Gluten Free Flying within the US

Next week I’m flying from Oakland to Philadelphia. This trip involves a 2 hour flight to Phoenix, Arizona followed by a 4.5 hour flight to Philadelphia. I called US Airways to order my gluten free meal only to discover that this is not an option. Gluten free meals are only available on international flights apparently! This could be seen as acceptable if we were talking about flights within a small country like the UK but in a country which is more than 3000 miles wide and takes 6 hours to fly coast to coast this is insane!

This discovery got me looking into other airlines and their policy on serving gluten free meals on internal flights and it appears that there are none out there who do. After further research however, it appears that over the past few years airlines have one by one been putting a stop to complimentary meals on domestic flights altogether. It seems that it is no longer only coeliacs and customers with other allergies who have to come prepared with their own in flight picnic.

So…since it looks as though we are all in this together, the next question is what will they allow us to bring on board? There is of course the option to spend $8 on a salad or $12 on a sandwich at their on board cafe (with no gluten free options) but most of us would agree that bringing our own is probably the best bet.

What do you bring for your gluten free picnic at 35,00 feet? A gluten free sandwich? Filled corn tortillas? A salad? Fruit and nuts? Gluten free bars? I like to eat sushi when I’m flying! A friend of mine likes to challenge herself on how much ‘outside food’ she can get into the movie theatre. Do you think I could get away with taking this much on board a flight??

Sushi for my domestic flight?

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  • My advice: hard boiled eggs, nuts, Larabars, beef jerky (if Whole Foods still carry there own 360 gluten-free brand), apples and bananas and Vietnamese spring rolls . . . !!

    Least that what I take

  • You can take anything on board US flights to eat that you can carry or fit in your carry-on. Of course you cannot take liquids through security but other than that, no issue. My only suggestion is to be respectful of the odor, any mess it may make eating it and of disposal when done. Sushi works well! I also agree with GF snack bars, jerky, fruit, etc.

  • Hi – If you are in search of gluten-free restaurants in Philly, check out the list posted at

  • Amy Raslevich

    Jan 9th, 2012

    Even with a preordered meal, it pays to be prepared. We preordered a meal on our flight from the US to Europe for our six year-old son. He received a lovely plate of grilled vegetables accompanied by a separate sauce that was taken away when the flight attendant herself wasn’t sure if it was gluten-free. So while we want him to get more vegetables, that flight was not the time to introduce grilled asparagus. Breakfast was a bit easier on him with yogurt and eggs. What we learned: bring at least snack bars, nuts and other treats for him or he would have been one hungry boy.