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Getting There Gluten Free

Getting to your final destination is often all part of the holiday. However, if you don't manage to get a Gluten Free meal on the flight then the holiday could have a bad start. In this section we have looked at how easy it has been to get a Gluten Free meal on certain airlines and the quality of it.

Air Canada - We flew with Air Canada, and when we purchased our tickets we were able to specify whether we had any allergies. Fortunately I was able to check off 'Gluten-Free'! To be honest though, I do not get hungry the slightest bit when I fly, so I didn't really have an appetite once my gluten free meal arrived. I was impressed though. It was chicken chimichurri with herb roasted potatoes, a cookie and bun from Patsy Pie and a little thing of coleslaw. I tucked the Patsy Pie cookie and bun for later as a snack, it was delicious. Once we got across the Atlantic Ocean, and it was now breakfast time in London, they came around and gave us all muffins, carrot for the non-gluten-free'ers and an Apple Cinnamon Patsy Pie muffin. It was actually very delicious and so moist! It didn't even really taste gluten free.
Website
Recommended By: @GutGazette / thegutgazette.com
Added: 2013-06-12
Air New Zealand - I had an upgrade to use on ANZ (from a work trip last year to the UK) so I flew premier economy. And yes, I did feel guilty but it did mean I got business class meals with proper champagne, plates and cutlery. So I wasn't surprised when the gluten free meal was really good. I wasn't able to choose anything other than gluten free as the option so I was a bit worried that I might get red meat but I was lucky it was chicken and it was delicious.

There was only thing I didn't eat was the bun, or at least I think it was a bun. When I took a bite, I truly wasn't expecting much but it was worse than I could have ever imagined. The texture was a shock and the taste was awful, so I had no choice but to try ever so politely to spit it into a paper tissue and try to discreetly dispose of it in the empty pot that the salad had been in. Luckily the middle seat was empty and the lovely elderly lady in the aisle seat was concentrating on her own meal, so I think it went unnoticed.

Breakfast was gluten free cereal, yoghurt and fruit but I declined the hot meal so I didn't get to see what the gluten free option was.

The return flight food wasn't as good. The dinner was once again chicken but it was grilled and had of course been sitting for hours before being reheated. It was dry and not very edible. It didn't have the same yummy tomato sauce as the previous flight. It had a few cubes of boiled potato and a few chunks of carrot and courgette. The dessert was a fruit salad with melons (which I find tasteless), a strawberry and a few blueberries (which were also dry). The breakfast on the return journey was also not good . No cereal or yoghurt this time, just fruit and a gluten free muffin which I didn't like. So take snacks in your carry on luggage.
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Recommended By: sleepinghorse.wordpress.com
Added: 2011-09-19

Alaska Airlines - This past week I flew on Alaska Airlines. I came prepared with my own "in-flight" snack to enjoy: Luna bars, sliced apples, and trail mix for the 5 hour flight. Like many of you are familiar - traveling can be a bit difficult, I have learned throughout the years to ALWAYS bring my own food rather than relying on the food options on the plane and the various fast food options in the terminals.

After boarding the plane, I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the "in-flight" menu to find a snack pack titled "gluten free!" It was early in the morning and thought am I reading this correctly?

Mediterranean Tapas Picnic Pack is available on all Alaska Airline flights. The pack can be purchased for $6 USD and includes: Food Should Taste Good multigrain chips, Mario snack olives, Wild Garden sun-dried tomato hummus dip, Madi K's almonds, Stretch Island Fruit Co. fruit stripgluten and Harry London dark espresso chocolate.

I will be booking more flights on Alaska Airlines, thank you Alaska for thinking of us!
Website
Recommended By: @GlutenExchange / theglutenexchange.com
Added: 2011-11-07

