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Nut allergy travel

This website exists to help people like me
minimize the risks our allergic children face
from nut exposure while flying

Story Inventory

Featured Story:  : Perspective From a Military Family

"Just don't fly" Isn't Always an Option, Especially for Military Families.

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Story: : Perspective From a Military Family

Glad to provide a response from a military perspective. As a career military officer, my family and I must relocate often–at the pleasure of the DOD. We’ve been assigned to locales where flying was the only mode of transportation in order to report on time (Alaska, Hawaii, among others). Despite explaining our “must fly due to military orders” status, the airlines were very noncommittal in observing our sons’ severe peanut allergies. Peanut allergies are deadly. Period, dot. They don’t just trigger hives or itchiness. They trigger death. And Epi-pens are not a cure; they only buy 20 minutes to get to a hospital for real care. Most “pro-peanut” folks don’t realize that. In my military experience, since 1994, the airlines have flip-flopped on their peanut policy: American used to be the most accommodating and Delta, the least. I’m told that has since changed. Hawaiian was 50-50, and Alaska was mostly good. The problem is, you never know how the airline will help protect your children’s lives; so much is personality dependent in the absence of a law/policy change. Real change won’t happen until we can convince a senior member of Congress to advocate a change in the law. How many near-deaths have to occur on the air before authorities take accountability? Is your Reese’s peanut butter cup really that important? The most cringeworthy counter-argument I hear is, “well just don’t fly if you have allergies”, or “why should your kids’ deadly allergy impinge upon my airline snack?” Please realize those of us in uniform who have dedicated our lives–and the lives of our families–to serve our country rarely have the luxury to “just not go”. We report to duty as ordered and only ask for safe passage. This country is full of smart people; we know second-hand smoke is damaging to bystanders; likewise, airborne peanut allergens threaten bystanders even more dangerously–especially in an enclosed aircraft where we all breathe the same recycled air. For the sake of my children’s lives, I’ll gladly trade you a some Oreo cookies in exchange for those peanut M&Ms, if snacking on an airplane is so important to you. We are not looking for sympathy, just responsible citizenship. Think beyond your scope, Fellow Americans, and thank you for your brotherhood. Lt Col Tony Mena, USAF

Story:   Family kicked off American

My son has an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. When I fly with him, I bring 4 epi pens as well as my Clorox wipes to wipe down his whole area.

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Story: Family kicked off American

My son has an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. When I fly with him, I bring 4 epi pens as well as my Clorox wipes to wipe down his whole area.  I also always notify the gate agents and the flight attendants that my son has a life-threatening allergy to all nuts.  As I always do when I fly with my son, I informed the gate agent at American Airlines of his allergy and asked if it was possible to not serve nuts on the airplane. She said that was impossible because they are not a nut free airline and it would not be fair to the passengers who wanted to eat nuts. I spoke with a gate supervisor and he also pointed out that they couldn’t control what other passengers bring on to the plane themselves. I told him that I was well aware of that and that I did not expect to control every passenger's food, but I was just trying to limit his exposure, not eliminate it. I was asking for some nut-sensitivity, not a sterile environment. When I got on board I let the flight attendant know about the allergy and he insisted the same information that the gate agents said. I asked him their procedure if there is a medical emergency on board. I never raised my voice at him but explained that if I need to use an epi pen on my son, it only helps for a short period of time, and wouldn't it just be easier to not hand out nuts than to have to make an emergency landing because a child is not breathing. He kept arguing with me and then a supervisor gate agent came on board and told me that if my son's allergy is so severe, I should not ever fly with him. I explained that all nut allergies are considered life threatening and is he telling me I should not ever fly with my son? He said yes- it is my responsibility, not theirs. The next thing I knew, the supervisor came back on board and told my whole family we had to get up and leave the plane. They would not allow us to fly on the plane. My husband, who is an attorney, said we would not get off the plane unless they gave us a good reason. We did nothing wrong. All we did was make them aware of our son's allergy- the more information they have, the safer everyone will be. The gate supervisor continued to argue with my husband and said that if we do not get off immediately he will have the Miami police come and arrest us all- two suburban middle aged parents and 3 children- ages 6, 8 and 11. We pleaded with him as well as the pilot and flight attendant.  We offered to sign something releasing American of responsibility if my son had a reaction but they continued to threaten to arrest us so we got off the plane with my 6-year-old son crying that he did not want to be arrested for being allergic to nuts.  It is hard enough for him to live with this disability, and then to think that his parents are being taken to jail because of it- it was just too much.  I never raised my voice to a single employee of AA, nor did I ever threaten anyone or anything. There was absolutely no reason to kick us off of the flight.

I wrote American airlines and they offered no apology for this incident, in fact, I received a letter from Customer Relations saying this is their policy and it is the flight attendant's right to not allow passengers to fly if they think the passenger cannot be safe on the flight and they closed the letter by saying, "We look forward to you flying with us again in the near future".

