3 flights, 1 gluten-free meal.

It’s that time of year again… Planes, trains and automobiles.

It seems as if everyone is one the move. Airports are full of screaming kids and harassed looking parents, flight prices have gone through the roof, the airline crew wear their same etched smiles, wishing for quieter times and airline staff threaten strikes knowing they will be at their most disruptive. It’s summer…

My kids and I have become part of the travel statistic. We have 2 suitcases to our names and have officially left for the summer. We’ll be on the move for just over 3 months, with at least 10 flights, a few train journeys and much else inbetween, along the way.

Last year I dreaded what lay before me, in terms of sticking to C’s – then new – gluten-free diet. This year, I know it’ll be just fine. We are on familiar territory, we’ve tried and tested products in Sweden, England and Germany and we already have our firm favorites.

The one thing that I didn’t account for, however, was the lack of gluten-free food on the plane. I had spent over an hour on hold last week to Air Canada’s customer service, listening to the constantly repeated message about their current strike action and why they weren’t to blame for this in any shape or form. When I finaly reached a real live person, I was assured that my request for gluten-free food had been taken into account and that all would be fine. I armed myself with snacks for the flights (San Francisco-Toronto-London-Stockholm), but wasn’t prepared for the fact that there would be no meal service on the almost 5 hour flight from San Francisco to Toronto. Well done Air Canada! All you could offer me was Pringles and cashew nuts. Really? Poor C was starving by the time we finaly got to a restaurant in the airport and had time to devour a paella before we got on the next flight.

Ironically, the gluten-free meal service (same airline) from Toronto to London was astounding. Even breakfast was accounted for – something Virgin Atlantic had managed on our transatlantic flight the yeart before.

The moral of my story? As much as you feel an airline has reassured you in advance that they have catered for your dietary needs – be prepared. Ensure that you have enough food with you to see you through your journey. Don’t rely on what you will find in the airport either. Remember that some countries won’t allow you to bring in fresh produce, and so if you are in transit ensure you’ve packed enough things such as gluten-free cereal bars and things of that ilk to see you through, as you might be shedding things such as fruit when you least expect it.

Also, do some research and ensure that the destination that you are traveling to has stores that sell some gluten-free products. If not, pack any special items that you feel you cannot live without – such as a box of gluten-free cereal (a must-have in my house).

It doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you have done your homework.

Safe travels!


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  1. Wow, on all the traveling, Nicola, and FYI, dear, Pringles are not gluten free.


    Oh, to have some naturally gluten free meals/food on planes. It seems like that should be pretty easy, doesn’t it? Thanks for reminding us!


    • nstockmann says:

      Wow – and here was me thinking all potato chips are ok. Thankfully C is only gluten intolerant. Apparently Pringles Originals in Europe are gluten-free and the fat free ones in the US are too? I just found a whole online forum on the subject. However – they have so much other bad things in them that I think it’s time to stay clear of them – narrowing our options on planes down even further. Really don’t understand why it’s so difficult for the airlines to address something so simple.

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