1. Health

Continental Airlines to Stop Serving Gluten-Free Meals on International Flights

By March 14, 2010

Follow me on:

Continental is discontinuing gluten-free meals on international flights. We need to all write to the CEO about this problem - please join in writing and make your concerns heard!

I read this today on Erin S.'s Gluten-Free Fun blog. I know Erin personally but I still couldn't believe the news. I went to the Continental Airlines website and saw: "Continental Airlines will be reducing our special meals program effective March 15." Then I called Continental myself, and their reservations agent told me that not only are the gluten-free meals being discontinued, but the airline won't serve special meals for diabetics either.

Given how difficult it is to bring foods from home past airport security these days, this policy prevents people with celiac disease from flying internationally on Continental. I for one would be willing to pay extra for a gluten-free meal, but the new policy as it stands now is thoughtless and insulting. The celiac community needs to respond.

Erin has a great sample letter on her site. You can send email to:

Mr. Jeffery A. Smisek, CEO

or write to:

Mr. Jeffery A. Smisek, CEO
Continental Airlines
P.O. Box 4607
Houston, Texas 77210-4607
United States

Note: This post has been updated to show the name of the current CEO.

March 14, 2010 at 12:34 pm
(1) CO says:

Larry Kellner is no longer the CEO of Continental. Maybe that has to do with this and so many other changes at this airline.

March 14, 2010 at 1:05 pm
(2) GF says:

Jeff Smisek
Chairman, president and chief executive officer

March 14, 2010 at 2:54 pm
(3) celiacdisease says:

You’re right — thanks. I’ve updated the post so it now shows the correct name.

March 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm
(4) FibroHubby says:

Ug, this is something I hadn’t even considered when my wife went gluten free. Hopefully we won’t have to fly anywhere in the near future…we’ll have to take this into consideration for our vacation plans, though.

March 15, 2010 at 2:29 pm
(5) Kan Kenzan says:

Are you sure that Continental is stopping diabetic and gluten free meals on the flights which will continue to receive free meals? (Flights to South America, Flights longer than 6 hours, Transoceanic flights, Continental Micronesia)

It would make sense for the airline to cut ALL special meals for coach class for flights which will begin to be buy on board- But I don’t see why the airline should cut gluten free and diabetic meals for first class and on its longhaul flights where it still serves free meals in coach.

March 24, 2010 at 3:52 pm
(6) Matt says:

Yes, this applies to long-haul flights were meals are free. I flew New York to Hong Kong before the 15th and had a gluten-free meal.

On my return from Hong Kong today (24th) no GF meal was available.

This is a huge problem as it’s not practical for me to bring my own food for a 16-hour flight.

I’m taking my transpacific business to Delta and United.

April 1, 2010 at 11:12 am
(7) anonymical7 says:

Well, I am sorry to say this is indeed true. I just returned from an international flight and indeed both ways I was not given a gluten free meal. The staff was nice enough and attempted to give me cheese and fruit, but I was starving in both directions. It was an option when buying my ticket originally as well. I sent an email just now to the CEO. I was very dissapointed. We celiacs do not have a choice!

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.