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Traveling Thanksgiving Day? Some airports, airlines offer turkey dinner

Whether Mother Nature delays your takeoff, a mechanical issue plagues your jet -- or perhaps you prefer to travel Thanksgiving Day to avoid the crowds -- whatever the reason you miss sitting down for a  multi-course turkey dinner, don't despair.

This year, Thanksgiving dinner will be served in some airports and on some airlines, complete with traditional dishes on the side.

In Florida, the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport, inside Orlando International Airport, is serving a mid-day Thanksgiving buffet ($32.95 per person) and the Sun Sentinel found four restaurants at Miami International, including La Caretta, Ku-Va, the Icebox Café and the Top of the Port restaurant in the Miami International Airport Hotel, that are planning to serve traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

At Kennedy International, JetBlue spokeswoman Tamara Young says passengers flying out of Terminal 5 will be able to purchase turkey dinners in the food court area. The price of your buffet meal depends on the weight of what’s on the plate, so think twice about loading up on those mashed potatoes.

In the air, Thanksgiving Day passengers flying on Southwest Airlines will be able to sip on a complimentary alcoholic drink, being offered “to show customers how thankful we are for their patronage,” said airline spokeswoman Millie Richter. 

Virgin America, meanwhile, has a Holiday Turkey Sandwich on its buy-on-board menu that includes roasted turkey, cranberry chutney, sage stuffing, lettuce, havarti cheese and herb spread, with some chocolate for dessert.

While most domestic airlines don’t have anything special planned to mark the holiday, some international carriers will be going whole hog with the turkey.

In addition the regular menu on Etihad Airways, the national airline of United Arab Emirates, there will be a special Thanksgiving offering for passengers in all cabins. Diamond First and Pearl Business Class passengers may dine on chestnut soup, turkey with vegetables, stuffing and sauce, and have some pumpkin pie for dessert. Coral Economy Class passengers may choose a turkey entrée and, for dessert, a chestnut mousse with chocolate sponge cake.  

On Air Berlin, all Thanksgiving Day flights from the United States to Germany (Miami to Dusseldorf or Berlin and Fort Myers or JFK to Dusseldorf) will be serving turkey breast with gravy and dried cranberries, green beans with sliced almonds, cornbread stuffing and heart-shaped chocolates at the end of the flight.

And Singapore Air will be serving Thanksgiving meals to passengers from many gateways. The dishes will vary slightly from each US gateway, but will likely include roasted turkey, chestnut stuffing, cranberry and kumquat compote and roasted sweet potato.

“Airlines are paying more attention to special occasions, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Chinese New Year,” said Raymond Kollau, founder of Airlinetrends.com,“ because they see it as an opportunity to turn the flight into an experience that passengers will remember, tell their family and friends about and share via social media.” 

And free publicity is always something to be thankful for.

Find more by Harriet Baskas on StuckatTheAirport.com