Did you say gluten free?

It’s really good that airlines acknowledge these days that food allergies are a real thing. Remember in the days they used to serve nuts with your welcome drink – not any more. They have even gone a step further and now offer special meals such as dairy free, gluten free etc.

Of course there will always be someone taking advantage of this – just human nature I guess. Case in point – on my flight back from Europe a couple sitting in the next row had ordered special meals. Now when you do this you get served first and the flight attendant came over and gave them their boxes with this really nice meal inside. I heard the word “gluten free” which rang a bell with me because my daughter in law is gluten intolerant so I am always extra careful and check all the ingredients because I know how she suffers if she happens to eat gluten by mistake. so I thought well that is really good of the airline.

When it came time for the second meal (it was a long flight) the flight attendant came around with two sandwich type things wrapped in plastic wrap. I will admit they didn’t look very exciting. The couple looked at this in disappointment as the rest of the plane was handed out hot crispy pastries with chicken inside. “Can’t we have those instead?” asked the guy. The flight attendant explained that they only have enough for those people on board and in any event these pastries did not fall into the category of the special meal they had ordered. Nope, the guy insisted – they wanted those pastries. Well they were lucky because there were 3 no shows on our flight so they got to have their pastries. I could not believe my eyes as they chowed down on this gluten filled delight.

You hear all sorts of tricks as to how to get a special meal on the plane as well as how to get on the plane first (just ask for wheelchair assistance). No wonder airline staff are jaundiced when it comes to public service.

Still – they manage to hide it well. Our flight crew on all three flights I took (Budapest to Munich, then Munich to Toronto and final leg Toronto to Calgary) were exceptional. Still amazing, however, when arriving in Toronto to see some people who seem to have never heard of ArriveCan and didn’t have all their documents ready. I know, I know … we are still learning.

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

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