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Gluten Free Food & Inclusive Fares

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Jousams

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Since the introduction of the F&B for all passengers I have had a lot of grief in being accommodated for my dietary requirements when flying in Y.

This is the situation I am faced with almost every time I fly (always on flexi fare), and I am not joking or exaggerating;

(FA) ask if I would like free snack and included drink
(ME) I'll have a soft drink and the GF option
(FA) that will be $12 (or whatever price it is)
(ME) I'm on a flexi fare
(VA) gives me a sandwich
(ME) ...

Once the FA realises that sandwiches generally contain wheat (this often takes a surprisingly long time...), I'm told that policy is i should be paying for food as GF food is not included in either the Flexi or saver offering, however they will accommodate me "this time only"

Then about 50% of the time I have to pay for the drink, and 50% of the time it's given to me for free.

Whilst this is not the end of the world, the CONSISTENT "this time only" response is getting really old.

So does anyone have any info on what the policy is for dietary requirements on VA? or has anyone else with dietary requirements had experience with VA accommodating you?

Maybe the velocity rep can shine some light on this?
 

markis10

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Virgin only offer special meals on International long haul, they make it very clear on their website.
 
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Virgin only offer special meals on International long haul, they make it very clear on their website.
Unfortunately this is the case. Even when travelling in J on VA domestically I've occasionally had no proper food (eg the only breakfast options PER-ADL one flight was a wrap or a pancake, or something like that). The FA found me some nuts or something from the Y trolley IIRC. Good thing the lounges almost always have some GF bread stashed in the freezer :)
 

jackthomas

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Half the time (as a vegetarian) I'm given an economy veg sandwich in J on VA... .No special meals on SH international ever unfortunately :(
Aswell as the fact that soft drinks are not included in the complimentary beverages.
 

KCMil

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I can understand the feeling of the OP, to a point! VA introduced the flexi food then changed it all again when the everyone gets a snack was introduced, but it has been this way it is for quite some time now. I don't really eat meat, so on occasions when I have flown with QF and get handed the standard food item in Y, I don't have an option. Not even an option to purchase something else. So when it comes to VA, I don't expect to have a free option either just because I don't like / can't eat what they are offering on that flight. I do at least have an option to purchase something else on VA flights.

As for the consistant "this time only" statment, I can't see any reason for complaint. Surely this is better than all of their crew just saying "You have to pay", 100% of the time. I'd be happy to get freebies 50% of the time, that to me is showing consideration for people.

And in J class, there is always a meat and a veg option, with the salads now also giving the option to add meat. Being a not so meat eating person, I always advise the CS when they intro themselves that I am vegetarian. And every time I have been assured of and provided the veg option.
 

RB

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Unfortunately this is the case. Even when travelling in J on VA domestically I've occasionally had no proper food (eg the only breakfast options PER-ADL one flight was a wrap or a pancake, or something like that). The FA found me some nuts or something from the Y trolley IIRC. Good thing the lounges almost always have some GF bread stashed in the freezer :)
Can you please explain your idea of "proper food"?
 
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Can you please explain your idea of "proper food"?
"Proper food" as in a gluten free meal or a substantial snack. I was on an early, 3 hour flight where a meal was advertised, and I had called the Plat line to check that there would be breakfast that I could eat being served, which they assured me there was. To me, a handful of nuts is not a "proper" breakfast.
 

jackthomas

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And in J class, there is always a meat and a veg option, with the salads now also giving the option to add meat. Being a not so meat eating person, I always advise the CS when they intro themselves that I am vegetarian. And every time I have been assured of and provided the veg option.
You have more luck that I!
I always ask to have it put on the manifest, which I've seen it is... However last 2 J flights I've had, needed to have economy snacks plated up, however I've also had some fantastic veg meals in J.. So it just depends on the loading I guess.
 

