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Saturday, March 13, 2010
Continental Airlines Discontinuing Gluten-Free Meals!
UPDATE:There is actually a new CEO. Here is the information:

Mr. Jeffery A. Smisek, CEO
jeff.smisek@coair.com

or write to:

Mr. Jeffery A. Smisek, CEO
Continental Airlines
P.O. Box 4607
Houston, Texas 77210-4607
United States

________________________________

I read this in the Suffolk County Celiacs Newsletter today. I encourage you to take action!

Continental is discontinuing gluten-free meals on international flights. We need to all write to the CEO about this problem - please join in writing and make your concerns heard!

Send your e-mail to:
Mr. Larry Kellner, CEO (larry.kellner@coair.com).
You can send the text below or compose your own.

Dear Mr. Kellner,

I understand that Continental is discontinuing offering gluten-free meals on international flights. I really don't understand this new policy. I understand that you are keeping the vegan selection. Vegan is usually a CHOICE. People needing a gluten-free diet do not have a CHOICE - a gluten-free diet is the ONLY treatment for celiac disease.

There are about 2.5 million people with celiac disease in the U.S., 95% of whom have not been diagnosed yet - so the GF "market" is growing. Celiac Disease is a genetic, autoimmune, digestive disorder where gluten damages the surface of the small intestine and promotes inflammation, resulting in malabsorption of nutrients necessary for the whole body.

The bottom line is that for long international flights we need to have safe gluten-free meals available. Security concerns, custom regulations, and suitcase weights disallow food - enough food for both legs of the flight to and back. There are also few safe choices after Security to take gluten-free food onto the plane.

Please re-evaluate this policy in discontinuing the gluten-free meal option. You are creating an awful scenario for celiacs traveling abroad.

Thank you!

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Larry Kellner is no longer the CEO of Continental. Maybe thats why so many changes at this airline lately...

Anonymous Kelly said...

I've never had success with a gluten-free meal on an airline anyways...so not sure there is much difference between them openly not providing it and what they had been doing before, but that is just my personal experience.

Blogger Iron Celiac said...

When I flew to Canada, I had so much "safety" food leftover the customs agent asked me if I thought that they didn't have any restaurants in Canada. That was before I knew how great Canada was for gluten-free good.

Rather than write the CEO, a more effective strategy might be for every Celiac traveling internationally (or domestically, for that matter) to call the Continental helpline, request a gluten-free meal, be informed there isn't one, then start asking a billion questions about the availability of GF food in the originating, connecting and destination airports, exactly how much food can be taken through security, etc. etc. The call centers will kick it out as a productivity problem long before the CEO will pay special attention to it through letters.

Unless - you happen to have a high level in the Onepass frequent flyer club. Then write the letter.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As of January of this year, Jeffery Smisek is the new CEO of Continental.

Anonymous fibrohubby said...

Thanks for posting this. yet another reason to avoid flying at any cost

Anonymous Lesley Prince said...

I'd send a letter to spite them - Erin's sample letter is great. Continental is not the only long-distance airline (so far!). Yes, in the main, Canadian companies and a lot of restaurants here are aware of gluten intolerance and celiac disease and will happily accomodate those following and GF diet.

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