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Product Reviews, Restaurant Reviews and Recipes: All GLUTEN FREE!

Flying Gluten Free: British Airways (Club World) Special Gluten Free Meal versus Regular selection: Dinner & Breakfast, Lunch & Afternoon tea and Dinner & Breakfast (Autumn 2015)…

Flying is always exciting but I usually pre-ordering the GLUTEN FREE Meal. It is a frustration of mine that with several allergies, I have to decide which one is the “worst” as Airlines (including BA) do not do a combined Lactose Free and Gluten Free meals on their Special Meals Menu, nor one that excludes eggs as well. I hope, one day, airlines recognise that individuals with an allergy often have more than one (According to Allergy UK, 21 million people in the UK suffer from more than one allergy: I wonder how many travellers are like me!)

So we start with my return flight in Club World (Sao Paulo to London Heathrow) with my pre-ordered (GLUTEN FREE) Special Meal, before looking at my selection on my NYC Trip, where I was too late to book a special GLUTEN FREE Meal:

CW: GLUTEN FREE MEAL:

With it being a night-flight (leaving mid-evening and arriving into London the following morning), they offer Dinner before leaving you to sleep, and then a breakfast before landing. I have to confess, on this flight, I didn’t wake up for Breakfast but knew that I would be fed in the Arrivals Lounge at T5. This is part of the Club World experience: maximising sleep time and of course, enjoying the flat bed! So how was dinner…

CW GF Starter:

Every BA CW Meal starts with a salad.

Every BA CW Meal starts with a salad.

The Salad starter was with a GF dressing; specifically, stating “NAO CONTEM GLUTEN” which is a phrase I have learnt whilst in Brazil. So useful to know and translates as DOES NOT CONTAIN GLUTEN. The salad was much larger than the standard one offered to other CW passengers but then they are offered something to go with the salad! I also enjoyed some bread (Which is hardly surprising given these “rolls” were very popular in Brazil). They taste like dough bread rolls, quite light and actually went well with a bit of oil.

My GF Bread

My GF Bread

CW GF Main Course:

My GF Main Course (same as one of the regular CW Meal).

My GF Main Course (same as one of the regular CW Meals).

Now, as previous experiences have shared, whilst it is reassuring to have ordered a GF meal, it is disappointing that you “eat what you’re given” as there is no choice. So imagine my surprise when my fellow passenger (who had ordered the “Grilled beef tenderloin with thyme butter, roasted new potatoes and buttered turned carrots“) saw I was eating the same! Exactly the same. It was a lovely piece of meat (perhaps, unsurprising, flying out of Brazil) and whilst there was too much butter on my dish, this added to the flavour as I am not a steak person. The potatoes still had a crisp edge and I would have preferred more carrots but as a meal: it was probably better than the plain white fish (often served in CW as the GF meal).

CW GF DESSERT: 

My GF Dessert (offered).

My GF Dessert (offered).

The dessert that they brought out to me was a plate of fruit. My face must have said it all, as the Cabin Crew suggested I could have anything else that I wanted, perhaps the Cheese (or pop to the “Raid the Larder” fridge and see what was on offer). I went for the Cheese (having brought my own crackers with me. I find carrying crackers a really good snack: and knew that Cheese would probably be offered: it usually is.) And whilst I couldn’t enjoy the blue cheese (as sometimes they use Wheat to encourage the blue) I did enjoy a lovely smoked hard cheese (with Mrs Crimbles crackers. But note, no chocolate! I guess they haven’t seen my other blog post about GF Chocolate Bars and find it easier not to bother!)

GF Dessert: What I actually had.

GF Dessert: What I actually had.

So plenty to eat before I lay back (thinking) and flying back to England. I was woken when it was “20 minutes to landing” and the Cabin Crew started to prepare the cabin, so after a quick coffee, I was off in London and rushing through the airport! As part of the CW experience, you can use the BA Arrivals Lounge (for a shower, as well as being fed breakfast). This has been reviewed on my blog before and hasn’t really changed much.

They still offer a good hot and cold selection, with useful labels and allergy information:

Breakfast in the BA Arrivals Lounge

Breakfast in the BA Arrivals Lounge

Allergy Notice by BA

Allergy Notice by BA

So you can fill yourself up, before having to leave the Airport and head home. Whilst to some people, this may all seem an extravagance, but it is part of the CW Experience (and part of the ticket!) and when you have allergies, finding GLUTEN FREE options after you’ve flown in, is perhaps the last thing you want to worry about.