KCMil

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jackthomas, I have found that the key is to speak to the CS when I board. That way they keep that one for you and don't advertise it to the other guests. It was an idea given to me by one the CS's I see frequently on board. On one or two occasions I have even been offered the vegetarian option from their crew meals when more than one of us in J is vegetarian. I've asked both velocity and VA Plat centre if I can specify veg on my profile or booking. Apparently that option is not yet available but I was assured that it is going to happen. Though I'll believe that when I see it.
 

Justchecking

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So does anyone have any info on what the policy is for dietary requirements on VA? or has anyone else with dietary requirements had experience with VA accommodating you?
Yes. The free snack and drink options are....

Yes or No.

There's no choice about what you get. I believe it's the same on QF. Want something different? Then you pay for it.

Personally I think it's a bit of a tall order to expect an airline to cater for special meal options these days. Nearly everyone has some kind of special dietary requirement. Ranging from religious beliefs, medical conditions all the way down to well I don't eat that because I choose not to. To be honest if you have some non-standard dietary requirement then it may just be better to cater for yourself. Especially on a domestic flight.

Even if you could order a special meal option domestically, could you imagine the logistical nightmare getting Mr Frequent Flyer's gluten free, paleo, dairy free all organic snack onto the one flight he's on. Oops! Look at that he arrived at the airport early and is now flying out on an earlier bird. Times that by 000's and you can pretty much see why they just don't offer it.
 
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jackthomas

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Yes. The free snack and drink options are....

Yes or No.

There's no choice about what you get. I believe it's the same on QF. Want something different? Then you pay for it. .
While I agree with you that get what you're given or pay extra, I also don't believe that any traveller should have to self supply food on a flight.
I do think it's a great idea that Virgin is offering more Gluten Free/ Vegetarian/ Healthy options in both Business ( pantry) and economy whether it be the complimentary snack or on the menu.
 
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Justchecking

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While I agree with you that get what you're given or pay extra, I also don't believe that any traveller should have to self supply food on a flight.
Well you don't have to if you want to eat what they give you. But if for whatever reason, you can only drink milk supplied by cows who exclusively eat dandelions, for example, it really is your business to cater for such peculiarities. I really don't get why suddenly airlines are supposed to supply all things to all people. Back in the golden age of flying your $400 domestic ticket still only gave you what the airline wanted to offer. There is just no pleasing Aussie these days, I guess.
 

vbroucek

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Well you don't have to if you want to eat what they give you. But if for whatever reason, you can only drink milk supplied by cows who exclusively eat dandelions, for example, it really is your business to cater for such peculiarities. I really don't get why suddenly airlines are supposed to supply all things to all people. Back in the golden age of flying your $400 domestic ticket still only gave you what the airline wanted to offer. There is just no pleasing Aussie these days, I guess.
God, thank you for your reply... There is growing number of people having all sorts of weird dietary requirements demanding airlines to cater for it... And yes, particularly Australians are starting to be over-spoiled... I have seen it at conferences and even at government's functions - people demanding special dietary care... Sorry folks, if you cannot eat what normal people do, do not attend!!!
 

JessicaTam

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jackthomas, I have found that the key is to speak to the CS when I board. That way they keep that one for you and don't advertise it to the other guests. It was an idea given to me by one the CS's I see frequently on board. On one or two occasions I have even been offered the vegetarian option from their crew meals when more than one of us in J is vegetarian. I've asked both velocity and VA Plat centre if I can specify veg on my profile or booking. Apparently that option is not yet available but I was assured that it is going to happen. Though I'll believe that when I see it.
It has probably been 18 months since I flew VA J, but at the time I was told the same thing. Tell the CSM on boarding, and adding meal preferences to your profile would be coming soon.

*sigh*
 
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"God, thank you for your reply... There is growing number of people having all sorts of weird dietary requirements demanding airlines to cater for it... And yes, particularly Australians are starting to be over-spoiled... I have seen it at conferences and even at government's functions - people demanding special dietary care... Sorry folks, if you cannot eat what normal people do, do not attend!!!"

Let's get some real information into this discussion.

