Excuse me, are you Jewish? The ethics of ordering a special meal on plane

I frequently order special meals on planes. Why, you ask? They are usually much better than the standard in-flight fare you get.

I am neither a vegetarian nor a practicing Jew, yet I order vegetarian, kosher, low-sodium, or any other alternative I get, rather than ordering the standard salt-packed meal. I never thought twice about it.

My sister’s recent experience changed that.

For her recent Czech Air flight from Prague to New York, my sister ordered a kosher meal. When distributing meals, the flight attendant came over and asked her:
“Excuse me, did you order a kosher meal?”
“Are you Jewish?” the attendant asked.
“Why do you ask?” she replied.
“Well random people sometimes order kosher out of curiosity and then they don’t like it.”

I don’t know about you, but this strikes me as incredibly rude. Asking a customer what religion they are in front of a plane load of people? I don’t think so.

It got me thinking though. Do airlines frown upon people ordering special meals just out of curiosity? Is it ethical to order kosher even if you are not Jewish? I, personally, don’t think so. If it’s offered, it’s fair game.

Perhaps Heather, Gadling’s own galley expert, could help us out here?