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erin24

Gluten Free In-flight Meals?

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I travel a lot and I checked on several of the airlines I most frequently use and their websites state that they offer in flight gluten free meals.

Has anyone ever requested a gluten free meal while on an airplane? How far in advance did you have to make the request? Was it a painful experience?

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I did (make a request) on a flight to Italy on US Air. The meal wasn't gluten-free at all. This was just this past Sept, but fortunately (since it was quite a long flight!) I had packed some snacks for myself. Luckily I didn't have high expectations for a gluten-free meal and so I came prepared!

- Lauren

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I am in the "I asked, and got a sandwhich" camp. I always pack my own food.


Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"

Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy

G.F. - September 2003; C.F. - July 2004

Hiker, Yoga Teacher, Engineer, Painter, Be-er of Me

Bellevue, WA

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I am in the "I asked, and got a sandwhich" camp. I always pack my own food.

I requested gluten free on a Northwest flight from Detroit to Frankfurt, Germany last month, but did not receive one. They gave me the salad from the regular meal plate, which was a bit skimpy, but otherwise ok.

On the return flight I did receive a gluten free meal and it was not great. It included baked fish and rice with a suspect, but tasteless yellow sauce. The package of crackers included in the plate clearly listed wheat as an ingredient... For the snack before landing I did get a nice banana, though!

I'm flying Lufthansa in two weeks and have put in my request for gluten free. I'm keeping my fingers crossed! ;)

Janet

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I travel a lot and I checked on several of the airlines I most frequently use and their websites state that they offer in flight gluten free meals.

Has anyone ever requested a gluten free meal while on an airplane? How far in advance did you have to make the request? Was it a painful experience?

United has a gluten free meal that is really gluten free. The bad news is that they only serve it on one domestic flight now - SFO to NYC and back. Not sure about international. I say bring your own food.

S

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I would just bring my own stuff, that way you know what you are getting. Airline food is not great to begin with and they have gotten very skimpy about it too.


Laura

Started SCD 3/16/06

Diagnosed by Enterolab 2/06/06

IgA & tTg Positive, Malabsorption negative

HLA-DQB1, 0303 0302

Casein IgA positive

gluten-free 2/8/06

Celiac Blood Panel Normal 2/13/06

Rheumatoid Arthritis 7/05

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I had a great experience with Qantas over Christmas. We flew from Los Angeles to Sydney to Hobart, round trip, and I got gluten free meals on each leg of the trip. The chicken korma I got on the way home was FANTASTIC! The trip over included a roll which I didn't eat, because it looked a bit too normal, but otherwise I was quite pleased with the whole experience. For breakfast, they give you an omelette-sort of thing and fruit. The free wine that comes with the meal is pretty nice too...

While on the subject, I would say that Australia is light years ahead of the U.S. when it comes to gluten-free food. I really enjoyed the trip since almost every place had something I could eat. I felt better there than I had in a long time.

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There's no question that a large percentage of people have had very bad experiences. Bring your own food.

richard

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I had a great experience with Qantas over Christmas. We flew from Los Angeles to Sydney to Hobart, round trip, and I got gluten free meals on each leg of the trip. The chicken korma I got on the way home was FANTASTIC! The trip over included a roll which I didn't eat, because it looked a bit too normal, but otherwise I was quite pleased with the whole experience. For breakfast, they give you an omelette-sort of thing and fruit. The free wine that comes with the meal is pretty nice too...

While on the subject, I would say that Australia is light years ahead of the U.S. when it comes to gluten-free food. I really enjoyed the trip since almost every place had something I could eat. I felt better there than I had in a long time.

Interesting...one rarely hears or reads anything about celiac disease in Australia...I wonder if it's better known than here, and if a lot of people know they have it there. I would think their rates are similar to here...


CAROLE

-------------

Enterolab 1/2006

IgA & tTg Positive

DQ2-0201 (celiac) and DQ1-0604 (gluten)

Casein IgA positive

Mom has 2 celiac genes

Both kids have a celiac gene.

Lots of celiac disease in my family, both sides.

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Thanks for the responses. Sounds like the airline's promises they make are not always fulfilled. Airlines have gotten bad recently though b/c half the time they don't want to give you anything and if you want a crappy little meal it is 5 bucks!

Kinda' stinks b/c I travel a lot and (appr 2 weeks/month) and I am usually getting off an airplane just to turn around and get on another one so I will have to really plan ahead to make sure I have enough gluten-free food. It is tough travling b/c I eat every couple of hours and I usually drive around until I find a place that has something gluten free. Ohh well.

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Interesting...one rarely hears or reads anything about celiac disease in Australia...I wonder if it's better known than here, and if a lot of people know they have it there. I would think their rates are similar to here...

