I flew with Emirates Airlines recently and ordered a gluten free meal. I’d have been better off bringing my own food, or starving.
The first problem with the Emirates food for a gluten free diet is that you can not order gluten-free and dairy-free. Since many with a gluten allergy or even more so, celiac disease, are unable to take dairy, this is already a bad start.
I was able to leave a note on my file that I wanted dairy free as well as gluten-free, but I was told this may not be read or followed. As it turns out, the food I got was dairy-free.
The first thing I noticed about it though, was that there was a package of crackers with the meal. They were ordinary crackers, with wheat plainly listed on the ingredients. Most likely this is due to poor training of the stewardess staff. But it also meant that I lost confidence in the whole meal, and did not trust the slice of bread that came with the first meal. I did not eat the bread.
The second meal was a sandwich, with the same type of bread that came with the first meal. I had to assume that the bread was gluten-free, since it was pretty much the whole of my nominally specially marked gluten-free meal.
I ate the sandwich.
The next week, I was quite out of it, a symptom of both my gluten allergy, and severe jet lag (30 hours of flying and airports across 9 time zones). Was this gluten poisoning, jet lag, or the lackadaisical feeling one often gets upon returning from vacation?
I was out of it most of the second week as well. This is not typical of jet lag, and I was by then in sync with the rest of the world in my time zone. And at some level I was motivated to start working. But I just couldn’t. one would think an article like this one right here would be easy to write, but I couldn’t imagine even starting until now, two weeks after getting back.
There are other possible sources of gluten, so I can’t be 100% certain it was the airline food. But I am suspicious.
In any case, the meal I had on Emirates Airlines for a gluten free diet was not very impressive.
Have you flown gluten-free with Emirates Airlines? What was your food like? Was it really gluten-free?