Yesterday we flew Aer Lingus from Paris to Toronto, with a layover and a connection in Dublin. Having never flown Aer Lingus before, I was unsure what to expect in terms of service and quality of gluten free food options for my son. Most airlines offer something gluten free, but I've learned from experience that what is advertised is not always what you get! We've been on flights where the gluten free meal was never delivered on-board, or where the meal was gluten free but the snack wasn't, or where part of the meal was gluten free but the bun or cookie was made with wheat flour.
Most short haul flights these days offer very little for free, and even drinks and snacks come with a price. Aer Lingus offers the option of ordering and paying for a meal in advance on a short haul flight, or purchasing snacks on the flight from a set menu. The flight from Paris to Dublin is just over an hour long, but we decided to order something for our son in case there weren't many options at the airport in Dublin. For the record though, there are gluten free options at the airport, and the airport website is pretty informative!
For 7.50 Euros he received a full meal of Cottage Pie (ground beef and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes), drink, and dessert. We printed out the voucher to hand to the staff on the flight. We had no issues getting the meal, and he ate every last bite.
I was also happy to see that there were gluten free items available from the inflight menu card. In addition to drinks and sandwiches, for about 4.50 Euros you can purchase snack boxes with different themes. There's a kids one that also comes with pencil crayons and sheets for colouring, an adult one, and a gluten free one with certified gluten free products.
On the long haul flight from Dublin to Toronto, we called the airline to request a gluten free meal for him. There was no extra charge for this, as meals are served on long haul flights. The meal came wrapped in plastic, with a card attached with Gluten Free/Coeliac checked off, and his name and seat number at the top.
His meal included chicken and vegetables, a grated carrot salad, a fruit salad, and gluten free bread. My husband joked that it looked better than our regular meals! Once again, the meal was good quality and my son was happy. The airline also provided a gluten free scone when snack service came around.
Overall, I was highly impressed with the quality and service. It was no problem getting gluten free food items for him, and no one was confused or uninformed. The entire Aer Lingus experience overall was fantastic. The staff was courteous and professional, the inflight entertainment system included the latest episodes of some Netflix and HBO shows (including House of Cards and Game of Thrones), and the meals were good too.
I hope to get the opportunity to fly with them again soon!