Celiac is huge in Australia. Some of the packaged gluten-free products we get up here are made in Australia, such as Glutino (or Glutano). I always mix those two up, one is Canadian and one is Australian, I think.


Tapioca intolerant

First cousin dx'd with Celiac Disease

Grandmother died of malnutrition b/c everything made her sick... sounds like celiac to me.

Gluten-free since June 2005

Dx with IBS February 2005

Blood tests both negative (or inconclusive?) for celiac (in 2002 and 2004)

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I've had really good experiences with Qantas and Air New Zealand.

I ordered at the time of booking the flights and the meals were as requested. They tend to serve "specials' first so I was finished before my wife was even served her regular.

Air Canada and Singapore also responded well B)

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I'm so glad to hear about Qantas. Qantas, in my opinion, is definitely one of the best airlines around. I've never had a bad experience with them. We are going to Australia in a couple months. My sister lives in Australia and Celiac seems to be much better known and diagnosed more quickly and there are lots more food choices available. My sister doesn't have Celiac but has been looking in the grocery stores for me since my daughter was diagnosed. In every store there are aisles and aisles of gluten free products and everything is clearly labeled. She's noticed gluten free choices on about every menu. She even went on a candy factory tour about a month ago and all the candy that was gluten free was clearly marked. It seems that there are many more people there diagnosed with Celiac - I expect that the numbers are the same in this country but most people who are Celiac here don't know it yet.

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I haven't heard very many good things about gluten-free plane meals--mostly rice cakes :) I have a portable, collapsable/soft-sided cooler I take with me--and eat better than anyone else on the plane ! :P


~~~~~~~

Jen

Indianapolis, IN

gluten-free since Feb 2005

dairy-free

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Guest Sibewill

I recently made transAtlantic reservations witht Delta. I had found a page on their website that stated they serve gluten free meals. However when I tried to arrange one, they informed me that they "no longer do that" and they would get around to updating their webpage someday.

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I flew on Continental last year, they have a gluten free meal option on their website, and if you call it in. However it does contain Dairy items. I have dairy issues so I simply opted for their "Fruit Plate" option. Its great, just a plate of fresh cut fruits. I brought some other items just to tide me over as well...


Michael J. MacCartney

gluten-free 2005-June-24 Dairy free 2005-July-26

gluten / casein intolerant

HLA-DQ 2,3 (Subtype 2,7)

Diagnosed Celiac 2006-April-24

Father of:

Michael II HLA-DQ 2,1 (Subtype 2,6) - Allergic to Peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and milk

William HLA-DQ 2,1 (Subtype 2,5) - Allergy free

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I usually fly British Air/AA, Delta/Air France and Continental transatlantic flights.

For some reason, they need at least two week notice for gluten-free meals?

I arrange gluten-free meals prior to the flight and usually get one but I cant always guarantee it will be gluten-free, so of course I bring a goodie bag of treats with me.

In my opionion, of the the three, the best airline service for gluten-free is Continental!

I dont trust the food items on Delta/Air France and always get "Corn Flakes" (not gluten-free) and once I did get sick from something I ate on the plane. I try to avoid Delta/Air France b/c of the issues I have encountered regarding the gluten-free meals and I wouldnt trust eating anything they offered.

Bon Voyage!

Theresa

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I had a horrible and then a good experience with United.

When I flew to Hawaii (from NY... not a short flight); despite requesting a gluten-free meal months ahead of time and being assured it was added to all legs of my flights... well imagine my suprise when the flight attendant informed me there was no meal service on this flight. They did have meals you could purchase for $5 but ofcourse none were anything I could have. Someone please explain to me how you have an 11 Hour flight with no meal service!!!!! Needless to say, when we landed in Maui (where we let people off an then had about and 1 1/2 before we would take off for the 20 minute or so flight to Hawaii) they were not going to let us off the plane. Well I changed that!!!!

I basically told the woman in charge of the gate that I had requested a gluten-free meal, assured there would be one for me, there wasn't and I now had not eaten in close to 12 hours. So unless she wanted me to pass out in her isle they would be letting me off the plane to find something to eat. They did. I was then the most loved person on the flight because they ofcourse had to let everyone off after that. :)

But I will say on the way back to NY I was pleasantly suprised. As they were passing out the meals I leaned over to DH and asked, "what's the chances they'll have my meal." But before I could barely get the words out the flight attendent was placing my gluten-free meal infront of me without saying a word to her. I was shocked!!! And I'll be honest, it was one of the better meals I've had on a plane. They did however give me a rice crispie treat which I gave back to the flight attendant and told her that was not infact safe because there is malt in it. I was hesitant to say something because I didn't know if she'd think I was some high maintenance crazy girl, but I was really pleased and impressed to see she was genuinely interested. She came back a few minutes later and asked for the details again of why it wasn't safe so she could write it down and inform the right people.


Jillian

Positive Blood test and Biopsy

Inflamed stomach lining

Gluten free since July 6, 2005

Tarrytown, NY

"Sometimes being a b$tch is all a woman has to hold onto." - Dolores Claiborne

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Jillian-

Sounds like you had a better attendant staff the 2nd time around--glad for that!


