I’m headed to Israel for a woman’s birthright trip this November. I’m really excited about the trip, but dealing with Celiac while abroad is making my stomach turn.
As I started to book my trip on El Al airlines, I was taken aback by El Al’s inconsiderate and uninformed gluten-free food policy. I hold El Al airlines in very high regards, and will be flying the airline regardless because of its commitment to security, but I could not believe my eyes! The airline is super accommodating to many special dietary considerations, but, in my opinion, El Al gets an “F” for how they treat those of us who cannot eat gluten.
El Al’s special dietary considerations include providing special meals for for all sorts of diets, including the following:
Wow, they provide special meals for Asiatic, Hindi and Jain diets… along with Glatt (Strict) Kosher Meals. Nice! But then check out the meals provided for those of us on a strict gluten-free diet – or those who are lactose intolerant. There is where El Al misses the mark by a few thousands miles!
What really rubs me the wrong way is that El Al is offering a “limited gluten intake” meal that is not suitable for those of us sensitive to eating gluten – what a tease! Shouldn’t it be more important to have a gluten-free meal available for those of us with serious allergies to gluten or those of us with Celiac disease vs. someone simply following a GF diet? Why bother even offering a “reduced gluten” meal at all, El Al? So pointless. You wouldn’t dare create “limited Kosher meals” that are produced on the same line as pork meals, and then say it’s not suitable for those passengers who keep Kosher, would you? So why mess with us GF folk? Are we less important because of our special dietary needs?!?!
So I began to wonder, what do other airlines do when it comes to providing allergy-friendly meals? I was pleasantly surprised that ALL these airlines offer GF meals, leaving El Al’s GF offerings in the dust!
Here’s what I found out about the following popular airlines:
Delta Airlines: I give Delta high marks for being very accommodating to the gluten-free crowd…. and the airline provides special meals for all sorts of religious and allergen-free diets.
United Airlines: United, like Delta, also provides a gluten-free meal to accommodate those who have to follow a strict gluten-free diet.
American Airlines: American Airlines also offers a gluten-free meal. Here’s what it says on AA.com website:
Lufthansa: Lufthansa provides gluten-free meals too!
Air Canada: Air Canada offers a gluten-free meal, but does not guarantee the meals are free from gluten. Way to confuse Air Canada. Next time just do it right from the start and you won’t need your silly disclaimer!
Asiana Airlines: Looks like Asiana Airlines is square with the GF community too – yay!
Singapore Airlines: This airlines offers a Gluten Intolerant Meal free from gluten-containing products.
There you have it. It looks like, for the most part, most airlines accommodate the GF community except for El Al. I am not going to stop flying El Al because I have great respect for the airline… I just wish they could get this simple detail right. That’s all. Who’s with me on this?!?