Gluten Free, Wheat Free and Lactose Free Airline Meals

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Many airlines around the world cater to those who would like to eat or require special dietary meals such as gluten free or lactose free meals when traveling by air. You either need to contact the airline directly to order your special meal or have this preference included in your frequent flyer profile.

Although I have a number of allergies, one of the hardest food concerns to manage is gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Therefore, when I’m traveling on a long haul flight I request – GFML which stands for gluten-free meal. Also if you are wheat free, you still need to ask for a GFML meal even though you can eat barley and rye.

I would recommend that you know your desired standard special meal code. Also note that majority of airline computer systems can only address one meal code as a requirement. So even though I am also allergic to dairy, I can NOT ask for both a GFML and a NLML!

Since there are over 25 standard meal codes used by the airline industry, below is a sampling of the special meal codes used around the world that you may need to know:

  • GFML (Gluten Free Meal) – Indicates no wheat, rye, barley or their derivatives
  • NLML (Non-Lactose Meal) – Indicates no milk, cheese, dairy or their derivatives
  • PFML (Peanut Free Meal) – Indicates no peanuts or its derivatives
  • FPML (Fruit Plate Meal) – Contains fresh fruits & possible bakery item
  • SFML (Seafood Meal) – Contains only seafood items
  • DBML (Diabetic Meal) – Indicates no refined sugars, syrups, jams, cakes, chocolates, etc.
  • VGML (Vegan Meal) – Indicates no meat, fish, seafood, eggs, honey, dairy products or their derivatives
  • RVML (Raw-Vegetarian Meal) – Indicates combination of raw vegetables and fruit

Some international airline carriers specify on their websites if they offer some of the more commonly requested meals to travelers. Otherwise, check out the summary listing of airlines and their notification policies for additional information.

Share with us your airline meal experiences!


Also check out fast food chains, restaurants, gluten free bakeries, nut free bakeries and stores across the US!

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