Ahh…gluten free airline food! It’s a hit or miss. Biggest obstacle? Receiving the correct gluten free meal. Luckily, in my case, I did! Right after Christmas, I flew American Airlines from Philadelphia to Zurich, Switzerland. I called and confirmed my gluten free meal multiple times (2 months out, 1 month out, 1 week out, 1 day before) because the online system was NOT showing my gluten free meal and would not let me select it. I was rather worried that I wouldn’t have a meal available so, as always, I packed TONS of gluten free snacks! Upon arriving at the Philadelphia airport, I checked the status of my meal with the check in counter, the gate agent, and finally the flight attendant for my cabin. Yes, I did a lot of checking, but it is good to know whether or not I have a meal and prevent my meal from being accidentally given to someone else.
But, yes, I got my meal! I was served first and received salad, fruit, loosely wrapped rice cake, and a gluten free hot meal of ravioli. The sides were honestly the saddest sides I have ever received on an international flight–I didn’t even bother with the rice cake because I had no idea where/how it had been handled as it wasn’t actually sealed! However, the ravioli was actually SUPER good!! My pasta was way better than the pasta or chicken dish they served everyone else–I was one happy camper there! I loved how all ingredients were clearly listed because at first I panicked when I saw the title (roasted red pepper ravioli–where is the gluten free?!), but it clearly states “GFML” which means gluten free meal and the pasta says gluten free in ingredient list. I read through all of the ingredients listed just to be safe too (which is always a good thing to do!). Pasta was 10/10 for me–best airline hot meal I have ever had. There was a decent amount of ravioli too, which was unexpected. Kudos to American Airlines!
The sides left a lot to be desired, although I was just grateful to get a hot gluten free main course. I was surprised by the lack of gluten free roll or anything, given I received those on almost every other international flight I have taken. Hopefully American Airlines will up their game in that department.
And now onto breakfast…this was rather sad. I was served a yogurt, a few small pieces of fruit (look at size comparison with the small yogurt! WHAT), and a low glycemic bar that looked rather unappetizing. Again, everything was clearly gluten free so that was most important! I took my husband’s yogurt since his was the same and ate the 2 yogurts and fruit. I was very surprised against by lack of muffin or roll (I usually received Udi’s or another gluten free company pre-sealed bread product on my international flights! so this was a surprise).
For my return trip, we had a bit of a travel plan changes….so we had to switch flights the same day. Meaning that I would NOT received my gluten free meal. Totally fine as the switch was last minute and it was most important to get home (plus I stocked up on Beyond Bread products! See my review of them on previous post!). However, the flight attendants found me bananas and ice cream to enjoy on my flight, which was super sweet (pun intended). Thank you to them!
Overall, American Airlines did provide a gluten free meal for dinner and breakfast. They are definitely not the best airline I have flown with for gluten free (Iberia, Swiss, and Lufthsana–US to EU only, rank WAY higher). Their hot meal was my favorite of any meal though and I hope they continue to serve gluten free ravioli on their flights.
What is your favorite airline to travel internationally? Which caters best to celiac?
**Please note that this review solely reflects my own honest opinion. I was neither paid nor compensated for my visit here. Also, kitchen protocols and menus can change at any time. Make sure to speak to the staff at any restaurant before eating to make sure that they can accommodate your dietary restriction.**