Other Airline GLUTEN FREE Meals reviewed on my blog include Emirates (Business 2015), BA (Traveller Plus 2014), Thai Airlines (Business 2014), Dragon Air (Business 2014), Cathay Pacific (Business 2014), BA (Club World Business 2014)BA (Club World Business 2013)

CW Regular Meal (GLUTEN FREE LHR- JFK) But not Pre-Ordered:

On a recent NYC Trip, I was too late to organise pre-ordering my GLUTEN FREE Special Meal. Indeed, I was very nervous that I would have a really limited selection and had prepared myself with a GF Sandwich from M&S (bought at T5 Arrivals) although, waiting for my flight, it looked so good, I ate it for my breakfast [the M&S Made without Wheat Christmas sandwich: which was amazing: such good GF bread and really generous filling: a sweetness from the Cranberry sauce with the meaty turkey and salty bacon. An excellent treat!]

M&S Made without Wheat Christmas Sandwich (Breakfast!)

M&S Made without Wheat Christmas Sandwich (Breakfast!)

But back to my non-ordered GLUTEN FREE Meal:

Once on-board, a glass of champagne and we took off. I was then presented with the Menu in Club World (LHR- JFK):

Lunch CW Menu

Lunch CW Menu

A quick glance at the listing and I knew that I could probably have the Salad with either of the starters, but the main course was going to be a challenge:

  • A selection of Gnocchi (whether homemade or not) with a sauce that left me concerned.
  • Slow Braised lamb with tomato and olives, creamy polenta and wilted baby spinach” was a possibility, although not my first choice!
  • Pasta was a no-go.
  • Main course salad (with “warmed crispy coated King Prawns” suggested a batter or crumb so not good.

So when the Crew came over to make my selection, I explained my concerns. Of course, they immediately suggested that I should have ordered the Special Meal but as advised on the Menu, they are well informed (and returned back with her Ipad, which had all the allergen information for every dish served on board). Indeed, I could choose either starters, but only one main course: the Braised Lamb. And unfortunately, none of the Desserts were GF.

CW Regular Starter

CW Regular Starter

So I enjoyed a healthy salad with the “Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Balsamic Vinegar” Dressing (after reading the Ingredients) and the “Loch Fyne Smoked Salmon with Creme Fraiche and Caper Berries“. And with a squeeze of lemon, the salmon was thickly sliced and tasted really fresh despite being 30,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean.

CW Main Course CW Cheese Plate for Dessert (with my crackers).

CW Main Course
CW Cheese Plate for Dessert (with my crackers).

Quite surprised that I enjoyed the Main Course “Slow Braised lamb with tomato and olives, creamy polenta and wilted baby spinach”  which is something I won’t have chosen but a good portion of lamb which pulled away very easily. The polenta was alright (I think I would have preferred potatoes!) and the spinach was green and overcooked.

Now, the Crew were very aware of my allergies and offered me a Cheese Plate, or something from their “Raid the Larder” fridges (which included yogurts) but I did opt for the Cheese Plate and travelling, as I do, I was prepared: with my Mrs Crimbles Crackers. I didn’t try the Tuford & Tebbutt Stilton Cheese but I really enjoyed the Double Gloucester Cheese with my crackers. And of course, I had Chocolates (from Hotel Chocolat. These are great, as again, with No Gluten Containing Ingredients and from my Chocolate post, I know many of the lines are GLUTEN FREE).

And then it’s time to sit back, or lie back and enjoy a film on this daytime flight, but not before they serve Afternoon Tea. The Crew were very good and knew that a plate of sandwiches (one of the options) would not be a good choice for me, so I was given the AntiPasti Plate:

Afternoon Tea CW (not pre-ordered GLUTEN FREE).

Afternoon Tea CW (not pre-ordered GLUTEN FREE).

Of course, they did serve me the cake selection (as it’s already on the tray) but kindly pointed out that they contained GLUTEN. And they advised me that they didn’t have an alternative sweet dessert without GLUTEN but saw I was already prepared (with my Free From Mince Pie box) so I didn’t see any warmed scones.

It was rather indulgent to have the (cold) GLUTEN FREE Mince Pie with my little pot of Clotted Cream and I was tempted to pour on the lush Strawberry Jam, but it was a lovely treat and satisfied my hunger pains (having only sat around watching films on a plane!

