Have a banana? No joke.
While the banana has long been a comedy staple, with music hall audiences guffawing along to the impromptu ad-lib of “have a banana”, one ANA (All Nippon Airways) customer was not laughing. While airline passengers usually have plenty to gripe about (not enough leg room, limited entertainment choices, non-functioning headphones, the baby who won’t stop crying, being beaten up and dragged off the plane, etc.), the amount of food is a less-often heard complaint.
Martin Pavelka, who has coeliac disease, was on a nine-hour flight from Tokyo to Sydney, Australia and had ordered gluten-free meals. While receiving a gluten-free dinner shortly after takeoff, come breakfast time he was presented with a solitary banana. Fortunately, he was also given a little plastic knife with which to cut his feast into more manageable chunks, and some salt. According to the 32-year-old Pavelka, the amused passengers around him were treated to a full-English breakfast.
The gluten-free meal on this airline turned out to be a banana ind.pn/2pEzuie—
The Independent (@Independent) May 03, 2017
According to the Evening Standard, Pavelka asked the cabin attendant whether it was a joke. She is said to have replied “I’m really sorry, that’s the gluten-free meal”. Annoyed, given that the flight cost a full £1,200 (US$1,547), and presumably still rather peckish, Pavelka went on to complain to ANA.
A spokesperson for ANA said ‘ANA takes great pride in providing an exemplary customer experience for all passengers, and for this one passenger we did not meet his expectations.
‘We have apologized to him personally and as a result of his experience we are reviewing our policy on gluten free options and how they are served.
During an international flight on the Tokyo-Sydney route, there are two food services. The first service is a full meal an hour after departure and the second is a snack service two hours before arrival.
On this specific instance, the passenger ordered a gluten free meal and then a gluten free snack. The banana he ordered was the gluten free snack option.
To imply that ANA only serves a banana for a flight of this length is incorrect.’
Given some of the misleading headlines bouncing around the Internet, there seems to be a bit of a disconnect between the original tweet and the internet story that spiralled out of it. One thing we can be sure of, though, is the fact that the executives at ANA won’t be laughing at the comedy staple for a while yet.