Story:   A Grieving Family has to worry about flying with allergies

My son's nut allergy is something we deal with every day.  There are few decisions regarding where we go and what we do that are not influenced by the potential presence of allergens, and the ability to keep him safe.

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Story:  A Grieving Family has to worry about flying with allergies

My son's nut allergy is something we deal with every day.  There are few decisions regarding where we go and what we do that are not influenced by the potential presence of allergens, and the ability to keep him safe.  There are restaurants we avoid entirely (like Five Guys, where open bins of peanuts are served) and events we choose to skip (like baseball games, after a man behind him was shelling peanuts and flicking the shells in our direction and refused to stop when asked).  As much as possible, we seek to control his environment to manage down the likelihood there will be a problem.

One such environment that presents significant challenges is an airplane.  Unlike a restaurant, or the ballpark, where we can get up and leave if we encounter a problem, you cannot get up and leave the flight if you discover an issue.  Further, airplanes are enclosed spaces with recirculated air.  If someone opens a bag of peanuts, the dust from that bag will eventually make it to our row. .

"So, why don't you just drive?"  I have often been asked.  "If your kid's allergy is so severe, just stay off of airplanes," I have been told.  And for the most part, we do.  We drive to the beach.  We drive to Canada (from Washington, DC).  We drive to as many places as we can.  But driving is not always a choice. .

My husband is Australian, and my children's grandmother, great-grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins live in Sydney.  Until April of last year, his grandfather did, too.  On February 4, 2014 my father-in-law was diagnosed with an aggressive, malignant brain tumor.  We didn't know how long he had to live, but we were told weeks, a few months if we were lucky.  We cannot drive to Australia.  There was not time to take a boat.  We had to fly.  We had to fly to take my son to see his dying grandfather. .

Flying across the U.S. with an allergic child is scary, but if something happens, they will put the plane down.  When you fly to Australia, there are hours and hours of nowhere to put the plane down. That scared me more than words can express.  I called the airline well in advance.  I spoke with supervisors.  I received written assurances that nuts would not be served on the flight and that on-board announcements would be made.  On the 6 flights (3 legs there, 3 legs back), we had an issue on 5 of them.  An announcement wasn't made, or the snack boxes with almonds were catered when I was assured they would not be.  The purser who said he saw a note about peanuts, but not about tree nuts.  The flight attendant who put out the tray of chocolates with almonds because "people were asking for them."  The teenager who pointed and laughed at my son (who wore a surgical mask for the 28 hour journey to protect against inhaling nuts) as we walked down the aisle of the plane to go to the bathroom because my son can't touch the door handle or the toilet flush or the sink taps because someone might have eaten nuts and then touched those things.  I traveled with 8 EpiPens, and did not sleep the whole trans-Pacific flight (14 hours long) because I was staying awake to watch my son breathe. .

I wish we could just stay off airplanes.  I wish we could have traveled home from Sydney and just focused on our grief instead of having to also be on alert to make sure my son made it home alive.  .

Story:   Honeymoon horror courtesy of United

My husband and I were travelling on our much-anticipated honeymoon from Toronto Canada, to West Palm Beach, Florida

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Story:  Honeymoon horror courtesy of United

My husband and I were travelling on our much-anticipated honeymoon from Toronto Canada, to West Palm Beach, Florida.  Our connecting flight would be in New Jersey.  I chose United based on their web site claiming that they do not serve peanuts on their flights, as my husband has a life-threatening allergy to peanuts. The website stated they could not guarantee a nut free flight as they do serve products that may contain nuts, and if the passenger has an allergy, to let the crew know before boarding-this was fine with us. So, before boarding with United from Toronto, they actually had us pre-board, sanitized our seating area and made an announcement.  This overjoyed us.   Once we arrived in New Jersey, my husband approached the woman at the podium to let her know of his allergy.  She stated "Well we don’t serve peanuts on the flight" and walked away.  Feeling as though we had been brushed off, we waited last to board so we could speak with the flight crew privately without holding up the line. Before I could finish explaining my husband’s allergy to the flight attendant, she cut me off stating "we cannot guarantee a peanut free flight, and we DO serve peanuts, and we CANNOT make an announcement to the passengers asking them not to open their peanuts as this is against their rights and they could sue us...” Then, as if to further agitate us the other attendant jumped in with an attitude stating "yes and I overheard some passengers saying how they can't wait to open their peanuts".  We tried defending our case and at this point even the original lady my husband approached came from behind and stated, "What's going on, we don't serve peanuts??” She even looked confused.  We mentioned our first flight and were told that they should have not done any of that for us. The attendants insisted there was nothing they could do, I was tearing up. We felt helpless and as though my husband’s life would be at risk if he boarded, so we chose not to fly.

Meanwhile, because we had waited last to board, our carry ons had been taken away due to lack of overhead space.  They had been taken not even two minutes ago, and we were told we could not get it back.  Thank god my husband took his wallet and medications out! So now we were stuck with no luggage, having to pay for a car rental, drive 24hrs straight so we could make our cruise, then pay for new flights so we could fly with an airline that we trust- West jet.

