My oldest daughter and I recently flew to Pittsburgh from Raleigh for a marathon. As we relaxed at the RDU Terminal 1, I began to wonder what food establishments served gluten free items, if any at all. When we travel by car, we know we can get some fries at a Chick-Fil-A, a milkshake at McDonalds, even yogurt at Sheetz, but can we really put a meal together at an airline terminal?
Leaving Raleigh, we waited at Terminal 1. The big blue shed, I like to call it. Eventually, Terminal 2, where new construction continues, will house all planes, but for now, US Airway is housed at Terminal 1. While Terminal 2 has a wide variety of establishments, you will find more limited choices in Terminal 1. Looking at the website of restaurants in Terminal 1, I did not see any immediate options. Cinnabon? Nope. Godfather’s Pizza? Nope. Popeye’s? Nope?
Looking at the listing, I really did not see anything for Celiacs. A closer look at some did reveal a few things.
A&W, the root beer with ‘American’ restaurants in the South does a nice job on their site (http://www.awrestaurants.com/pdf/A&W%20Allergens%20&%20Sensitivities%20Grid%202009.pdf) of showing a matrix for food allergies and sensitivities. The only real thing to eat, though, would be some of their milkshakes and floats. Most of their burgers and chicken are either breaded or they count the bun. You could get a burger without the bun, but there may cross contamination. They apparently also fry their fries with onion rings and chicken as well so that’s out.
The Corner is a small little convenience store where you can pick up some packaged snacks, fruit, and yogurt, many of which are gluten free. And of course, there are many types of gf candy…just what you need! But if pinched, you could find a few things here.
Fresh Attractions has a large number of prepared sandwiches (out!), salads (some may be ok, check carefully), and yogurts (some ok). Here, you just need to check carefully, but you can probably find some things. This was closed at the time of our early AM flight, but you can walk up and read labels as needed.
Freshens provides some good opportunities. They are a smoothie bar, similar to an Orange Julius. With the exception of a few things, those with cookie/brownie pieces (the usual suspects), all of their smoothies are gluten free. As usual, it is up to you as the parent to check things, but you can definitely find something here.
Great American Bagel–I will not bother to check…
Green Leaf’s–Another sandwich, salad, yogurt place. Another one not open on our visit, but I think some of these things could be gluten free, minus common sense things like croutons, soup noodles, etc.
Finally, most of our children probably are not drinking coffee yet, so Starbucks would be more for us, but Starbucks has begun to carry some gluten free baked goods. I did not see their Valencia Orange Cake at the time of our visit, but I asked the staff and they did say they carry it from time to time. I can hope they will continue to carry more gf items in the future.
So, in review, you can definitely piece together a meal at RDU’s Terminal 1. It may not be the most healthy meal, but when pressed, there are enough items that your child(ren) will not starve. They may be bouncing of the ceiling of the plane afterward, but they will not starve! On our return flight, I will review options at Pittsburgh’s Airport. We’ll look to review RDU’s Terminal 2 this Fall when we fly to Disney World.
photo licensed under Creative Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2008-07-30_RDU_welcome_sign.jpg