1) Australian has one of the highest incidence of Gluten Intolerance in the world. Just look at the number of items that are now available in the supermarkets (and the fact that Woolworths and Coles see a lot of money in it - which is really annoying in that we don't have a choice and they are getting extra margin of those of us with medical conditions).

2) There are relatively easy ways for organisations to help manage and manage their costs. As mentioned earlier in this thread, last year when I had a few flights on Rex Airlines, they had a choice of two snack items one of which was gluten free. VA have gluten free crackers for their cheese platter in J class. Many meals can easily be made gluten free (eg meal with rice instead of pasta, and think about the ingredients for the sauces etc).

3) I, like gluten free people, are normal people, medically we just can't eat stuff. I am a regular speaker at conferences, and attend conference to maintain my professional knowledge. If I am paying considerable sums of money for a conference at a major hotel that can easily cater for gluten free, I expect to be feed, and I do get p**sed off at hotels that are lazy and for three days in a row give me fruit for morning and afternoon tea and for dessert at lunchtime and dinner. It probably cost them more than more interesting and available options.

4) The majority of people on gluten free diets are not doing it for some trendy reason. I was ill for years with misdiagnosis and have some permanent damage to my gut system. The impact was immediate when I went on to a gluten free diet. Most of us are on it for medical reasons.
 

Justchecking

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Let's get some real information into this discussion.
Yes lets.

1) Australian has one of the highest incidence of Gluten Intolerance in the world. Just look at the number of items that are now available in the supermarkets (and the fact that Woolworths and Coles see a lot of money in it - which is really annoying in that we don't have a choice and they are getting extra margin of those of us with medical conditions).
Commercial profiteering has nothing to do with whether or not someone can easily live gluten free or whether or not medically forced gluten-free diets are all that common. Gluten-free lifestyles are popular for various reasons of which true coeliacs are a small percentage. The popularity of gluten-free product shouldn't be confused with the number of true coeliacs out there. Wheat belly, Grain brain and a host of other bestselling titles advocating wheat and gluten-free diets has a lot to do with this profiteering. People don't really want to change their diets they just want a substitute for what they regularly eat which happens to be gluten-free.

I do not eat gluten and I never buy 'gluten-free' products because they are largely unnecessary. Switching to a diet based primarily on vegetables, meat, dairy and unprocessed food and naturally gluten-free grain like rice easily creates a gluten-free lifestyle at little expense. There may not be a choice about whether you can consume gluten or not, but there is definately a choice about how you cater to it. I know when I travel that the world does not cater to my peculiarity and I do not expect it to. Gluten grains, like it or not, is still the mainstay of most people's diets so I am unsurprised when it is served by a company that caters and I plan accordingly.

2) There are relatively easy ways for organisations to help manage and manage their costs. As mentioned earlier in this thread, last year when I had a few flights on Rex Airlines, they had a choice of two snack items one of which was gluten free. VA have gluten free crackers for their cheese platter in J class. Many meals can easily be made gluten free (eg meal with rice instead of pasta, and think about the ingredients for the sauces etc).
Yes this is true. But then gluten intolerant people still only account for a tiny percentage of the entire population. Gluten-free processed food often tastes rubbish. Should over 90% of the population be served expensive gluten-free stuff to cater to the tiny percentage who would appreciate (not necessarily need it, when talking about a 1hr domestic flight)? That's a logistical decision that I bet comes out at the end of number crunching to be not worth their while. When you start multiplying the substitutions in the magnitude of thousands, plus factor in the difficulty of procuring things like pasta sauce in commercial quantities that hasn't been thickened with corn flour (a wheat product), it probably does become prohibitively expensive and difficult and uneconomical. I can understand why a corporation with lots of logistical issues doesn't want to add more to the mix.