The flights and vacation were a wedding gift, we ended up paying more because of United, and in turn endured a disappointing, stressful, and expensive vacation we could not afford. We will never fly United again.

Story:   Turned Away by British Airways

On Mar 19th, we were to travel from Munich to New Delhi with Lufthansa Airlines, but due to the pilot strike our flight to New Delhi from Munich was cancelled

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Story:  Turned Away by British Airways

On Mar 19th, we were to travel from Munich to New Delhi with Lufthansa Airlines, but due to the pilot strike our flight to New Delhi from Munich was cancelled. Lufthansa airlines was kind enough to rebook us on British Airlines flight from London to Delhi BA 0257 dept. 19:30 PM. We were issued the boarding passes at the London Heathrow airport and were given the instructions about the boarding time, gate etc. I then told the BA employee at the check-in counter about my son's severe Peanut and Tree nut allergy, also showed them the doctor's advice that I was travelling with. The doctor's letter states that my son's allergies are airborne. The lady then advised me that the British airlines flight is not a "Nut-Free" flight and she will have to discuss the situation with her Manager. The Manager on duty, then spoke to the British Airlines Medical support staff and told us that, me and my son can travel on this flight as long as I take responsibility that if anything happens i.e.; Anaphylactic attack, to my son during the flight, I will have to administer his Epipen in an emergency and British airways will not be held responsible for anything and will not divert the flight. I requested multiple times if they could make a courtesy announcement in the flight with respect to a peanut allergic passenger being on board (like some other North American Airlines do; FYI: Lufthansa Airlines we boarded from Munich to London had also made the same announcement). The manager refused to inform the flight crewmembers. I asked him if I could speak to the nearby passengers requesting them not to open and eat any nuts that they may have and once again the Manager refused the same, advised I cannot do that and British airlines does not and will not allow me to do so. He repeatedly told me that, me and my son can only board the BA 0257 flight only on the condition that I will have to confirm, if anything happens to my son (as the nuts will be served in the flight) during the flight, I will take full responsibility to administer the epipens (his words: " as many epipens needed) British airlines will not divert the flight. As it's the matter of my son's life, I simply refused to do so and kept on requesting him to make the courtesy announcement. The Manager, then took away our boarding passes and told us that due to my son's allergy," we are not fit to fly with British Airlines.” He then told us to go back to Lufthansa and they will re-book us on an another flight (which they did with #Air France and we had the great pleasant experience with Air France. Air France was very supportive and caring about my son's allergy) I am more upset as everything happened in front of my son and he felt that his allergies are some kind of disability. We cried, we begged the manager to make any exception for us but he simply refused to do so. The whole experience at the London Heathrow airport with British Airways had been like a mental torture that my young son and I had to under go.

Story:   Another Family Kicked off American Airlines

Daniel was diagnosed with a peanut allergy aged one and half. Subsequently also been shown to be allergic to other nuts and sesame

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Story:  Another Family Kicked off American Airlines

This was part of our return journey to the UK from Fort Myers Airport via Dallas to London Heathrow.

Daniel was diagnosed with a peanut allergy aged one and half. Subsequently also been shown to be allergic to other nuts and sesame. When diagnosed he suffered a severe allergic reaction but since then we have managed it well and he has only had mild reactions such as swollen lips, eyes and itchy mouth with occasional rash. He is now 11.

We carry 2 types of different antihistamine, a steroid and x2 epi pens at all times.  I would like to state that every time we have flown in the last 10 years, all airlines have been helpful and we have never had a medical issue during flight.  We have never been denied travel and never been requested to produce a certificate to say he is fit to fly.

Prior to travelling to the USA, we contacted AA and informed them of the allergy. We were told that it was no issue and cabin crew can make an announcement to inform other passengers. (We realize that no flight can be nut free but we like to minimize risk if possible)

There was never any mention of him being unfit to fly or a medical certificate being needed to say he " wasn't going to die"

He flew out to Fort Myers via Dallas from Heathrow on 26 December 2014 and there was no issue. On both flights announcements were made that there was a child on board with a severe nut allergy and it would be appreciated if passengers might refrain from consuming nuts.

On the return flight, from Fort Myers to Dallas, the gate agent was reminded of the allergy prior to boarding, but she persistently questioned us about the nature of the allergy and clearly did not understand the issues around it, which was both embarrassing and made my son feel awkward. She claimed he was a risk to other passengers. In front of all other passengers we were made a spectacle of, basically due to her misunderstanding of what we were saying and requesting. Our answers were misinterpreted and after contacting AA headquarters the decision was made to offload our bags and cancel our tickets until we produced a medical certificate to state he was not going to die on board the plane.  This was despite the pilot coming off the plane and stating that in spite of the allergy, he was happy to accept Daniel for travel and to make an announcement. A medical certificate was faxed by a Dr to the gate agent straight away.