American Airlines - When we flew with AA ordering a gluten free meal was extremely easy through their website. On board the meals were provided before the main service and were of a very high quality and were very tasty. Only downside was that the gluten free meal had been finished before non-Gluten Free meal was given to partner. AA only serve food on long haul flights and any internal flights (including to Hawaii) only have buy on board capability so you would need to check the menu card or ask stewardess.
Website
Recommended By: @TravGlutenFree
Added: 2010-08-18
British Airways - Our recent flights with British Airways were our first long haul with the carrier although we had flown short haul previously. BA only offer free meals on long haul flights or on short haul during the breakfast rush. Booking online was easy and there wasn't too long a gap between the special meals being bought out and the main meals so there was less of the awkward situation where part of the party has finished before others have started. The food was of a very high quality and on this occasion the meal was in fact the same as for the rest of the aircraft due to the main being Gluten Free. The only fault that I have with BA is the short haul meals. I understand them not being available but when we flew short haul a couple of years ago, there were no special meals, just a bacon and egg baguette or nothing.
Website
Recommended By: @TravGlutenFree
Added: 2010-09-29
Carnival Cruise Lines - Here is a big shout out for Carnival Cruise Lines! I just got off a 6 day cruise on the Carnival Freedom and it was GLUTEN FREE BLISS! Before I left on the cruise, I called them and let them know I needed a gf diet while on board. They had it all worked out when I came on board. I had my own personal host to help me order gf items and they also converted many dishes to be gf, just for me. It was an amazing experience to know that I could enjoy my trip without the fear of becoming ill from the food. Kudos to Carnival! I will definitely cruise with them again.
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Recommended By: Bonnie Para
Added: 2012-06-16
Delta Airlines - My friend and co-traveler booked the flights before our glorious two week trip to Spain & Portugal. Unfortunately, she forgot to mark my meal as "gluten free", so I braved the outgoing flight with little more than an apple, two Kind bars, and the fruit salad that came with the Delta Airlines pre-packaged dinner. Lucky for me we were able to contact the airlines later that week and arrange for a gluten-free meal, so the return flight was a completely different story.

Let me first start off by saying that I was not expecting much from Delta. They could've given me a shrink-wrapped GF burrito and I would've been happy. That being said, the gluten-free meal provided by Delta on my flight went above and beyond any expectations I had prior to the flight. All "special meals" get their food first (seriously like 30 minutes before anyone else), and both the breakfast and dinner were gigantic and filled with options. The gluten-free dinner included: Orange juice & bottled water; Sliced fruit; Two packages of GF rice crackers; Steamed fish with rice & veggies; Salad; Butterscotch pudding (it was still a little bit frozen, so it ended up tasting like an incredibly delicious butterscotch slushie. The gluten-free breakfast included: Orange juice & bottled water; Fruit salad; Applesauce; Two packages of GF rice crackers; Omelet with veggies; Butterscotch pudding/slush

The steamed fish and omelet were both served piping hot, and the rest of the food was very cold (and somewhat frozen, which did not deter from the meal). Overall, if you're forced to fly Coach on an eight hour international flight, I'd recommend Delta's gluten-free meal service.
Website
Recommended By: @GFreeLaura / gfreelaura.com
Added: 2013-10-20

Eurostar - Back in December (2009) I went to Brussels for a week and, obviously, ordered the Gluten Free option. Salmon kebab with rice and some funny green beans, the usual Eurostar issue salad, Gluten Free bread (for me, that is like the cuddly toy on the generation game conveyor belt), some fruit and some wine. Not bad at all, although the salad with radish was a tad on the weird side. This was Leisure Select class. Please note, however, that since 1st September 2010 Leisure Select has been kicked to the kerb and rebranded as "Standard Premier". The prices have gone up by about 25% and the standard of food has gone down about 50%. You don't get a full meal any more, you get some snack which barely touches the side of your stomach (mini-rant based on pictures and third party information, not experience).
Website
Recommended By: @GlutenFreeBrit / glutenfreebrit.com
Added: 2010-11-18
Eurostar - To be honest I was very mentally prepared for disappointment when I saw the fresh croissants and viennoiserie making its way through the train. I have to it was such a surprise when the tray turned up, gluten free bread (2 slices, labelled gf and wrapped in cling film), Doves farm lemon zest biscuits, Yeo Valley yoghurt, fruit, butter and jam. The gluten free bread was good it actually tasted fine au nature. There was no slimey after taste.
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Recommended By: @itsgottobegf / itsgottobeglutenfree.wordpress.com
Added: 2012-05-02
Jet Airways - Being Gluten Free I pre order a Gluten Free meal with meat and I am one of the first to be served. As well as chicken with potatoes, carrots and peas, some Gluten Free bread, a side salad and a fruit plate (melon, apple, blackcurrants and pineapple - EVERYTHING had flavour!) I was also treated to REAL cutlery, REAL crockery and a glass made out of, well, glass! I last flew in April last year, coming back from Mexico. OK, it was a charter flight and not with Jet Airways, but you should still expect some level of quality when it comes to food. The meals on the Mexico flights were supposed to have been designed by Aldo Zulli but were more Aldi. I was provided with plenty of drink (read: wine) to help my meal go down well. Friendly crew, comfortable seats, great airline.
Website
Recommended By: @GlutenFreeBrit / glutenfreebrit.com
Added: 2010-11-18
Thomas Cook Airlines - We flew with Thomas Cook on our flights to Geneva last year enroute to skiing in the alps. The flights came as part of a package and when we boarded we weren't even aware if we would be served food or not. Food was served but on the outward bound there was no gluten free option as our tour operator had not passed this information on to the airline. Despite it not being their fault, the crew were very apologetic and one member went out of his way to ensure that both us and another vegetarian passenger in the same situation would definitely receive food on the return leg which we did. The food itself was ok but it was the effort that the crew went to in ensuring we got it on the return that we appreciated. We will be flying with them again on our ski trip this year so hope for the same level of service again!
Website
Recommended By: @TravGlutenFree
Added: 2010-11-25
Turkish Airlines - The meal came along with my meal menu card so I didn't know what I was going to get until I got it. I had the standard coeliac smile. You know the one where you have your gf meal but then the airline lovingly dumps a gluten roll on top. Well, while I just smiled in a gritted teeth fashion and simply thanked God that my actual meal was still completely covered my travelling companion actually noticed that my bread looked totally different to everyone else's AND actually asked the air hostess who said "that is the non gluten containing bread"!! Well you could have blown me down with a feather. Stunned isn't the word. Shocked does not even sum up my reaction.

