Let me start by saying I don't mean to go on the attack. This matter caught my attention & I think it's interesting, so I thought I'd write a quick little post.
A friend's mom was flying to Hawaii yesterday. She's celiac & always packs lots of snacks, but they ran in to a few delays & she found herself stuck on a plane with nothing to eat. I was kind of surprised to learn that West Jet doesn't have gluten-free options. She has since tweeted them as it was frustrating to be delayed, hungry, & have no options. It's already frustrating enough to have no control over delays, but add hunger to the mix...Well, we all know about hanger, right?
West Jet responded that they used to have some options, but were often throwing them out. The proved unpopular in their past tests.
Now I understand that Gluten Free does have some negative connotations. It is certainly unpopular with many people. & I don't blame people for shying away from many Gluten Free products. There are a lot of things out there that aren't great, especially when it comes to the cheaper options. I, personally, don't often buy products that are meant to replace gluten filled products like bread & crackers. I'd rather eat real, unprocessed food every time.
And this is what bothers me. There are many things that are naturally gluten free: fruit, vegetables, cheese, and most meats, for example. Shop the perimeter of your grocery store & you'll find that most of the items, outside of the bakery, are going to be gluten free. There's no label marketing them as such; they just are.
I think there is a lot of misunderstanding around gluten free & what it means. One thing I can see right off the bat as a solution is to offer fruit or veggies. Even a salad with a simple balsamic vinegar & olive oil dressing is a nice, cheap, & simple alternative to a sandwich. I've often seen cheese, meat, & crackers offered on board. Why not find packaged crackers to add to the meat & cheese so that if someone is looking for gluten free, they can choose that option without the crackers having contaminated the rest of it?
I understand where West Jet is coming from & Customer Service is never an easy place to be. You're never going to please everyone. I do, however, think that it's an important thing to think about.
While I do believe that gluten free does take a little more thought, I don't agree that it's actually harder. The hardest part about gluten free is wrapping your mind around it. If you can get past the thought of getting away from grains, it actually becomes pretty easy.