel industry, terms like meal codes or IATA might sound familiar. However, those who are looking for a better understanding of what meal codes are and why they are important, can find an answer in this blog post. Because today, we will explain what meal codes are, why they matter for your flight and provide you with examples of the meal codes you need to know.

What are meal Codes?

Meal codes are a system of symbols assigned to specific types of meals on a flight. These codes are mostly used by airlines and caterers in order to identify and prepare meals according to passenger preferences such as:

  • Dietary requirements

  • Religious restrictions

  • Personal preferences

Additionally, each meal code corresponds to a particular type of meal, such as vegetarian, kosher or gluten-free etc.

Importance of Meal Codes

Meal codes are essential to making sure that all passengers get the right meal. By providing the right meal for each passenger, airlines and cabin crew can meet their dietary needs and preferences. This helps to avoid any disruptions to the onboard service, as well as any misunderstanding between cabin crew and passengers during the flight.

Another important reason is that meal codes allow airlines to optimize their catering operations by minimizing the waste of products and reducing costs. For example, if an airline knows ahead of time that on board, there will be ten passengers requesting a vegetarian meal. They can order the exact number of vegetarian meals, as well as inform the cabin crew.

Examples of Meal Codes You Need To know

Here are some of the most common meal codes that every passenger should know: 

AVML - Asian Vegetarian Meal

If you are a traveller who prefers vegetarian food of Asian origin, then this meal is for you. AVML typically includes rice, noodles or tofu, along with vegetables and a mix of spices that are typically found in eastern Asian cuisine.

BBML - Infant/Baby Meal

This meal code is intended for infants and children under 2 years old. A baby meal usually consists of mashed fruits, fresh vegetables and in some cases baby formula or milk. So, if you are traveling with an infant, you might consider looking for a BBML meal code. This will help you to travel with less stress for you and your baby.

CHML - Child Meal

CHML which means a child meal is usually recommended for children aged two to twelve years old. The CHML includes dishes that most children eat without a complaint. For example: pasta, chicken nuggets, sandwiches, fruits and vegetables.

KSML - Kosher Meal

This meal follows the dietary laws of Judaism and as a result, it is most suitable for Jewish travellers and passengers. KSML includes most of the products that meet kosher standards. For example kosher meat, fish, fresh vegetables and fruits.

MOML - Muslim Meal

MOML is a halal-certified meal for Muslim passengers who follow Islamic dietary laws. This meal typically consists of halal meat or poultry, along with fruits and vegetables.

DBML - Diabetic Meal

Sugar diabetes is one of the most common diseases in the world. In fact, 1 in 6 adults (73 million people) lives with diabetes. Therefore, most airlines provide a special meal that is considered for passengers who need to manage their blood sugar levels. Diabetic meals usually include low-sugar or sugar-free options, such as whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables.

GFML - Gluten-Free Meal

This meal is especially suitable for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Gluten-free meals exclude wheat, rye and barley. Instead, GFML includes gluten-free alternatives such as rice, corn or potatoes. So, if you are a passenger with gluten intolerance you should look for a GFML meal code.

NLML - Non-Lactose Meal

Non-lactose meals are created for people who are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk products. NLML excludes milk, cheese, yoghurt and other dairy products. As an alternative, they may include products that are lactose-free. For example soy milk or tofu.

VGML - Vegetarian Meal

Vegetarians that don’t restrict all animal products, such as eggs and dairy should look for the VGML meal code 

VVML - Vegetarian Vegan Meal

If you are a vegan, it is a good idea to look for a VVML meal code. This meal includes vegetables, grains and legumes.


Meal codes are beneficial for frequent travelers, especially those who follow health-related dietary restrictions. Therefore, remember to always check with your airline about specific meal code options and policies before booking your flight. This will help you avoid any confusion or misunderstandings about meal requests and ensure a comfortable journey.

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