3) I, like gluten free people, are normal people, medically we just can't eat stuff. I am a regular speaker at conferences, and attend conference to maintain my professional knowledge. If I am paying considerable sums of money for a conference at a major hotel that can easily cater for gluten free, I expect to be feed, and I do get p**sed off at hotels that are lazy and for three days in a row give me fruit for morning and afternoon tea and for dessert at lunchtime and dinner. It probably cost them more than more interesting and available options.
Yes. But we are not talking about a 3 day conference in a hotel where the preparation of a rice based meal is both easy and convenient. We are talking about a domestic flight typically 1hr in duration in which no-one is actually going to starve for lack of a gluten-free cookie. Virgin does cater for gluten-free in their lounge by providing an appropriate bread and fillings. They are not force feeding anyone gluten. Perspective given the situation is what I'm advocating.

4) The majority of people on gluten free diets are not doing it for some trendy reason. I was ill for years with misdiagnosis and have some permanent damage to my gut system. The impact was immediate when I went on to a gluten free diet. Most of us are on it for medical reasons.
At no time did I say that people on diets are doing it for trendy reasons. I specifically said, whatever reason, and pointed out they can range from medical conditions right down to personal preference which is true. My posts were not to belittle serious conditions but to point out that the world is a heck of lot more complex than it used to be and service providers have to draw a line somewhere otherwise they would never be able to focus on their core business, which isn't dietary btw.

The cows and dandelions? My sense of humour coupled with a desire not to offend anyone's real and particular dietary habits. ;)
 
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Jaryd

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Yes lets.



Commercial profiteering has nothing to do with whether or not someone can easily live gluten free or whether or not medically forced gluten-free diets are all that common. Gluten-free lifestyles are popular for various reasons of which true coeliacs are a small percentage. The popularity of gluten-free product shouldn't be confused with the number of true coeliacs out there. Wheat belly, Grain brain and a host of other bestselling titles advocating wheat and gluten-free diets has a lot to do with this profiteering. People don't really want to change their diets they just want a substitute for what they regularly eat which happens to be gluten-free.

I do not eat gluten and I never buy 'gluten-free' products because they are largely unnecessary. Switching to a diet based primarily on vegetables, meat, dairy and unprocessed food and naturally gluten-free grain like rice easily creates a gluten-free lifestyle at little expense. There may not be a choice about whether you can consume gluten or not, but there is definately a choice about how you cater to it. I know when I travel that the world does not cater to my peculiarity and I do not expect it to. Gluten grains, like it or not, is still the mainstay of most people's diets so I am unsurprised when it is served by a company that caters and I plan accordingly.



Yes this is true. But then gluten intolerant people still only account for a tiny percentage of the entire population. Gluten-free processed food often tastes rubbish. Should over 90% of the population be served expensive gluten-free stuff to cater to the tiny percentage who would appreciate (not necessarily need it, when talking about a 1hr domestic flight)? That's a logistical decision that I bet comes out at the end of number crunching to be not worth their while. When you start multiplying the substitutions in the magnitude of thousands, plus factor in the difficulty of procuring things like pasta sauce in commercial quantities that hasn't been thickened with corn flour (a wheat product), it probably does become prohibitively expensive and difficult and uneconomical. I can understand why a corporation with lots of logistical issues doesn't want to add more to the mix.



Yes. But we are not talking about a 3 day conference in a hotel where the preparation of a rice based meal is both easy and convenient. We are talking about a domestic flight typically 1hr in duration in which no-one is actually going to starve for lack of a gluten-free cookie. Virgin does cater for gluten-free in their lounge by providing an appropriate bread and fillings. They are not force feeding anyone gluten. Perspective given the situation is what I'm advocating.



At no time did I say that people on diets are doing it for trendy reasons. I specifically said, whatever reason, and pointed out they can range from medical conditions right down to personal preference which is true. My posts were not to belittle serious conditions but to point out that the world is a heck of lot more complex than it used to be and service providers have to draw a line somewhere otherwise they would never be able to focus on their core business, which isn't dietary btw.

The cows and dandelions? My sense of humour coupled with a desire not to offend anyone's real and particular dietary habits. ;)
Are you Pete Evans??? ;)
 
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