Celiac Disease / Gluten Free Restaurants / Uncategorized

Air Canada Has Got Gluten-Free Going ON

I’ve made no secret of the insane preparation I go through before heading to the airport. If by insane, I mean, packing enough delicious gluten-free baked goods to make me forget the hellacious journey that is air travel today. Since I’m about a week away from hauling myself on a 14-hour flight, I’ve been contemplating exactly how many muffins one can stuff into a carry-on. Not as many as you might think, turns out.

For this very special trip, I decided to check into the business of eating on the flight. I know. I can hear you laughing already. However, those Canucks know how to treat a celiac. Because Air Canada has a gluten-free in-flight meal, you guys. A GLUTEN-FREE MEAL!

And I thought just going to Paris would be exciting.

Listen, I don’t have any illusions as to the quality of said meal. But an airline that serves Cadbury chocolate as a snack, just might have figured out how to please their international travelers. (I realize this optimism about food in the air can only be matched by a teenage backpacker headed to Europe circa 1995.)

Sure I’m lucky enough to be flying O’Canada, but what about the rest*? What’s up American? Let’s see, shall we?

Here’s who sucks:


JetBlue (in all fairness, they don’t even offer meals)

Southwest — ditto

Here’s who rules:

Air Canada


Qatar Airways — bonus points for their extensive knowledge of gluten-free

American Airlines (although I’m incredibly concerned with their “penne pasta” snack and “breakfast cookie” — that shizzle better be gf or you’re going to have some crapping going on in the air. More so than usual.)


Virgin Atlantic — They say they can tailor the meal, so I’m going to trust them on that. Wait, what am I saying???

Virgin America — They tell you which meals contain what allergens. The bummer is, the only wheat-free option is the Waldorf Salad, which also contains gorgonzola. I’d eat it, but would you?

Of course every airline has restrictions, requirements, and flights where you’re lucky if they let you look wonky-eyed at the flight attendant, much less eat. But before you fly, it’s totally worth checking out. I spoke with the nicest Canadian lady on the phone who set a celiac UP with a gluten-free meal coming and going. Seriously, Canada, why are your people so nice? I’ll let you know how the meal actually tastes when I get back from attacking all of Paris.

Bon voyage, suckers!

*Please note, I only did Internet searches on airlines I see ads for on my to the airport. Or in my dreams. Also, not one single phone call was made other than to hook my own self up. This is called shoddy journalism, people. Make your calls before you leave to be super safe.


Image via webhamster/Flickr

18 thoughts on “Air Canada Has Got Gluten-Free Going ON

  1. can you feel my jealousy all the way from ohio ? paris AND a gluten free meal on the plane ???? i am going to jamaica in september and flying delta. i need to see about asking for gf stuff….just to see what they offer.

      • So i called Delta. The lady i got on the phone was pretty clueless (shocker). There is no in flight meal for my trip even though its almost 6 hours but because we have a stop there is no meal. So i asked about snacks like peanuts, etc if they are GF. She said all snacks would have to be paid for (really ? even a bad of peanuts) and that nothing will be gluten free. i said NOTHING….she said NOTHING. so….i guess i will be taking all of my own food. What a disappointment. Not sure about international flights where they actually offer meals. The lady on the phone with me didn’t seem very knowledgeable so i didn’t want to get into it with her. So…i will take my own food and let everyone be jealous of me
        : ) Have fun in Paris !

  2. This is awesome timing. Not to get all political and whatnot, but . . .
    After my jubilation at Mittens’ veep choice Saturday, I realized that the citizens of this fine republic might actually elect the two of them. Whence I commenced to threaten, in that eventuality, to migrate self and sweet spouse northward. Not like anyone cares, but yaknow, it matters to me.
    So, as far as I can tell, just one more reason to move, one more instance where our northern neighbors are smarter and more sophisticated than us, one more way they kick our cultural asses, ay?
    But that’s just me. And I’m the kind of guy the patriotic, god-fearing Americans are trying to take this country back from. Still, it warms my heart to know that if and when I immigrate, I can be a socialist heathen *and* fly gluten-free. Woot!

  3. United definitely has gluten free meals – but it’s just for international flights. (That being said, I didn’t realize it the first leg, and on the way back, they forgot to board it. Both times I had a fruit plate from the first class cabin when I was sitting in coach.)

    Have so much fun in Paris!!! Things to know – Macarons are gluten free (made with almond flour), as are crepes made in the traditional Brittany way, made with buckwheat flour. There’s a place in Montmarte that will do any crepe with that buckwheat flour – Lepic Assiette. (Also on that street – an entire restaurant for us gf folk, Des Si et Des Mets, but it wasn’t terribly good. I had better gf meals at normal places.) Also also also, if you go into any of the Naturalia grocery stores, and you see Schar’s Bon Matin rolls, I advise you to buy them. They’re incredible. I didn’t try them until I was at the airport, and would have brought back a zillion of them had I tried them actually in Paris.

    • Yes, United does too!

      And thanks for the tips. I’m actually staying in Montmarte, so I will be all over these places. Buckwheat flour? I had NO idea. I may be changing up my crepe recipe in my book now. Thanks so much!!!

  4. Ahh Canada, my home now. And I’m from the good ole USA! So I guess I got the good of both countries??? I don’t travel much anymore, but if I do I will certainly ask about gf meals. The only time I do travel is to see family back in US, and they don’t serve meals on those flights. And just an aside, there ARE warm times in Canada, it’s not all snow and cold! We just had a week of 90* or better here in Alberta…..come and visit and see! 😉

  5. Alaska Airlines has a snack box that they advertise (and I have vetted) as gluten free. It isn’t a hot meal, but it is full of protein and even a sugary bit to make one feel less deprived.
    And I am headed to Wales on KLM next week – anybody have recommendations for that part of the world?

    • Thanks for the info! I would guess Wales would be on the gf tip since so many people in the UK suffer with the sprue. Unfortunately, I don’t have any specific recommendations though. KLM sounds totally confused about what they offer in the way of onboard gluten-free meals. Their website says: Gluten intolerant meal: ingredients used for these meals are verified by the manufactured label to ensure gluten is not present. Unfortunately, however, we cannot guarantee that the meal is 100% gluten free.

  6. if your flying KLM they are pretty good with the special meal orders, they also offer a great range of meals which u can pre order (paid for of course)! Once you get over to Europe though it’s pretty hit and miss with the food options on the airlines!

  7. So nice to hear this! I am more than a little proud of being a Canuck. I’ve flown Air Canada countless times but having to get a GF meal for my bambino has never come up since he’s been either too young or we haven’t taken long enough flights…like those to PARIS. Have a wonderful time, and I’m sure you’ll be eating like a GF queen over there.

  8. I am from Canada, and I have flown Air Canada to London. They do serve decent gluten free meals.. I had chicken with rice and veggies for dinner. They even serve a gluten free bun (but haven’t learned that it needs to be heated first). Yes, they serve more than one meal on the long haul flights. On the way down they forgot my gluten free breakfast, so one of the flight attendants gave me her own meal (fruit salad) since she had packed some food for herself. Even though the food wasn’t amazing, it was gluten free, and edible. I love the service I got on Air Canada, and book them whenever I can.

  9. Pingback: Gluten-Free Los Angeles: Rosa Mexicano | Gluten Is My Bitch

  10. Is there any decent food on any airplane of any airline whether GF or not??? Other than a flight to the other side of the world, can I not live on a few prepared snacks that I bring/choose for a few hours? How much food do I need, anyway, that these nibbles and water won’t satisfy? Just me…

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