18 Sep 2009

Gluten free in-flight meals

It has to be noted that Indian airlines are a dream for those with Coeliac Disease... I have taken far too many carbon spewing flights this year (and have another two in October... ouch) than I would have liked, largely for the impact on my carbon footprint which otherwise is quite respectable, but also for the “challenges” around the dreaded in-flight meals.

Our flight to Adelaide was via Singapore with Qantas, the first leg operated by Jet Airways. The online booking system lacked the facility to book a gluten free meal – only diabetic and vegetarian. Slightly anxious about when and what I will get to eat over our 20hour journey, I armed myself with the usual snacks and fruit, but I needn’t have worried.
Probably because Jet is an Indian airline, but the breakfast I was given was completely gluten free... and breakfast is the most gluten-ous of in-flight meals.

A choice of veg or non veg, I opted for the veg south Indian utappams, which came with a pot of yoghurt, a large and actually tasty fruit salad and fresh orange juice. It was by far the best breakfast I have ever had on a flight, and even the non veg option of omelette and chicken sausages would have been an option with the snags removed (assuming you aren’t that sensitive like I fortunately am).

Returning from Australia, on the Qantas leg, I wasn’t so fortunate, and expecting lunch to involve lots of gluten, I spoke to the air stewardess before we took off to see what they could arrange. After much debate about being able to book a gluten free meal, she kindly said that she would see what she could arrange. I was right to get ahead, as lunch was either ravioli or Singapore noodles (with soy sauce) so neither would be a possible lunch, but I needn’t have worried. Before anyone else got their lunch, the stewardess delivered a huge selection of goodies to eat including a cheese and ham salad that she raided First Class for. Snacks and desserts were included, and if anything I ate too much.

So, if you can’t book a gluten free meal, get yourself on Jet airline... but if travelling with someone else, have a quiet word with the in-flight staff. Who knows what goodies you may get.

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