I recently had the misfortune of sampling Virgin Atlantic’s ‘gluten free’ offering. It was bad. So bad I had to write to Richard Branson himself to ask him what exactly he thinks he’s playing at. Here’s what happened…
I am writing in response to the gross neglect you and your band of merry red suits showed me on a recent (and somewhat gruelling) flight from Cancun to London Gatwick.
On your website you do proudly declare that you can accommodate special diets. But this isn’t true, is it Richard? You sit on a THRONE OF LIES.
Upon boarding the plane you rather charmingly call Barbarella I was seated next to a fat man, as was your will, and given a threadbare blanket and pair of socks presumably stolen from a nearby orphanage.
What came next was, quite hilariously, called ‘dinner’. Seriously there was a menu and everything.
At this point the grinning red suits gifted everyone on the plane with a small box of treasure. Everyone, that is, except for me.
Where is the gluten free food please? I enquired with our lady air hostess, who from now on will be referred to as ‘Candy Floss For Brains’.
Candy Floss for Brains glared down at me, her lipstick so heavy it threatened to drag her mouth right off her face.
“Did you book it before the flight?” She muttered, hoping of course that I had not.
“I will get it for you”
At this point she flounced off, her mind completely blown, and presumably fell out of the window. I certainly never saw or heard from her again.
“Where is the gluten free food please?” I asked a new hostess, who, in a shocking twist, was a man with a BEARD!
“I’ll get it for you” He announced, before disappearing for about eight weeks.
Bearded man did deliver though, I shall give him that. At around the point that my stomach began to devour its own SKIN a marvellous happening did happen. The food APPEARED BEFORE ME LIKE A SHINING LIGHT OF WONDERMENT AND GLORY.
I peeled back the lid. And what I saw before me did dissipate any semblance of joy that had gone before it.
Encased in a little plastic coffin was the breast of a chicken which had passed away many years previously, surrounded by an oily gloop which apparently made this chicken ‘Mexican style’. You could at least have put a tiny sombrero on it, Richard! There wasn’t even a Margarita. How can it be Mexican if there is no Margarita? Are you completely mad?
On the side was rice, but not your ordinary rice, no no. This rice, I discovered upon conducting a short post mortem, had DROWNED. Drowned MEXICAN STYLE.
I decided the best course of action would be to save each grain like one saves a drowned fly, by covering it in a tower of salt. Unlike the fly, the rice could not be resurrected. However, it did at least now have a flavour. That flavour, if you’re listening Richard, was SALT.
Not to worry Richard, a side dish was provided. In a little bowl was a small mound of salad, topped with a sort of beigeish grey matter. I must admit I was perplexed by this stuff, in fact I had to sniff it to work out what it was. Do you know what it was, Richard? Some sort of OLD FISH.
Beside the elderly sea creature salad was a small paper bag. Oh goody, I thought, bread shall fill me up!
What came next was a feeling not unlike GRIEF, Richard. Because when I ripped open this bag I discovered that it housed not a nice gluten free bread roll like it should’ve done but a RICE CAKE.
Have you ever eaten a rice cake, Richard? It’s basically a thousand tiny bubbles stuck together with pieces of CLOUD. Bite it and the bubbles burst, and what you’re essentially doing then, Richard, is CHEWING AIR. It’s not very satisfying.
Never mind, I thought, I’ll try to distract myself from the gnawing hunger by going to sleep. I filled my ears with those orange pouffy things provided and covered my eyes in one of your novelty sight blockers. It’s like going to war you know, achieving sleep in the economy section of one of your planes.
Several hours later I managed the quite fantastical feat of unconsciousness. It was wonderful, truly excellent. And then suddenly – it was over!
What could have been so important as to awaken sleeping beauty, you are presumably wondering. Well it was the arrival of another of your aid parcels! This one over-confidently calling itself ‘breakfast’. After a brief moment of blind fury the hunger returned. I clawed back the lid of the latest box of tricks.
Have you guessed what was in it, Richard? ANOTHER BLOODY RICE CAKE.
AND THIS TIME IT CAME WITH JAM!!! Apparently one of your pseudo-chefs thinks a rice cake is the equivalent to TOAST! What kind of lunacy is this, Richard? Do you know people who actually eat rice cakes for breakfast? Do you yourself wake up to a tray of RICE CAKES AND JAM? What do you have for your lunch – powdered TEETH?
Anyway, back to me. By this point I was distraught. I almost jumped off the plane. I found myself eating crisps. For breakfast. At 8am. And not just any old crisps Richard, sour cream and onion flavour! It’s a wonder my breath didn’t knock out the entire plane load of people.
I’m almost done, but I’ve just got one other question, before I go. It’s been troubling me for a while so I hope you can solve it for me. Why, on your menu, have you have written “Puddings – British for desserts”? You could have just written desserts, Richard! It would have been easier! We all know what a dessert is. You could have saved so much ink.
I like your planes, Richard. Usually your gluten free food is quite good. Sometimes there is even chocolate. This time, though, you did let the side down a little.
Please please please stop serving gluten free people fistfuls of rice cake and old fish. Please.