The bread wasn't the greatest bread in the world BUT it was gluten free, it was warmed/refreshed and it was on an airplane. Wow, is all I can say. The actual meal was really nice (considering it was an airline meal), prawns in a tomato sauce, plain rice and spinach with a salad and fruit salad for dessert. I did later note in the Turkish Airlines inflight magazine, that this is their standard gluten free meal. If you do have shellfish issues, in addition to coeliac disease, this might not be the meal for you. Furthermore, Turkish Airlines is building Istanbul as a flight hub location so if you were on two long haul flights changing in Istanbul, for example, I think it is more than likely you would get exactly the same meal a few hours apart. I got exactly the same meal on my return flight. In my case it was a week apart so I am not complaining. Additionally, my meal tray had my full name, flight number, flight time, destination and seat number so the margin for error is very small.
Website
Recommended By: @itsgottobegf / itsgottobeglutenfree.wordpress.com
Added: 2012-06-25

Virgin Atlantic - I was a little nervous about my flight to the USA. I hadn't flown long-haul since diagnosis and after hearing that a flight "forgot" my mum's gluten-free meal, I had loaded up on snacks and spare sandwiches... JUST IN CASE. Virgin Atlantic has a good reputation, and upon booking I could immediately choose my meal selection. They had quite a large variety of options, but it looked like it could be complicated for those with more than one allergy or intolerance. I selected gluten-free and it showed up next to my booking confirmation. When I checked in at the booth at Heathrow, a little notice came while my boarding cards were being printed that said "Your meal request has been acknowledged", so I relaxed and "enjoyed" browsing around the terminal.

On the outbound flight, the attendants were great. The food was mixed. In addition to the hot meal, there was a salad, a bread roll and some cold dessert which I think was supposed to be apple crumble. It was inedible, but the salad and bread roll were pretty decent. It had a whiff of early 90s school dinners, but at least I got fed. Furthermore, the normal passengers seemed to get an almost identical mushy chicken/potato/bean combo, so I didn't miss out! The bread roll was also pretty decent, although I can't remember the filling - I think an egg salad of some kind. I wished they had given me that instead of the mush earlier.

On the flight back I saw the special meals being distributed, but the attendants forgot about me so I had to ask them for my meal. Thankfully it was there, so I have no idea why they didn't give it to me. My last meal was hands down the best meal I had with Virgin Atlantic. Chicken and vegetables on a bed of tasty rice, rice cakes and a fresh salad. Om nom nom.

My main concerns before flying were that I would be forgotten, and not provided for, but the staff were very good. The meals varied, but the quality was much better than I had expected - except the disgusting apple crumble.
Website
Recommended By: @TheHappyCoeliac / thehappycoeliac.com
Added: 2013-06-02


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