(Interestingly the flight was oversold and another family was immediately issued our cancelled seats by the gate agent)

We were sent to a hotel, the cost of which was only partially covered by the airline. The gate agent said she had booked us on flights home but we subsequently found out from AA this was not the case. We funded the rest of the 2 night stay, our food, hire car, phone calls etc. we also then had to arrange our own passage home with no assistance from the airline. My husband is self employed and lost 2 days pay, I lost 1 days pay, my children missed 2 days of school and I just made it home in time for an important medical treatment appt.

We spent 6 hrs. on the phone to AA trying to get our tickets reissued, which initially we were told, we would have to pay for. Finally, after speaking to several airline staff and supervisors, we spoke to a lovely lady called Grace who was shocked at our treatment and after a lot of time, issues and contacting several supervisors managed to reinstate our tickets. Our travel agent in The UK also got on the case and we finally flew home using AA via Chicago 48 hrs. later. We were told on boarding that no announcements would be made with regard to the nuts. On medical advice, Daniel was medicated with antihistamines to avoid any issues, however this is not the point.

At no time in the USA, prior to leaving Fort Myers, were we contacted with offers of help or support from the airline.

We have travelled for over 10 years with this issue and it has never been a problem.

For us, the issues are: if AA wishes to serve nuts and not make an announcement that is their choice. We would happily have used a more accommodating airline and avoided all this stress and upset. But they should have told us this was the case when we made them aware of the allergy in the UK prior to the trip. There are many other airlines we could have switched to. I fail to understand how they can allow the child to fly one way knowing of his allergy but deem him unfit to travel the other way.  The second issue is the gate agent, who seemed totally uninformed about the nature of such allergies and in our opinion did not handle the issue in a sensitive manner.

Story:   Bullying Food Allergy Families:  American Airlines

We were traveling on USAir, now American Airlines flight, and as is standard, I let a flight attendant know that we were traveling with a child with a severe nut allergy.

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Story:  Bullying Food Allergy Families:  American Airlines

We were traveling on USAir, now American Airlines flight, and as is standard, I let a flight attendant know that we were traveling with a child with a severe nut allergy. Within seconds, the head flight attendant rushed over to our seats to loudly and in no uncertain terms threatens us to get off the plane. She said they would absolutely not refrain from serving nuts (it's in their policy manual! They must serve nuts!) And the pilot would not divert the plane in the case of resulting emergency. Though the kids were right there, listening to her increasingly threatening and inflammatory language and getting visibly alarmed, she continued the barrage of loud questions (How sick will he get? Where is your medicine? What is it? What will happen to him? Will he die or stop breathing?) She then realized her previous error and informed us bitingly that if the pilot did have to divert the flight in case of what would be an avoidable emergency on their part (because duh we should just get off the flight) we must agree in advance to cover the thousands and thousands of dollars it would cost to do so. 

My son spent much of the flight tearfully asking what would happen to him if he had an allergic reaction and questioning his own safety; something he's always handled previously with total aplomb. This was the first time a grownup has forced him--ruthlessly--to face his own mortality (he'll be 6 in two weeks, so yeah, seems like the right time, no?)

I guess what's in their policy manual is the directive to refuse to accommodate passengers with slightly different yet easy to work with needs, then threaten the health and finances of said passengers, even if they are children. Their motto is "creating a stronger airline for you." They're not joking about that strong part. They'll try to strong-arm you right off of the plane.

Story:   Family of 7 asked to leave American Airlines plane for disclosing allergy but stayed on:

I'm a mother of six children who recently flew home from Miami to New York on an American airlines flight 1406 Wednesday evening April 8 2015.

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Story:  Family of 7 asked to leave American Airlines plane for disclosing allergy but stayed on:

