For frequent travelers, those with children who have CD, or folks just getting the hang of airline travel on a gluten-free diet, this one’s for you. The key to traveling gluten free is always keeping in mind the “Seven P’s”: Prior, Proper, Planning, Prevents, Pretty, Poor, Performance! Let’s take a look at some tips to keeping the only stressful part of your flight the overhead storage space.
Pre-order a gluten-free meal
Airlines that offer gluten-free meals typically need advance notification anywhere between 24 to 96 hours to ensure that your special meal is ready at the time of your departure. The standard code used by the airline industry for a gluten-free meal is GFML (Gluten-Free Meal). This is defined as “no wheat, rye, barley or their derivatives will be included with the meal.” Please note this does not include oats, which can cause a reaction in some people. FYI: you can also order a NLML (Non-Lactose Meal) which indicates “no milk, cheese, dairy or their derivatives.”
Know where to go
Stuck in the terminal for a while? Click here for a list of 20 major airports in the US and their gluten-free offerings or here for gluten-free offerings in airports listed by state.
Remember to be mindful of potential cross-contamination factors (See Common Cross-Contamination Menu Items). For example, Cibo Express Gourmet Markets, found in more than 15 major airport locations in the US, has salads, meats and cheese and more. Wolfgang Puck’s in Boston and Atlanta airports has a variety of gluten-free menu items, including the rotisserie chicken and butternut squash soup. Double check with your server as menu items change!
If you only have time for a grab and go snack, places like Starbucks have mixed dried fruit, nuts and nut snack bars, while other vendors will have yogurt, fresh fruit, or chips. Remember, even though you might be in a rush, always double check the label on packaged foods, and don’t forget to drink water!