Etihad Airways Gluten-Free Meal vs Typical Meal

I recently flew Etihad Airways for a business trip. Due to schedule reasons, I had to purchase the departure and return separately. This post is not so much of a food comparison, rather to give a general idea of the differences and what to expect.

For the departure, I had purchased direct a late night flight from the airline website. I must admit there were a lot of choices when it came to meal selection. However, most of the choices were pretty heavy meals unsuitable for a night flight, or vegetarian based which did not appeal to me. If you have flown Etihad before, you may have faced the same dilemma as me.

In the end, for the lack of other options, I took a gamble with the Gluten-free meal (code: GFML), not that I had any particular diet control or food allergies. 

I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out to be turkey and potato, cooked in a style that I was more used to. In exchange for rice/noodles, the staple food was the middle cracker item like below. 

Photo showing Etihad Airways Gluten-Free Meal
Etihad Airways Gluten-Free Meal

Wrappings removed. Not too bad huh?

Photo of Ethihad Airways Gluten Free Meal Opened Up
Ethihad Airways Gluten-Free Meal: Opened Up

As an added bonus, I got to eat before other passengers since it was considered a special meal. I always find eating on flights a rushed experience, especially if I am seated on one of the last rows to be served. Flight attendants usually start clearing soon after the last rows are served, so I would always feel the pressure to rush through the food. Hence, being served ahead of other passengers gave me extra time to enjoy the eating experience. The Gluten-free meal's overall portion was also just nice.

I do think though that since it is considered a special meal, unless you have ordered it beforehand, it probably will not be available as a food option during flight.

On my return trip, I did not get to choose my meals because I bought from Expedia. Hence, I could only take whatever general meal was provided during the flight. I could notice the difference since I had to wait much longer while the flight attendants distributed row by row. In fact, by the time it came to my row, one of the two choices were out. So I had to settle for the remaining choice left which was Nonya styled chicken with vegetables and a mango flavored sago desert. 

Photo of Ethihad Airways Nonya Chicken Meal
Ethihad Airways Nonya Chicken Meal

I am not sure what food code this would have been on the airline website, but it mostly turned out to be quite nice too, as you can see with the wrappings removed.

Photo of Ethihad Airways Nonya Chicken Meal Opened Up
Ethihad Airways Nonya Chicken Meal: Opened Up