I'm a mother of six children who recently flew home from Miami to New York on an American airlines flight 1406 Wednesday evening April 8 2015. I approached the desk prior to the flight with my children to explain that my 13 year old has an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts. I requested they please inform the flight crew. Aware that this airline does not make announcements on the plane, I hoped that the flight crew would be sensitive to the situation. The woman at the desk told me that she would inform the crew. When I got to the airplane I asked the flight attendant greeting me if she was made aware of the situation she said no. She continued to tell me in front of my children that this will be a problem because they will be selling M&M peanuts this evening on the aircraft. I tried not looking at my already anxiety driven special needs 13-year-old who had asked me for the last three hours 200 times if I took care of informing the crew of his life-threatening allergy. (I have just become a liar to my children.) I told my children to have a seat including my 11-year-old autistic child who is now having a panic attack and that I will take care of this. I asked the flight attendant if she can refrain from serving the peanuts this evening considering the life-threatening situation we are faced with. She said unfortunately she cannot and that is their policy to sell the product on the aircraft. I asked them who on the aircraft would NEED to eat peanuts in the next two and half hours or else they would die? I told her that if I would take a vote right now there would not be one person who must have those peanuts now. She repeated herself and answered I'm sorry but this is our policy. I asked if she was prepared to make an emergency landing she said she will discuss it with the flight crew and the pilots and I should sit down. I was then called back to the front where a manager from the airport and the pilot who called management in front of me also greeted me. They two were informed that this is the policy and unfortunately they need to continue to sell the product on the aircraft this evening. I told them that they were feeding this aircraft the exact food that would kill my child and this entire conversation made no sense to me at all. There was no look of remorse no pity no heart not a care in the world like I was talking to robots! No one cared about my child and his health. I told them, because they were clearly unaware, that this allergy is not just about my child but this is a global problem and they really need to educate themselves. No kind words were spoken to me whatsoever. An older flight attendant then approached the group with a loud voice yelling at me and said, "What's this commotion you're making what's going on here"? I shared with her my situation she continued to yell back at me and to sit myself down and nothings going to happen! (I’m glad she just became a medical professional) She had no clue what we were in for and clearly no one on that flight knew anything about a peanut allergy at all. They told that me at this time I could leave the aircraft. I told them I will not be leaving aircraft with six children to go back to a town where I had no place to go, or to find another flight at this late hour and I had an infant at home that I must get back to. The angry older flight attendant asked me what I was fussing with earlier in the overhead cabins? I said I was looking for the medication that would save my child! They asked me if I found the medication I said yes, but that doesn't mean we wouldn't be making an emergency landing if something were to happen. I told him that I would be making an announcement to the few rows in front of me and behind me like every other decent airline does and I continued to proceed to the back. As I made announcement another mother stood up in panic to look for a child and his medication she said she too have a child on the aircraft with a peanut allergy. As I sat down management approached me again and said that I am going to be fully responsible if something happens on this aircraft and not the airline. Thank God we are all healthy and safe but American airlines as well as some other airlines must change their policy because I doubt my child will ever want get on airplane ever again after that experience! We live in fear every day having this allergy amongst us; they did not need to make it worse than it already was! We must educate the world and make sure our children stay healthy and safe!

Story:   Plane delayed: child humiliated by American Airlines for having an allergy and threatened to be kicked off

As usual, I told the gate agent that, if possible, I would like to pre board so I that I could wipe down (I carry wipes with me) the seats my son and I were assigned to make sure there was no peanut residue because my son has a severe peanut allergy

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Story:  Plane delayed: child humiliated by American Airlines for having an allergy and threatened to be kicked off

On Nov. 29, 2009, my nine-year-old son and I were returning from Monroe, LA on the Dallas to San Francisco leg, which was American Airlines flight # 1965. As usual, I told the gate agent that, if possible, I would like to pre board so I that I could wipe down (I carry wipes with me) the seats my son and I were assigned to make sure there was no peanut residue because my son has a severe peanut allergy. I have never before had a problem getting this request granted (even on my flights on AA from San Francisco to Dallas to Monroe several days before Thanksgiving). But this gate agent looked somewhat confused and somewhat suspicious of my request, as if I were making up some pretense for getting on the plane before my boarding group (group 4) was to board. He said I could get on with group one. I assumed his unwillingness to allow me to go on early and then come back off was probably related to some administrative issue or his lack of personal awareness about severe food allergies, or maybe he just wasn’t aware of some of the boarding problems for passengers while I am wiping down the seats. When I returned to my seat in the gate seating area, I started thinking about a previous stop that my son had made in Dallas on the way home to California several years earlier, that time my son was flying with his grandmother on his way home to California but while in Dallas he had to be taken from the airport by emergency vehicle to Baylor Hospital emergency because of his allergic reaction to peanuts at the airport or on the plane on which he arrived from Monroe, LA. While I am concerned about the possibility of another such exposure while on the ground, I am particularly concerned about the prospect of a significant allergic reaction while in mid-flight, as all parents of children with severe food allergies are. So I decided to talk with the gate agent again and hopefully clear up whatever concerns he may have had. I told him that my son had a very severe peanut allergy and can't get into the seats without having them wiped down, and mentioned that doing so can hold up the other passengers as they board. I think he said something like, “I will see what I can do” and I went and sat down. I believe there was a Pilot standing at the end of the counter watching our conversation.

After that conversation with the agent, a manager came up to me and asked me if I would like to get on early and wipe our two seats down, and then board when my group was called. I told her how much I appreciated that opportunity, thanks for the wonderful idea, and she escorted me, leaving my son standing alone in the breezeway, onto the plane and even helped me open the wipes. After we got on the plane, we had to walk through what appeared to be a small meeting that the flight attendants and the pilot (same person who had been standing at the gate counter) was having on the plane.

