Travelling long haul is a big deal for a coeliac as there is always concern about getting a gluten free meal and it is a common query on Coeliac support groups I am involved in.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel Business Class a couple of times with British Airways. I know for most people this is not an option, but for people like me who have earned enough points to travel for free*, or are travelling for work, this post might be useful to see what sort of British Airways gluten free food is provided.
*See the end of the post for some tips on how to earn points with BA!
Bear in mind that there are multiple things that can go wrong when travelling, so always take plenty of snacks with you. I’ve had scenarios where we’ve missed a flight through missed connections (and your gluten free meal has gone on ahead without you), flights cancelled, flights delayed and meals not loaded. Click the link for my hints on snacks to take with you.
My main irritation with airline food, is that I always seem to be served fish and on one long haul flight to Australia (not BA), I got three main meals, all of which were fish which put me off eating fish for some time :-(. You are also given the menu that you can’t choose from (when you have a special meal ordered), which is a bit cruel!
BA flight from London Gatwick to Barbados
The starter was light and fresh and probably would have been enough as just a light meal. The salad was lifted with an apple balsamic dressing you could add yourself (from the cutest little bottle I have ever seen!). The bread roll was a white poppy seed roll by Delice de France. It said ‘not suitable for home freezing’ on the back, I’m guessing in case you decided to take it home, as it had obviously already been frozen.
The main course was a rare exception to fish as it was chicken instead! Yay! It was quite tasty due to the butter on the potatoes , but the chicken was a little bit dry. Dessert was a little plate of fruit.
The potato salad was afternoon tea (everyone else got scones or sandwiches!) It was a nice salad, but a bit of a strange afternoon tea (you can see I was still given the jam and cream for the scones I didn’t receive!).
For more information eating gluten free once in Barbados, see below!
BA flight from Barbados
The meals on the flight home were quite simple, but nevertheless enjoyable.
I chose fruit for dessert, but there were other options, such as a creme brulee type of pudding or cheese.
I can’t remember now if I had a choice for breakfast, but I think I did, but just chose a fruit salad as I didn’t feel like anything heavy.
BA flight from London Heathrow to Hong Kong
This flight had a similar menu to the Barbados trip, however this time it was great to have a popular brand (Bfree) for the bread roll which was very nice with a bit of butter.
The dreaded fish was then served and I really dislike cooked spinach, so I didn’t eat much of my main, but did not need much more after the chargrilled vegetable starter. I did not have room for dessert, but my husband enjoyed it!
Breakfast was a fruit platter, which was fine by me.
For more information eating gluten free once in Hong Kong, see below!
More on Business Class!
Business class changes the whole way you view a long haul trip. I felt much less anxious about the flight knowing I would not have my knees jammed against the chair in front or have the seat in front put back so you have no room to move whatsoever! You also get extra hand luggage allowance which is perfect for all the gluten free food you will be travelling with 🙂
On boarding, you are offered a drink and of course you have to have champagne!
You also usually have various nooks and crannies to put your things, depending on the plane model. On the Barbados flight I had a little drawer where I could put my book, ipod and gluten free snacks! (By the way, The World According to Bob book was very good!)
I believe you get a gluten free meal in shorter trip business class seats, but I have always travelling economy and rarely have been able to eat any of the snacks offered, however I did snag some gluten free crisps on a flight to Brussels from Heathrow! Fifteen grams barely touches the sides, but they were nice nevertheless.
If you travel a lot, it is a great idea to join the airline loyalty program so you can earn points every time you fly. I also have a BA American Express card which earns Avios points on my spending. See link to blogger ‘Around the World in 80 pairs of shoes‘ for tips on how to maximise earning points.
Don’t forget to add your gluten free request into your British Airways profile and it is always a good idea to check a few days before your flight that the special meal is noted.
For more gluten free travelling options, please check the following links:
- London Heathrow & Gatwick airport gluten free options
- Translation cards for travelling gluten free
- Melbourne, Australia
- 100% gluten free London
- Marks & Spencer ‘Made without Wheat’ range
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