Airlines & Hotels
Order Gluten Free, Non-Lactose & Special Airline Meals
Many global airlines cater to those who need special meals when traveling by air. The selection & quality of these meals significantly varies from airline to airline. When booking your flight, indicate that you would like to order a special meal & provide the standard special meal code.
Note: majority of airline computer systems can only address one meal code as a requirement. A few of the 25 standard meal codes used by the airline industry around the world for special dietary meals are provided below:
GFML (Gluten Free Meal)
NLML (Non-Lactose Meal)
PFML (Peanut Free Meal)
FPML (Fruit Plate Meal)
DBML (Diabetic Meal)
VGML (Vegan Meal)
SFML (Seafood Meal)
RVML (Raw-Vegetarian Meal)
Some international airline carriers specify on their websites if they offer some of the more commonly requested meals to travelers including: glutenfree meals (GFML), non-lactose meals (NLML), peanut free meals (PFML), fruit plate meals (FPML) and seafood meals (SFML).
The following guidelines will help you to order and receive gluten free, allergy friendly, diabetic, vegan and healthy meals while traveling by air.
- Although most airline carriers offer special diet meals, it is still necessary to make airline personnel aware of your needs in advance
- Airlines that offer healthy special meals typically need advance notification anywhere between 24 to 96 hours to ensure that your desired meal is ready at the time of your departure
- Confirm your meal request directly with the airline or with your travel agent prior to your departure
- Be sure to pack some snacks as a precautionary measure, just in case your flight is delayed, plans change or an error is made with your meal.
- Long haul flights can be particularly difficult if you do not have anything to eat during your travels! For helpful hints on what you can bring, please visit the Snacks page.
- Speed up the customs process with Global Entry – a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program
Global Airline Listing of Special Diet Meals
Below is a chart of global airlines indicating the availability of these five types of meals. Be sure to contact your preferred airline to order your desired special meal aboard your flight.
Hotel Planning for Gluten & Allergy Free Travel
Your comfort level with managing your gluten and allergen-free lifestyle, the severity of your food allergies and your personal preferences are all key influencers in your choice of accommodations when traveling at home or abroad.
Various alternatives may include hotels, resorts, bed & breakfasts, hostels, villas, apartments, cottages and even castles! Therefore, we recommend that you:
- Research your options to determine the best fit for your dietary needs and travel destinations.
- Determine if you need a refrigerator and/or kitchen to prepare some of your meals.
- If desired, request a small refrigerator, which may result in an extra fee.
- Contact the customer service department to address any unanswered questions prior to book- ing your reservation.
- Inform the accommodation when making reservations of your allergen concerns.
- Educate yourself on ingredients, food preparation techniques and hidden allergens to determine appropriate meals and restaurants, if applicable.
- Discuss meal alternatives with the culinary specialists and order your allergen and gluten-free meals in advance, if appropriate.
- Ideally, obtain in writing a mutually agreed upon meal plan and approach to ensure safe eating, especially if your accommodation is at an all- inclusive resort.
- Determine what safe snacks you need to pack for excursions away from your accommodation.
- Confirm your gluten and allergen-free meals with your accommodation 3- 5 days prior to your departure, if appropriate.
- Prepare an emergency plan with medicine, location of closest medical facilities and instructions for others, if needed.
- Research grocery stores and supermarkets close to your accommodation for some basic foods, if desired.
- Check with your accommodation about restaurants nearby and contact them prior to your departure, if appropriate.
- Stay within close proximity of the nearest hospital if at risk to anaphylaxis.
- When you arrive, communicate your dietary concerns to the accommodation wait staff as required for safe eating.
Before your embark on your next adventure, we recommend that you also download one of our helpful travel books and/or mobile apps to guide you during your planning process:
- Let’s Eat Out Paperback Book for 10 common food allergies or the Gluten Free Dining Out Toolbox Ebook for gluten and wheat concerns
- Gluten Free and Allergy Free Trip Planning
Find checklists detailing airlines, meals, snacks, cruises and overall travel considerations to jump start your efforts
- Gluten Free and Allergy Free Travel Translation Cards
Effectively communicate your food concerns when ordering meals in foreign speaking countries
- Listen to travel advice from Kim Koeller’s interview with Women’s Radio
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