After wiping down the seats I walked back through the small meeting of flight attendants and the pilot, which was breaking up and followed a first class attendant towards the front since I was going that way to exit the plane. I told her what I had been doing, wiping the seats and why and asked if she would make sure there was no one sitting in front or beside us who was going to be eating any peanut products. She seemed surprised by my request as she struck a defensive posture putting both hands in the air, palms toward me, and walking backwards from me telling me that was up to me. I asked her what she meant – I wanted to know what I could and could not do. I don’t remember if I got a response from her but understood that I would have to use my own judgment and common sense. After going back outside to the gate area and waiting to board with my assigned group 4, my son and I got seated in row 19 and were getting comfortable when a very nice girl seated next to us immediately pulled out a bag of nuts. I asked her very nicely if those were peanuts since my son has a bad peanut allergy and she said no, they were almonds. I told her my son was not allergic to almonds but she said no problem and put the bag away anyway. Then she pulled out a bag of granola, which has peanuts in it, and she asked me if that was ok. I reluctantly said yes, most granola has tons of peanuts in it. All I could think was this young girl must be really hungry because we just sat down and she had already pulled out all this food, possibly everything she had. I really don’t know how the Airlines would handle a situation like this but my first reaction was not to ask her not to eat her food but for us to move away, so she could eat her things without Sinclair being in fear of his life. I just said, “Why don’t we move”. A flight attendant was walking through the plane closing over head bins and checking things and I just looked at her and asked, “do you mind if we move because my son has a sever peanut allergy and I think there are peanuts around”. I actually thought I was being nice. The flight attendant seemed to acknowledge having heard my statement.

Apparently the flight attendant spoke with the ticket manager as the ticket manager had come aboard and back to my seat and said, "Well, you can just get off the plane and get another flight". Her tone was threatening and very rude but she had a smile on her face. I just looked at her in shock. I believe I said, “Are you serious…” and then with resignation, “OK, great.” I don’t think I had time to even thank the lady beside me because I was to busy watching the ticket manger who was walking towards the front of the plane and was saying that "the pilot wants to be informed about this" and my son breaks out into sobs. I got my son calmed down (who by the way is a wonderful flyer and has been traveling since he was 6 months old) when ticket manager came back and said, “Maam, please get all of your things and get off the plane”. This is literally what she said, no more words, no less. I said to the ticket manager, “Oh, she (the girl sitting next to me) said she’s not going to eat it” to which the ticket manager responded by smiling, moving her head from side to side and in a louder voice stating, “No, Get your things and get off the plane”. All I could do was get my things with my now sobbing child and get off the plane.

I walked down the isle towards the front of the plane with my son and the ticket manager following me. When I got off the plane and onto the ramp, the ticket manager told me to stop and stand right there. For the first minute they actually went to close the door on the plane but the ticket manager stopped them. No one said a word to my son or me. They just let my 9-year-old son stand there and cry while they made phone calls and walked right passed us without even a word for what seemed like forever but I was told was about 30 minutes. I watched without saying anything. I believe they were fully intending to kick me off the plane but needed an ok, which they did not or could not get. This was something unlike anything I’d ever experienced and I believe if they were trying to do something (find an alternative seat) for me they would have said some words to me to that effect. Even the most basic common courtesy would have had someone telling me what was going on. Rather I was kept isolated and in the dark and when I was first approached it was by the ticket manager who was on the phone who looked over at me and asked “do you have an epi pen” I said yes, that I had two (although I actually had three), and that I had benadryl, and inhaler, etc. That's when the pilot came back down the ramp with a tall lady. She and the pilot started saying things like "we can't make the plane peanut free, if we move you how do we know that people will have peanuts around you again”, etc. The tall lady then said, "Most people have their shots and just get on the plane, they are fine". I went to tell her that was not how it worked but they simply walked me back on the plane...again in front of everyone and we were seated in row 8, on the two seat side of the 3-2 configuration on the plane. We sat down but not before I wiped down the seats and my son went to sleep. I just kept playing over and over in my mind what had happened, trying to understand. I felt that my son and I had been humiliated all because of my concern about his severe allergy. After helping me wipe down the seats, I felt I was put on my own and left to guess whether my efforts to make sure my son’s trip was safe (forget enjoyable) would be sufficient or would be approved by the crew. It is very intimidating to be subjected to arbitrary treatment when you’re trying to simply accommodate a child’s disability.

Story:   Inconsistency and danger when flying United Airlines

On Christmas day, I traveled United Airlines from Tampa to Newark with my Family. We have consistently been treated inconsistently on United as it relates to my sons incredibly severe nut allergy

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Story:  Inconsistency and danger when flying United Airlines

On Christmas day, I traveled United Airlines from Tampa to Newark with my Family. We have consistently been treated inconsistently on United as it relates to my sons incredibly severe nut allergy.  We are professional people and never get emotional or rude, but not knowing how to best protect your son is unnerving and unfair. Employees on many flights who clearly don’t want to be inconvenienced by our issue have treated us poorly. We’ve tried every approach, calling ahead, arriving early, etc. Nothing helps. The stress this inconsistency brings on is unexplainable. 

 

This incident, it was particularly unkind. Christmas day, I was told United’s policy to serve nuts cannot be altered or changed. We explained our situation and the severity and offered many solutions (buying snacks for anyone in our vicinity who had an issue with the nuts, asking people ourselves if they minded the nuts not be served to protect our son, etc). We were not given any solutions. We were told it is United’s policy to serve nuts and they would no be considering any accommodations to make our travel a little less risky. 

