May 12, 2020

gluten free familyA mum's blog about gluten-free living in Australia

gluten free travel

gluten free flight?

I have done a few air miles in my time, but few of them have been gluten free.

There is something about travel that obliterates special diets, and having just come back from a recent work trip overseas, it once again proved impossible to dodge gluten.

Between the airport fast-food counters, the airline meal trolleys and hotel room service, there was little of anything but wheat, wheat, wheat all the way to the US and back.

You may be wondering why on earth I did not order myself a gluten free meal for the flight. If you are asking this question I suspect you have never before ordered a special airline meal.

I made this mistake on our first flight to the UK after we discovered my son was gluten free. We were so relieved they offered this dietary option because we were not sure what we allowed to take on the aircraft.

So imagine our shock when my son’s gluten free meal arrived, consisting only of a fruit platter. This continued for the duration of the flight meaning he had to subsist on kiwi fruit and melon for the whole 26 hours.

We ended up feeding him gluten just to get some solid food for his tummy and we all paid the price when we touched down with tears and sore tummies. My coblogger, Mandy, had a very similar experience when her family went to Disneyland last year.

So why were we only offered fruit on the airline when we all know that gluten free diets contain many things that are not fruit like vegetables, meat, fish, rice, potato, egg and even cheese (for the non casein-senstive).

All airlines are different of course, but I can only imagine that when catering for vegan, kosher, raw food and every other kind of diet out there it is a lot easier just to serve them up the same thing – which means you go for the lowest common denominator. After all, there are not many diets that restrict the eating of raw fruit – other than low chemical diets – and as far as I know, airlines don’t yet cater to those.

You might also like reading gluten free familyA mum's blog about gluten-free living in Australia

So be warned.  Before ordering a gluten free meal, check with your airline what you or your child will actually be fed, and if they are shy about giving you details, pack loads of snacks for eating on the plane. There are few restrictions on the type of dry goods that you are allowed to take on board with you so arm yourself with favourite savoury biccies, chips, sweets, and anything else that will keep junior happy.  Just make sure you dump uneaten stuff before arriving at destination – or at least declare it for customs.

Related Article - Starting Out. Eliminating Wheat, Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup.

We actually now order normal kids meals for our son (he is not coeliac so trace gluten does not cause major problems) and combine his stuff with ours so he can eat things like our rice and chicken while my husband polishes off his alphabet spaghetti and bread roll,  but this wouldn’t work for everyone.

Airport transfers and hotel catering is a whole other beast, and I can only suggest what I always do when confronted with limited options. Head for the nearest sushi counter and failing that, find some hot chips to add to that tin of baked beans in your suitcase.

You might also like reading Eating out on a Gluten Free Diet