So we’ve given British Airways a pretty hard time of it over recent times, but a few weeks ago we had a really good experience so thought it about time we gave credit where credit is due and did a little summary of British Airways highs and lows.
On a Friday we visited the North gallery lounge at at T5 around 11:30am and asked a member of staff for the gluten free snacks available – there is always a chocolate brownie and almond cookie cake (which is really good). This and a coffee went down well. Breakfast in the lounge for coeliacs is pretty non existent which is a shame (there are bananas but no bread or cereal). After 12 however, the regular hot food comes out and you are likely to find options such as beef chilli, chicken curry, baked potatoes and salads, all of which are pretty decent.
Smaller lounges in the UK often have gluten free soup or snacks, but never any bread, international lounges tend to have minimal, if any options.
In the air our experience has been more disappointing, you can usually get some crisps on a short haul flight as a gluten free snack, but when going further the gluten free meals aren’t up to much – often fish (a polarising choice), often just a lot of fruit or salad, often no bread roll and most frustratingly often items on the regular menu that are gluten free anyway, but not easily available to you because you’ve been allocated a special gluten free meal. We’ve missed out on many a chicken curry or chocolate mousse to have to force down some dry fish or an orange instead of a proper desert.
The easy changes we’d love to see BA make to lead the way in gluten dodging travel:
In the lounges
Make some gluten free cereal, bread and savoury biscuits available as well as snacks like those at T5 more readily available elsewhere. And revisit the offering outwith the U.K.
In the air
Give people what’s on the main menu where possible. Be more consistent at providing bread rolls, offer crackers, make starters and deserts more adventurous than fruit or salad and get rid of fish as the default gluten free main. For snacks, where possible just have savoury ones that are naturally gluten free and for sweet ones maybe have a cheeky gluten free cookie or two stashed away.
The reality is BA are doing good, but they could be doing great and gaining a lot of goodwill from the growing gluten dodging community with just a few simple changes.