 

I spoke to five people on Christmas day and was offered nothing more than an option to fly at 7p where the plane was not that full and my son could have a buffer row. 7p is the option offered to a family flying to see family on Christmas? This was offered by a Supervisor who did not reveal himself, only said via another manager that I could discuss with the flight attendants and it was ‘up to them’ if they wanted to help us. Exhausting. 

 

As the situation continued, the flight attendant was clearly uninterested in offering any help. I excused myself and let her know my son’s allergy is life or death and the lack of partnership is a bit astonishing, but that I had run out of energy and needed to get home to my family on Christmas. They seem to take some pride or pleasure in saying “United’s policy is that we can’t guarantee a nut free environment”. That isn’t a policy and God himself can’t guarantee a nut free environment. I am well aware of that and it is a stress I live with every day. 

 

The pilot overheard the words ‘life or death’. He said nothing but apparently called the earlier referenced supervisor. The two of them stood outside the plane door. Two representatives from the airline approached me and escorted me off the plane (from my seat). During this lengthy exchange--The supervisor said it was not “his call” but he wouldn’t let me fly if it was. The pilot, who was nice enough, said I had to stop saying the words life or death to describe my son’s allergy. I politely declined that suggestion. It is life or death. He allowed me to fly after about fifteen minutes of talking down to me as my family waited on the plane. Again they offered no help or compromise. At this point, I told him I was my son’s advocate and I wanted to keep him on the flight. As the captain’s parting words, as he took notes on his phone he said “okay, if you are saying you are happy to have your son locked 25 thousand feet in a tube with no outside air and a nut allergy with nuts is okay with you. I’ll let you fly.” Imagine saying that to a mother, on Christmas day. 

 

I sent a recap to the airline, as I had many times before. For the first time I filed a complaint with the department of transit. I heard back from both saying they investigated my situation and found that all policies were followed. Mainly because they offered the 7pm flight switch.  I’ve contacted United repeatedly to explain that I was not looking for anything from the airline, but I would like to share my perspective. No response. 

 

Saying you can’t guarantee there are no nuts on the plane and having no stated guidelines for compromise with customers with food allergies is ridiculous. Negotiating with a range of professionals in the flight attendant community for your child’s safety is not a process.  There are many reasonable accommodations an airline could make to make families like mine feel safer in flight. If you state the options for compromise, then all employees have them as reference. The families are aware of those options prior to flight. If we aren’t happy with them, we don’t have to fly. But to not know and be treated inconsistently and rudely just isn’t right. 

If a child with an oxygen tank or cancer were treated this way, it would be front-page news.

Story:   Missing medical appointments, forced to pay for another airline ticket all because flying with a nut allergy on American Airlines.

My son (multiple food allergy) and I were flying on American to Wisconsin for his medical care.

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Story:  Missing medical appointments, forced to pay for another airline ticket all because flying with a nut allergy on American Airlines.

My son (multiple food allergy) and I were flying on American to Wisconsin for his medical care. We had to take 2 flights and our second flight from O'Hare to LaCrosse, WI was diverted to another city due to the weather in LaCrosse.  We landed in Minneapolis and the flight attendant and were sitting on the runway for awhile (I think they were deciding what to do) The flight attendant started giving out large bags of nuts! 

I whispered to her (not wanting to alarm my son) that my son had a nut allergy and she said "Oh, here do you want some cookies!" (My son is allergic to wheat as well)

By this time most of the plane was eating large bags of nuts and I could not wait to get off. 

We deplaned and there was no CRO to greet us. I had no idea what to do. 

Eventually they said that that same plane was going back to LaCrosse. Having nuts everywhere now, I was worried about it for my son.

 

They said passengers could stay in Minneapolis if they chose, so I decided that was safest for my son and asked for my checked bag (checked at the gate) because that is where most of my son's food for the next 2 days was.

They refused to get my bag! (The bag contained safe crackers, and frozen meals for breakfast lunch and dinner. This is how we have traveled with him for years.)

I told them that my son's allergies constitute a disability and that if it was a wheelchair that was checked they would get it. 

They refused. 

We had a small cooler on board but my son had already eaten the contents. We went to a local hotel (I paid for it) and the ONLY thing that the gift shop had that was safe was bag of Lays potato chips. 

It's almost midnight now; my son has had no dinner. I called American to get a flight home the next day. They wanted to put me on a flight with connections that got in past dinnertime. 

I have no food for him. He has so many allergies (milk, wheat, egg, peanut, nuts, seeds, fresh fruits, beans, mustard) that he cannot eat at restaurants and certainly not at one at a busy airport. 

Finally, I found a direct flight that would get us home before noon the next day. It was $1100. American refused to put us on that flight because it was a different airline.

I paid out of pocket. 

