Airline Crashes Before Take-Off Without Gluten-Free Meals
‘Get the meal you want and never suffer from food envy again!’
WestJet makes this proactive assertion via emails sent to its flyers two weeks before take off. Unfortunately, they fail the 10% of the population who are medically mandated (or choose) to eat gluten free.
See Update: FYI #WestJet: Argentine Airlines Mandated to Provide Gluten-Free Meals
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Food envy is something we celiacs know too well! That was why, ten days before my flight with WestJet, I was delighted to receive their email exclaiming that I could have the meal I want from fresh seasonal choices, including vegetarian. I proceeded to the link, see a menu and place an order to see what they had to offer celiacs.
I clicked on Learn More , where I was assure that this would be “My flight, my choice.”
I poured over the pre-purchase choices, and not seeing any ‘GF’ notations, checked their FAQ’s at the bottom of the page. None to be found, I followed the links to Special Arrangements, Guests with Special Needs and finally, Allergies. Although nuts, peanuts and pet allergies are admirably addressed, I still found no mention of how a gluten-free diner might be accommodated. Really wanting to take WestJet up on their offer to ‘Choose, Relax and Enjoy’, I reached out as instructed to email@example.com with my question, “I’m a celiac. Which options(s) may I count on to be 100% gluten free?” I was not honored with a reply in the eight days before take-off.
So it was that I boarded my flight without benefit of a pre-ordered meal, but with hopes that I might be able to enjoy one from their in-cabin offerings. Not wanting to judge WestJet’s ‘Edibles and Entertainment’ brochure by its cover picture of a Heineken, sandwich and Pringles, I quickly flipped the page to the tantalizing images of in-flight meals. Unfortunately, prepared off site in advance, all included bread and wraps made from wheat.
I was heartened to see the ‘GF‘ notations in WestJet’s Snack and Tapas Boxes and the Life-Bite platter but all included a preset selection of up to 5 gluten items I could not consume, but had to pay for anyway.
That left me to Choose from just two ‘a la carte’ gluten-free items, Hummus and Lentil Crackers and Beef Jerky. I would have to make do in order to Relax and Enjoy.
This was my WestJet flight but it was decidedly not going my way. I was left envious of my fellow diners and keenly aware of the suffering I had been assured, would never happen again, at least on a WestJet flight.
WestJet raises the expectations of all of its diners, including the gluten free, with its promotion, ‘Get the meal you want and never suffer from food envy again,’ did not respond to email concerns at the address offered and while some encumbered provisions are made, there simply are no gluten-free meals to be had.
WestJet promises “More great food on the horizon’ with chefs constantly working on new menu items … and enhancing our pre-purchase services.” Based on my recent experience, accommodating guests who require gluten -free meals should – and would be – their first ‘touch down.’
Have you flown with an airline that was able to accommodate your gluten-free needs? What did they offer you? How was it arranged?
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