I’m back from my holiday to LA to stay with my friend J. I had a wonderful time and loved exploring the area and discovering some fantastic restaurants and foodie places. It was sunny and warm everyday and the streets were lined with palm trees – bliss. I return to find cold winds and even snow yesterday – brrrr. I thought I’d do a little write up of some of my experiences. First up, the flights!
As I had previously mentioned, when booking my flight with British Airways, I was told I could not request a coeliac and vegetarian friendly meal. I had to chose one or the other. I opted for coeliac as this was a medical condition and the person I spoke to on the phone said the air stewardess should be able to help with some extra food on the flight itself.
London Heathrow to LA
About 8 hours later they brought round the second meal consisting of boxes of sandwiches. I never even saw my box, as the stewardess came to see me and said she had opened my GF box and found out the sandwiches were fish. She apologised and said would I like to try the vegan sandwiches if they had any leftover. I yet again had to explain I wouldn’t be able to eat these as they would have been made on wheat/gluten bread. She apologised again and left. That was it. I was not provided or offered anything else in place of this meal and so went hungry, while everyone around me tucked into sandwiches and cake. This means that after my 12 hours on the plane I had been given one meal of GF bread roll, some cheese and salad. I was also not impressed with the obvious lack of simple knowledge as to what a gluten free diet involves, as I was offered wheat/gluten accompaniments three times during the flight. Some basic allergy awareness training is needed!
Flight back from LA to London Heathrow
After a restless night trying to sleep, we were provided with a breakfast box a few hours before landing. After missing out on my main meal the night before, I was quite hungry and eager to see what would be provided. My fellow passengers were given their ‘breakfast boxes’ which contained a big fruit muffin, a little cookie, a box of raisins, a yoghurt drink, a polo mint and then the complimentary fruit juice and coffee. What would I get...?
I was given my own special box and opened it to find…some grapefruit segments. Yep, that’s it. They get cake, cookies, dried fruit, yoghurt, mints and I get…grapefruit segments. I sat there feeling cheated. Grapefruit, just grapefruit...really!?! Now don’t get me wrong, I like grapefruit and it was nice to be given some fresh fruit but does someone somewhere really believe that a few grapefruit segments constitutes a filling breakfast and one that is a fair and suitable substitute to the regular breakfast box???
Oh wait, yes I was also given a tiny pot of reconstituted orange juice, but as everyone including myself then got given fresh juice along with coffee too I get the distinct impression this was put here in a desperate attempt to fill up the big empty space in the rest of the box, rather than being something to enhance my meal. Why couldn’t I of had some yoghurt, GF bread, dried fruit, rice cakes, jam, another little cake… anything extra than just grapefruit! I didn’t even get the mint! Needless to say I was not impressed and went hungry again. Grrrr.
I can kind of forgive British Airways the problems with my main meals and first flight sandwiches for not being vegetarian, as they had no prior knowledge that I required this due to the annoying fact you can’t specify other dietary needs if you are coeliac. However, the breakfast I was provided with compared to my fellow passengers was inexcusable and quite frankly I’m going to write and complain. I also feel the staff should be made more aware of basic allergies, so as not to keep offering coeliac customers pasta and normal bread as substitutes for their meals.
I found this cartoon that someone has made about the variety of gluten free meals on flights and it made me laugh so much I cried. Seems I’m not the only one less than impressed. Thankfully the rest of my meals while in LA were wonderful. I’ll post more about them soon.