A 32-year-old woman says that an airline's "confusing website" is why she starved while on a nine-hour flight.
Amber Fisher suffers from coeliac disease, and based on British Airways' site, she had every reason to believe that she could order a gluten-free meal once she boarded her flight.
She was on a flight to the Dominican Republic, and during the flight, she was told that she should have booked her gluten-free meal in advance.
Once it was apparent that there was no meal specifically prepared to address her special dietary needs, the crew tried to scrape together a gluten-free meal for her from their lunches.
In the end, she had some carrots, celery sticks, crisps, nuts, tangerine, chocolate bars, popcorn, and chocolate buttons.
Amber is from Isleworth, London. When she explained her situation, the air hostess told her they would see what they could do and then brought her an unusual assortment of meals.
She told Amber that they had to take some of the meals out of the crew food, but these were carrot and celery sticks.
Amber was shocked to learn that the small amount of food was all she was expected to eat during her nine-hour flight. When she asked the air hostess about the meager, she was told that it was all they could get.
Although she ate all that food, it did not do much for her. According to her, the food was like the snacks you would give a kid as they watched a movie.
In other words, the food she got was far from being an adult meal that could satiate her.
The problem was made worse because she had not eaten since morning. She was also on strong antibiotics, which means she was famished.
At some point, she almost passed out because she hadn't eaten anything. Her body had also been weakened by the antibiotics she had taken earlier in the day.
As they were approaching their destination, Amber was vomiting into bags. Nevertheless, she was just throwing up water because her stomach hardly had any food in it:
"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 her predicament. The site claimed that passengers with allergies could tell the cabin crew of their allergies after boarding the flight.
Despite offering this explanation, the website also specifically addressed the gluten-free needs of its customers in another section.
The website specifically advised passengers to request special meals such as gluten-free food "at least 24 hours before [their] flight departs."
After a disastrous flight to the Dominican Republic, the flight staff told her that her dietary needs would be noted so that she could get a gluten-free meal during her flight back home. Unfortunately, that promise was broken.
When she tried to tell the crew about her issue, the flight attendant argued with her as if she was being dishonest.
Amber showed her what the website said, and after the attendant realized that the site said that she could tell the crew about her allergies after boarding, the attendant simply said:
"Oh, that's confusing isn't it."
When she sent an email complaining about the confusion, she got a response telling her they were sorry about it and that they would try to give her a better flight next time. She did not get any compensation.
Amber was frustrated by the treatment she got, especially the flight attendant's response:
"You're paying to be on a flight, you don't expect someone to basically tell you that you're lying. It's massively put me off going with them again."
Also, despite being assured that her special request would be addressed during her flight home, she got regular food, which she gave to her partner.
This experience is a sharp contrast to the statement given by a spokesperson for British Airways when addressing the situation:
"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."
The spokesperson claimed that customers could ask for one of over a dozen special meals, including gluten-free meals, at no additional cost. However, they have to place their orders at least 24 hours before their flights take off.