~~~~~~~

Jen

Indianapolis, IN

gluten-free since Feb 2005

dairy-free

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I fly constantly... at least a few times per month... and here is my best advice on getting a gluten-free meal. Order one ahead of time by calling the airline however, bring a full ration of food, snack bars, nuts if you can have them, cheese (which actually stays fresh at room temp for quite a while especially if its indivicually wrapped like the laughing cow cheese) and if you get a gluten-free meal then save some of the food you brought with you for another flight.

I've had experiences with gluten-free meals that range from just totally wrong, to ok... and all on the same airline, its really hit or miss.

Best, Susan

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Thanks for everyone's responses. It seems like the majority of people haven't had very good experiences. I think I still might request a gluten-free meal but will definately pack my own food.

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I usually have not good things to say about Air Canada but I have to give them an A this time on my trip to Jamaica. On the way over I was booked for a gluten-free meal. However for some reason the purser took it off the list. They gave me an omelet which should have not had gluten in it, I ate a minute amount and was in the bathroom in 5 minutes. They found many fresh fruit salads and made up for it by giving them to me throughout the flight. I also had my gluten-free cookies along. On the way back they corrected the probem and I had a lovely meal consiting of chicken, rice, vegetables ,fresh fruit salad, salad and puffed rice cakes.


Rusla

Asthma-1969

wheat/ dairy allergies, lactose/casein intolerance-1980

Multiple food, environmental allergies

allergic to all antibiotics except sulpha

Rheumitoid arthritis,Migraine headaches,TMJ- 1975

fibromyalgia-1995

egg allergy-1997

msg allergy,gall bladder surgery-1972

Skin Biopsy positive DH-Dec.1 2005, confirmed celiac disease

gluten-free totally since Nov. 28, 2005

Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism- 2005

Pernicious Anemia 1999 (still anemic on and off.)

Osteoporosis Aug. 2006

Creative people need maids.

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I just flew with JAL all the way from Europe to Australia and back....and I have been quite pleased with gluten free meals I was served.

Apart from some soy sauce and a biscuit (that clearly listed wheat) the meals were totally gluten free, well cooked, even the presentation was quite admirable (Japanese style). I was given a lot of fruit, not only with my meals but every time I requested.

Book your meal well in advance, though!

And if for whatever reason your gluten-free request is ignored (on whichever airline you choose) - demand some replacement. They have lots of fantastic food in the business class and with a little bit of creativity they can prepare something for you. Yoou have the right to demand it, remember!

Bon Voyage,

Aleks

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Hi, I fly with Vigin Atlantic regularly, and have used American and Continental. I have only recently been diagnosed with celiac disease, but I have contacted Virgin because I am flying this Friday and they have assured me they can accomodate me.

However (and there had to be one...) my partner is allergic to cheese, and despite various requests, we have had indiferent results, varying from completely failing to supply a special meal (cheese is quite an airline food staple) - this is the commonest mistake, to (Continental)providing a meal comprising no dairy

except the cheese on the salad! Out of six flights, only one (virgin) actually managed to have the request ready, and only two have been able to offer suitable substitute meals (one made up a complete tray by taking elements from various meals and the other ended up having to fetch a meal from first class) - again, this was Virgin.

However, it took four flights before Virgin even got the communication right, the two times they produced alternatives were because they hadn't been informed of my partners needs, but I asked them as soon as wee boarded the plane, and they were able to plan something and/or contact the caterers. The third time the check in girl passed the information on to the flight crew correctly, but again, she hadn't been informed by the travel agent, despite our request. The fourth time they had it completely right. So now I am confident my husband will have no problems, but I can;t guarantee I won't! I promise to let you know what happens by Sunday.

Meanwhile, my tules for successful gluten free flying are:

1-You cannot rely on the travel agent to inform the airline, you must call them yourself once you have booked the ticket.

2-You must tell the airline once more when you check in at the airport, and finally,

3-When you first board the plane, take one of the airhostesses aside immediately and ask her to check if your request has been fulfilled. She still has the ability to obtain specialised meals or ensure there are some dining options available to you at this point. Leaving it til dinner time to worry will either result in starvation or a limp plate of vegetables from first class, a hunk of cheese, diced melon and a small olive.

Happy flying!


marianne

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