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Natalya

Avoid Flying LAN Airlines

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I just came back from my trip to Latin America that, thanks to LAN airlines, turned out to be a disaster. If you ever plan to fly LAN, read below.

I flew from New York to Buenos Aires, and from Montevideo back to New York. Gluten-free meals were requested 2 days before the flight, as required. Even though the first gluten-free dinner tasted edible, it was contaminated and gave me severe food poisoning for my entire vacation trip. The following lunch and dinner that were supposed to be gluten-free were confused with Veggie. Couldn't eat. For breakfast I was served boiled apples that tasted so bad that I couldn't eat either. A replacement was denied. On a domestic flight on the way back, gluten-free request was forgotten. As an alternative, I was given a half-rotten fruit. Staff was rude.

Hope you store my experience in your mind next time you pick an airline. Or, rather than taking chances, perhaps, you'd be better off carrying a self-prepared meal onboard along with a doctor's note. I'll definitely try that next time.

Good luck, travelers!

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Oh, sorry.

Somebody else had a good thread about airline traveling with food and what they allow one to bring on as carry on, and what state of suspension it has to be in. Apparently the ideal Homeland Security Theatre Traveler Meal is dessicated, like something that would be left in a monument for the ages, and then you are expected to drink a lot of water only the airline can dispense to you to try to rehydrate the stuff so you can digest it, en stomacho. Normal gluten free food you might actually derive a sense of comfort and pleasure from can only be checked.

I always carry trail mix. I got stuck in an airport holding lounge once for way too long, flights canceled, plane is needing repairs, we get on and off, typical nightmare. You can never carry enough trail mix. So I was chugging a bottle of water down ( I'm an ex athlete who lives in a hot summer climate, with a past tendency to kidney stones, when it's time to drink, we DRINK that water. Did I mention the heat and humidity in this airport. ) after crunching through yet another bag of nuts and raisins topped off by a nice, dry Lara bar. For which I am grateful because at least I won't be risking getting sick and hungry, because I am hot and cranky and exhausted. And I notice somebody in a uniform is really giving me the eye because I go over to the water fountain and refill and drink some more. And I am, by golly, dragging my luggage around obediently, so it wasn't that. But I have a backpack because I need my hands free because of my wrists. Full of ... granola bars and trail mix. They went thru that backpack ever so carefully, which is fine with me. I ate the fruit in front of them earlier. They've seen the nuts, tho. Who eats like this. Sure enough, once on the plane we nearly had a security incident where they demanded to see my ID again and the ID of the poor guy next to me. Oh, the stewardess was a snot, too.

Carry snacks because they will not feed you. But carry snacks that the airline determines look like Real Food, or something. But not too real.

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I have determined that in future I won't eat the dreck that they provide as gluten free food. I suspect that it is risky anyway.

A couple of gluten free granola bars will carry me for a transatlantic flight anyway. It's not like I'm getting any exercise.

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