If we asked you to list the most overwhelming aspects of travel, getting to the airport with enough time to make it through security might come to mind.
Maybe the thought of flying is enough on its own for a bit of anxiety to creep in. Or perhaps you get caught up in packing logistics, seeking that perfect balance between not over doing it, yet also having enough clothes for the trip.
However, travel stress comes from a more primal perspective when you’re dealing with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance.
Go Gluten or Go Hungry?
If you are one of the 3 million plus passengers following a gluten-free diet, you’re often left to consider when you’ll be able to get a proper snack or meal during your day of travel.
For the average passenger, in-flight dining isn’t exactly exciting, nor are there many options offered to even begin with. You can only imagine how someone with a special health condition or dietary restriction might feel while hungry and 40,000 feet up in the air. “Cookies or pretzels?” doesn’t sound so bad after all, huh?
Food for thought (no pun intended) – what’s worse, side effects from accidental gluten consumption, or getting through an 8 hour flight on an empty stomach? We’ll let you weigh out the pros and cons of each.
Although it might sound like a tough round of “Would You Rather?,” it’s a serious concern and no laughing matter for those with celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten.
In-Flight Accommodations for Gluten-Free Passengers
Fortunately, Reservations.com found some promising information for those with serious gluten sensitivities. After surveying 54 global airlines, they put together a guide to gluten-free travel that breaks down each airlines’ requirements and offerings, in addition to some helpful tips and tricks to keep in mind.
Of those 54 surveyed, it turns out that only 6 do not offer gluten-free snacks or meals as part of their in-flight dining experience. However, they are able to provide “low in gluten” snack and/or meal options. While that may still result in disastrous side effects for some, it is definitely a thoughtful step in the right direction and evidence of effort.
Regardless of whether the airlines offer “gluten-free” or “low in gluten” options, each and every single one requires passengers to input a “Special Meal” request ahead of time in order to guarantee they’ll have something to eat in-flight.
While some cut off requests 24 hours prior to departure, a handful need their notice at least 48 to 72 hours in advance.
As if the airfares aren’t pricey enough, 4 of the 54 airlines surveyed report that they charge extra for “Special Meal” reservations. While planning for travel and browsing tickets, you may want to consider your in-flight dining as one of those additional hidden fees!
Who Better To Trust Than Yourself
Ultimately, there is no better tip or trick than simply relying on yourself if you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. Reservations.com recommends doing your own research on the airlines you plan to travel with, in addition to not feeling shy about calling them up with specific questions.
Placing your trust in someone else’s hands when it comes to your gastrointestinal health can sound like one huge gamble. Rather than take the risk, you may want to consider packing your own snacks and meals.
Not only will you avoid any accidental gluten consumption, but we’re willing to bet you’ll have the tastiest options on board!
Airline accommodations guide infographic for gluten free passengers
Provided by Reservations.com
Also read: Why You Need to Start a Gluten Free Diet
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana is a freelance writer for Newslibre & Spur Magazine. He is passionate about tech, games and occasionally writes about entertainment, lifestyle and so much more.