So I arrived into NYC refreshed and relaxed, and of course well-fed with a GLUTEN FREE Meal. And having had such a good experience, I then forgot to go into my booking and order the GLUTEN-FREE Special meal for the return journey. Indeed, it wasn’t until I was checking in for the flight at Terminal 7, did I start to worry again!

CW Regular Meal (GLUTEN FREE JFK- LHR) But not Pre-Ordered:

As it was an evening flight back to London, BA call them “Sleeper Services” so they encourage Club World passengers to eat in the lounge, and therefore, maximizing the sleeping time on the flight back. Of course, I didn’t manage to have enough time to pop into the Lounge but had eaten a good GLUTEN FREE evening meal before I had headed to the Airport. So on-board the flight, I was peckish not really hungry:

When the Club World Sleeper Service Menu arrived I was surprised that it included the two Starter Options, Three Main Courses and Two desserts (mostly with GLUTEN!). The starters would be fine but the main courses were:

  • A “Spicy Breast of Chicken” so the “spicy” put me off, along with the “wasabi rice” which I don’t really like, and the sauce could be thickened with flour (GLUTEN).
  • A “Toasted Panini” which is a bread dish, and
  • A “Rigatoni” which is a pasta dish.

So a limited choice, but I wasn’t hungry, and probably didn’t need to eat, but selected the “Smoked Salmon with coconut avocado and yuzu truffle dressing” and a dessert “New England Cave Aged Cheddar and Gorgonzola Cheese with quince paste”

CW Dinner (not Pre-Ordered) GLUTEN FREE Meal.

CW Dinner (not Pre-Ordered) GLUTEN FREE Meal.

And I enjoyed my “midnight” snack of salad and cheese (eaten with my own GF crackers), before falling asleep on the flat-bed seat and selecting my Breakfast options. Now, on previous trips, I have visited the Arrivals Lounge (as above) and therefore, enjoyed a little longer asleep on-board but decided I would eat something before I landed in London as I was heading off out, straight-away and therefore, didnt plan to visit the Lounge. Of course, it does mean, that your sleep on-board, with the fast winds is limited as the total flight is around 6 hours.

CW Breakfast (not Pre-Ordered but GLUTEN FREE).

CW Breakfast (not Pre-Ordered but GLUTEN FREE).

So after sleeping for a few hours, I was awoken by the Cabin Crew, who served me my Breakfast Tray (with my pre-selected items). The cold Continental Breakfast did have a bread-roll on the plate which could have caused some cross-contamination but apart from that, I thoroughly enjoyed making sandwiches with my own Dr Schar Bread (sample pack from the GF Food Allergy Fest at Stamford CT which proved to be a great two-slice pack!) with coffee, juice and a plate of fruit. So a wholesome GLUTEN FREE breakfast before I landed in London.

So in conclusion, travelling a premium class of travel means there are better options of catering on-board flights with British Airways (with GLUTEN FREE options) but by pre-selecting the GLUTEN FREE Special Meal, you are able to eliminate any worry or concern as you will be served a GLUTEN FREE Meal, even if there is no choice on what you will eat. I always travel (whether on the ground or in the air) with some basics (crackers, bread, biscuits, chocolate!, sweets) so I know if there’s nothing to eat, I will look after myself, and I recommend, when you’re stuck in a metal tube, with no chance of popping to a shop, always travel with your own supply (just in case!). The last time I traveled without pre-ordering the meal, I was in First, and that was an amazing culinary experience; all served GLUTEN FREE!

 

Other Airline GLUTEN FREE Meals reviewed on my blog include Emirates (Business 2015), BA (Traveller Plus 2014), Thai Airlines (Business 2014), Dragon Air (Business 2014), Cathay Pacific (Business 2014), BA (Club World Business 2014)BA (Club World Business 2013) and  BA (First 2015).

Happy Flying and Happy GLUTEN FREE Meals!

Other Gluten Free Meals covered on this blog include (click on the picture to open up the reviews):

GF on British Airways

.

GF on Cathay Pacific

GF on Dragon Air

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7 comments on “Flying Gluten Free: British Airways (Club World) Special Gluten Free Meal versus Regular selection: Dinner & Breakfast, Lunch & Afternoon tea and Dinner & Breakfast (Autumn 2015)…

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