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Mum ‘almost passed out’ after BA crew gave her ‘pitiful’ meal on 9-hour flight

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A furious mum says that British Airways “ruined” her dream Caribbean holiday with a hard-to-understand meal booking system that left her making do with a “pitiful” in-flight meal of crisps, popcorn, celery and chocolate donated by flight crew

Mum-of-two Amber Fisher suffers from coeliac disease.

She says BA’s “confusing website” led her to believe she simply had to inform crew of her allergy upon boarding to be provided with a gluten-free meal.

But after boarding the nine-hour flight on Saturday 5 February, the 32-year-old hairdresser was informed by a member of cabin crew that she should have booked her meal in advance.

The cabin crew then scraped together some gluten-free food from the onboard snacks and their own lunches, leaving Amber with a "pitiful" meal of carrot and celery sticks, chocolate buttons, crisps, popcorn, nuts, a couple of chocolate bars and a tangerine.

But the meagre meal left the hairdresser so "starving" on the long haul flight to the Dominican Republic that she almost fainted and began vomiting – ruining her trip as it gave her "major anxiety" for the rest of her holiday.

She complained about her experience online to raise awareness of the issues faced by coeliacs but was branded a “dramatic idiot” by some commenters who claimed she should have known to prebook her special meal.

Amber, from Isleworth, London, said that when she explained she couldn’t eat the standard in-flight meal: "The air hostess said 'we'll have to see what we can do' and then brought me that.

"She said 'we've taken food out of the crew food too' which was basically carrot sticks and celery sticks.

"I was like 'for nine hours you expect me to eat this?' and she was like 'that's all we have'. It was a pitiful amount of food."

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"I ate the whole lot," she added, "but it's like what you'd give a kid while watching a film, it's not an adult meal that's going to fill you up.

"I was on really strong antibiotics and hadn't eaten in the morning so I was just starving and it was a nightmare.

"I nearly passed out at the end because I hadn't eaten and felt really weak because of the antibiotics.

"I actually started vomiting into a bag as we were coming down – it was just water because my stomach was so empty.

"It ruined the holiday because it gave me major anxiety for days and I just felt crappy."

She blamed the airline's "confusing website" for the mix-up, which says that passengers with allergies "must inform [the] cabin crew of [their] food allergy upon boarding".

However, the site also states that customers can order "special meals", including a gluten-free option, which should be requested "at least 24 hours before [their] flight departs".

But Amber says that despite the flight attendant assuring her that her dietary requirements would be logged for all future BA flights, the crew again failed to provide gluten-free food for her on the return flight ten days later.

A spokesperson for British Airways said: "We take all of our customers' allergies and dietary requirements extremely seriously and our catering teams work extremely hard to ensure everyone has the meal they want, every time they travel.

"All our customers can pre-request one of 15 special meals free of charge, including gluten-free meals, up to 24 hours before their flight."

  • British Airways

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