Almost every time that I've flown across the Atlantic, the airline has forgotten my request for gluten-free meals. (The one exception is a flight that had my gluten-free request for the outbound flight, but not the return flight.)
When I contact the airline's customer service department, I'm usually told that I should have called them a day before, despite having selected gluten-free when booking the tickets on the airline's web site. (That is, when they are polite: I was told by a rep of one airline that there were under "no obligation" to provide food on an intercontinental flight.)
This is made worse when airlines are too cheap to cater meals beyond two choices, with just enough for the passengers, and no more.
I'm used to this, and usually bring a bag of trail mix.
Back in April, I flew Aer Lingus between Dublin and Boston. Despite booking the flight on their website, and noting a gluten-free diet, this information was lost by the time I had the flight. HOWEVER, the cabin crew handled this by looking for something that I could eat: the flight wasn't under-catered, and had enough variety that the crew were able to put a meal together, even replacing a desert with a piece of fruit. They also encouraged me to contact customer service.
I did contact customer service, who not only said they would follow up, but they actually did follow up with a letter (shown right).
So, thanks to the cabin crew for caring about non-first class passengers, and thanks to the customer relations folk for listening and responding.
For comments, what are your experiences with airlines and dietary requests?