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Can I Trust A Gluten-Free Meal From American Airlines?

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I've found that I can't even expect them to have a "vegetarian" meal for me, even though I order in advance, so this question could be for naught ... but have people eaten AA gluten-free meals and been okay? I'm worried. I don't think of AA as particularly dedicated to customer experience. (I personally feel like cattle when I fly them.)

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I had no trouble with it on our flight from the US to London and back. On the way out, the chicken was dry as toast, and the breakfast was freezer burned. I imagine the specialty meals sit in the freezer longer than regular meals, so I was not surprised. On the way back, the food was fine. (I couldn't eat the bread or cookies due to other food intolerances, so can't speak to those.) We went business class, so I'm not sure if this made a difference in type or quality. I had no trouble ordering it since I called it in two weeks in advance, but my husband is a platinum-level frequent flyer, so he gets different customer service than most.

I brought my own food with me just in case there was a mix up. I ate most of it on the way over since I couldn't eat the quinoa in that meal, but I didn't need it on the way back.

You do have to fly business or first to get a gluten-free meal on domestic flights. (Wasn't sure if you knew that

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No, I didn't know that you had to be flying Business Class or above on domestic flights to get a gluten-free meal! Interesting ... my experience has pretty much been that you need to fly B class to get a vegetarian meal too (even though they say they provide it for the riff raff ...). On one leg of our trip we're flying B class (my husband flies a lot too for business, these tickets are from points), so I'll expect to eat the meal they provide. But on the way back, I'll make sure I bring something with me.

Btw ... I think because of U.K. laws around gluten in foods, they have to provide gluten-free meals for everybody on flights between the U.K. and the U.S. I know I got a gluten-free meal flying coach to/from London.

This is really helpful - thank-you!

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Btw ... I think because of U.K. laws around gluten in foods, they have to provide gluten-free meals for everybody on flights between the U.K. and the U.S. I know I got a gluten-free meal flying coach to/from London.

This is really helpful - thank-you!

My last two BA flights I was handed a box that had the 'vegetarian' word crossed out and gluten-free written in. Completely inedible.

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I flew American this past July and ordered a gluten-free ahead of time and had no issues with it. It did have alot of dairy which I was not eating at the time so I still ended up limited. Thank goodness for the snacks I brought!

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Turns out that AA no longer serves any meals in coach on domestic flights! So nobody got any food on the way back. (Since I wasn't expecting a gluten-free meal, I planned ahead though.)

I ate my gluten-free meal on the way there. It wasn't too tasty, but it didn't cause any reaction. Interestingly, they served the meal to me with plastic-wrapped crackers on the side; clearly, the flight attendant had no idea what it means to eat gluten-free. Slightly frightening, but the crackers were wrapped securely, so I just handed them back.

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I haven't flown AA but I got gluten containing cookies with one of my gluten free meals once (I think with V Australia). Gah! Lucky we read labels so thoroughly. I think it must've been a well-intending flight attendant thinking my meal looked a bit skimpy. Which it did, but giving me something I couldn't eat wasn't really going to help with that :-). The guy next to me benefited though and the rest of the meal was fine.

On another flight, I freaked out when Air New Zealand gave me a bread roll. It was wrapped in plastic wrap and I am so used to bread being omitted from everything that after staring at the thing in consternation I called the FA back and quizzed her. She was great, she assured me that it had come with my gluten-free meal, that all the bits and pieces with my meal had been wrapped up together in advance and they hadn't touched the roll at all. And it didn't look anything like the rolls everyone else got. So I picked it up and it weight a tonne. Knew then it had to be gluten free, ha. So I broke it open and it shattered into thousands of crumbs - yep, gluten free for sure ;-) But I really appreciated that Air NZ actually went to the trouble of providing bread rolls and that the staff were knowledgeable about the special meals they were serving. Obviously, this doesn't help with your question about AA, but I would really recommend them to anyone flying LAX to London. I think my meal must have boarded in New Zealand. There was so much more to it than the skimpy gluten free meals other airlines serve. I'll probably chose to fly Air NZ where possible now, on account of their meals being good. Long haul sucks enough without having to survive only on snacks.

Vegetarian - the best I had was Cathay Pacific. Fantastic service (in economy). Not that I can choose that meal option anymore.

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All airlines and flights are hit or miss really so you should just assume you aren't getting anything. Sometimes the gluten-free meals aren't loaded on the plane, sometimes they give it another passenger but most often when there is a problem it's because the meal is just not truly gluten-free. All of the gluten-free meals I've had have also been heavy on dairy and soy so that doesn't work for a lot of people. It also depends on the originating airport. Some of the food service companies do a better job of understanding gluten-free meals.

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All of the gluten-free meals I've had have also been heavy on dairy and soy so that doesn't work for a lot of people.

Mine have always included dried fruit and other non-fructose friendly things, which makes the side dishes not great. Funny others are heavy on dairy - mine never contain dairy even when there is perfetly safe yoghurt being given to the other passengers.

