They Served What?! Readers React to Airline Serving Man with Celiac Just Snacks for Long Flight

If you haven’t heard, James Howe, a 39-year-old man with celiac, was given only snacks to get him through 10+ hours on a flight from Mexico to his home in England following his honeymoon. Howe had ordered a full meal long before the flight. He had a lot to say about the incident on his Facebook page. 

“Fabulous way to end our honeymoon,” he said in a lengthy post that called out the airline. 

We asked for your experiences. And you answered with errors, meals of nothing but lettuce and one reader reported receiving a banana wrapped in plastic. You also shared some positive experiences. Read on for more. 

Here’s what else readers are saying:

Jayne Burcombe-King: “I ordered a GF meal. Then when it came to it they didn’t have one for me. So they had to scramble around and take a GF off a passenger who fell asleep.”


Cindy Quadrini: “Happened to me from London to Washington DC. Ordered and confirmed it……”no record of it”. So glad I carry GF snacks with me. Told them I’d just have a ginger ale…..”Sorry, we just handed out the last one”. Not a good flight!”

Sky Vad: “A few months ago, I flew to Mexico by Iberia and despite that I’d selected gluten-free food accordingly with their very strict rules, when I took the flight they gave me VEGETARIAN food by “error” and the assistant told me “what’s the problem? Vegetarian and gluten-free are very similar”… I always take food with me, but is not fair to be 11 hours eating two fruits and some almonds… 😖”

Ulla-Britt Vitus Cowan: “I was served once with an unpeeled Banana wrapped in cling wrap labeled GF.”


Claire Barnes: “Went all the way to Australia and most of the way back on watermelon after my husband spent 45 mins on the phone ordering gf/ veggie meals.”

Carol Mohan: “Even when they do have them, they are often inedible. Try to cover vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free in one meal – result cardboard. I usually bring food on longer flights.”

Patricia Bercovich: “Oh yes. Flying from the U.K. to California. Then I ate the fruit salad they scrounged up for me and was severely glutened. I now always bring enough for the flight plus one day, in case of delays.”

Becky Culbertson: “Multiple times in my life. My favorite gluten-free meal on an airline was lettuce (just lettuce, no other veggies and no dressing…. not one drop) it was icky.”

And it’s not just airlines!


Pattie White: “Lol. No. I can’t afford a ten hour flight, but I did spend many nights sitting overnight w hospitalized loved ones without having had anything to eat since lunchtime. Hospitals are not Celiac friendly.”

Carla Rishton: “It wasn’t an airline but I paid for 1st class via a train service and was given popcorn as that was the only gluten-free items available.”

Nonetheless, we did find a few happy endings:

Heather Kramer Mallinger: “Flew quite a bit for work several years ago to Europe, and Delta always had something for me. I did preselect that I was gluten-free. Not to say airlines cant make mistakes, but had great experiences on Delta. I always took extra snacks just in case, and the food wasn’t always the best, but I was happy to get a meal on the long flights.”

Patti Hanisch Townsend: “Air Serbia was amazing, GF meals and snacks both ways.”


Jeanne Leadley: “My personal favorite is when Air France forgot my GF meal. They gave me free champagne and cognac. Who needs food. 😜”

Taking all this into consideration, always bulk up on your favorite GF food before traveling! Airlines do not always follow through on their ability to provide meals for celiacs or restricted diets

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