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That's what drives me crazy about Air New Zealand - my gluten free meal comes with soy margarine while the other passengers get butter. They get ice cream - I get a pudding something of undetermined origin which I usually don't eat. They have started giving out rice cakes (wrapped in glad wrap) instead of rolls because the rolls were so awful. It always reminds me of Tom Hanks' box of chocolates when I take the foil off my meal - now just what is in this dish? :blink: Soy in the breakfast sausage, check; tomatoes smothering the chicken, check; potatoes nine times out of ten (the tenth is rice :D ). I think they do a combined meal for dairy free and gluten free and as someone posted earlier, just change the labels :lol: I have also received a package of wheat crackers with my gluten free meal, but at least I could eat the cheese I got that time (you know, croutons have to go on salad, crackers have to go with cheese). It is always a mixed bag, and they "got me" going over last time with the breakfast. I think I ate some of the sausage before I realized the texture screamed SOY!!! :o

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That's what drives me crazy about Air New Zealand - my gluten free meal comes with soy margarine while the other passengers get butter. They get ice cream - I get a pudding something of undetermined origin which I usually don't eat. They have started giving out rice cakes (wrapped in glad wrap) instead of rolls because the rolls were so awful. It always reminds me of Tom Hanks' box of chocolates when I take the foil off my meal - now just what is in this dish? :blink: Soy in the breakfast sausage, check; tomatoes smothering the chicken, check; potatoes nine times out of ten (the tenth is rice :D ). I think they do a combined meal for dairy free and gluten free and as someone posted earlier, just change the labels :lol: I have also received a package of wheat crackers with my gluten free meal, but at least I could eat the cheese I got that time (you know, croutons have to go on salad, crackers have to go with cheese). It is always a mixed bag, and they "got me" going over last time with the breakfast. I think I ate some of the sausage before I realized the texture screamed SOY!!! :o

Oh, those rice cakes! I haven't had them with Air NZ but they are a staple on V Australia flights, glad wrap and all :-) For petes sake, they might as well just hand us a package of them when we board and forget the rest of the meals. And I find butter is always the first thing to go when you get a special meal. I used to order lacto-ovo vegetarian meals and with Air Canada they were strictly vegan, I got so hungry the other passengers near me gave me food (mostly salads since apparently, even salad isn't vegetarian).

tomatoes smothering the chicken, check; potatoes nine times out of ten (the tenth is rice :D ).

Hee - yep! That's the V meal too. I got salmon once though with Air NZ, that was great.

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Hee - yep! That's the V meal too. I got salmon once though with Air NZ, that was great.

I got the salmon once, too, yum; fortunately they put the lemon wedge on the rice :)

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I recently (2/2013) flew on American Airlines and requested the gluten-free meal. Since it was a long flight (BCN to JFK), I received two different meals.

 

Dinner - White fish with potatoes and vegetables was the hot entree. I also received the standard salad everyone got, a dish of fruit (oranges and honeydew), a roll, a packet of brie, butter. Instead of the Italian dressing everyone received, I got a little package of olive oil and a little package of balsamic vinegar.

 

I would have recognized the roll as being gluten-free by the texture, but it was also clearly labeled as gluten-free and listed the ingredients. The roll also differed from the mini baguette everyone else received. I guess the fruit was the substitution for my dessert, which disappointed me a little until I had some and I realized it was actually really delicious. I expected the fruit to be bland and tasteless.

 

The fish had A LOT of bones in it, which surprised me. The entree on the whole was pretty bland, I don't think it was seasoned at all. However, I added some of the olive oil and vinegar to it and it wasn't bad.

 

All in all, I'd say it was your typical airlines meal. Maybe a bit better actually, because, while it wasn't delicious, it definitely wasn't disgusting as airlines meals sometimes are. Also, the fruit was a nice bonus.

 

Snack - Everyone else got some sort of pizza thing in a cardboard box, with shortbread cookies. I got another meal like the earlier meals. Tilapia (identified as such on the label) with rice pilaf and carrots was the hot entry. A dish of fruit (grapes) was my dessert sub again. Another gluten-free roll like before but, oddly, this time it had no identifying information on it. I felt fine eating it, since it was exactly like the one before, and I wondered if it was a coincidence that I received this unlabeled roll after the earlier one which was well-labeled.

 

Again, the fruit was really good. This time the entree was actually decently tasty. No bones, and the rice + carrots + fish all tasted pretty good for airplane food. Looking back over all of the Non-gluten-free airplane meals I've had in the past few years, this one is near the top.

 

Thoughts - I think AA and whomever supplies their food did a pretty good job. I was happy to get a full meal instead of having to pick apart the regular meal or suck it up and go gluten. I was also impressed that the Snack was an actual meal, instead of just fruit and a salad or something.

 

I do think it's a bit odd that both entrees were fish, but I'm guessing the meals double as pescetarian or lowfat "healthy" meals.

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I have just been on the phone with American airlines to arrange my First class meal from EWR-MIA. As it is the first flight out my only option to eat breakfast before my busy day. Well NOT possible. There is no gluten free meals for domestic first class flights, choice of cereal or quiche loraine both gluten! So why did i end up paying over $840 for my ticket with no food! They just told me to write a complaint email......

 

On a good note i fly delta first class always everywhere and they offer gluten free in first on the flights i took AUA-JFK and the one i am taking MIA-JFK.

 

The worst must be Copa airlines (part of united airlines) on all my flights it was not possible to have gluten free in first! these were long trips traveling with layover for 14 hours and no food option. called and emailed (on the email no response) but when I called i was treated very rude, they told me just eat a fruit plate for my lunch and dinner meals! as we arrived at almost midnight it would be starvation. So we packed our own meals which makes everyone stare in first, was happy i got it through customs!

 

good luck everyone with traveling and eating gluten free, it takes us a lot of time and effort to arrange it all, i appreciate all your tips and help online here always! 

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