 

If they would have only retrieved my son's food (in the curb checked bag. They said it was too large to carry onto the plane.) We could have gone back to LaCRosse so he could have had his doctor’s appt.

Instead, we had a very scary and emotionally draining experience, and a complete lack of acknowledgement of food allergies as a potentially life-threatening medical disability requiring accommodation. 

Story:   Great Flight With Alaska Airlines

Flight from San Francisco to Seattle with 7 year old allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. We had a great experience with Alaska Airlines.

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Story:  Great Flight With Alaska Airlines

Flight from San Francisco to Seattle with 7 year old allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. We had a great experience with Alaska Airlines. They were very accommodating and let us pre-board the plane to wipe down the seats and get situated. They even offered to help us wipe things down. They checked with us several times throughout the flight to ensure everything was okay and to see if we needed anything. They were very accommodating.

Story:   Excellent experience with Ryanair

Compassionate and caring flight attendants ensure the safety of their passengers Have recently travelled with Ryanair with my peanut-allergic daughter and was treated with the upmost respect and care from the flight attendants

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Story:  Excellent experience with Ryanair

Compassionate and caring flight attendants ensure the safety of their passengers

Have recently travelled with Ryanair with my peanut-allergic daughter and was treated with the upmost respect and care from the flight attendants. They promptly made an announcement in various languages informing passengers they were not going to sell any peanut containing products as well as asking them to refrain from eating any peanut containing foods due to the severity of a possible reaction.

The crew went as far as asking where our epi-pens were located in case my husband and I were to become incapacitated and our child needed assistance.

It was so comforting to fly with a company that not only understands the seriousness of food allergies, but also is also willing to take a stand to protect its passengers.

It was especially comforting because airlines such as United and US Airways have a policy of refusing to make any special accommodations to passengers who suffer from a food allergy (an actual disability). While there can never be a guarantee for a peanut free flight, the crew did a fabulous job at taking all of the possible steps in ensuring the safety of our daughter.

I will personally try to let others know what an exceptional treatment we received so that Ryanair will receive the positive recognition it deserves.

Story:  Another bad experience on United; praise for SouthWest and Jet Blue

Last year we had a bad experience on United. We had notified the airline in advance about my son's allergy. They did not serve nuts but would not make any kind of announcement for others not to eat nuts right around us.

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Story: Another bad experience on United; praise for SouthWest and Jet Blue

Last year we had a bad experience on United. We had notified the airline in advance about my son's allergy. They did not serve nuts but would not make any kind of announcement for others not to eat nuts right around us. I felt like it was up to me entirely to inform other passengers and incur whatever hostility may come. The flight attendant was rude and disrespectful as she walked by me and basically demonstrated contempt for our situation and us. Those around us saw her reaction and I almost felt like the victim of a bully. In contrast, JetBlue and Southwest have been helpful by not serving nuts and making an announcement for passengers to refrain from eating any they have brought. They also do not identify the passenger with the allergy. This is helpful because you never know what kind of person might be near you, and may direct hostility your way for infringing on his or her "rights."

Story:  "Only American Kids Have This Peanut Problem"

When flying from Korea to the United States on Korean Airlines, the airline has refused consistently to refrain from passing out pre-packaged peanuts or make an announcement about our toddler's severe peanut allergy.

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Story: "Only American Kids Have This Peanut Problem"

When flying from Korea to the United States on Korean Airlines, the airline has refused consistently to refrain from passing out pre-packaged peanuts or make an announcement about our toddler's severe peanut allergy. However, it reached a new level when a Korean Airlines representative told us in response to our point that our two-year olds peanut allergy was life threatening that Korean kids don't have this problem, so the airline would not change its policy. Apparently, our son's life is not as valuable. After talking to multiple staff, they allowed us to inform travelers around us about our son's allergy, but the flight attendants refused to say a word. Korean Airlines still passed out peanuts. Our son predictably vomited on the plane, though we were lucky he did not have a more severe reaction.

Story:  Three good experiences with Delta

We've flown on Delta three times in the past year with my peanut-allergic daughter, and all three experiences were good.

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Story: Three good experiences with Delta

We've flown on Delta three times in the past year with my peanut-allergic daughter, and all three experiences were good.

After not flying for years since my daughter was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy, last year we flew three times in three months (it would be bad form to miss your father-in-law's funeral, or your father's 75th birthday). Since we live in Minneapolis, our only "choice" of airline is Delta. I called customer service a few weeks before each flight to explain my daughter's allergy and request that nuts not are served on board. At each check-in, the gate agent had been notified about the allergy, and he or she let us board first so that I could wipe down our immediate area. The crews also refrained from serving nuts on all three flights; on at least one flight, I remember them making a "no nuts" announcement. Every person I dealt with was kind and helpful.

Story:  Over 17 years, we fly Delta with my son’s nut allergy.

We have traveled with our son since he was born because none of our family lives near us. I called and interviewed every airline once he was diagnosed at 18 months and the only one that offered to assist us was Delta Airlines.

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Story: Over 17 years, we fly Delta with my son’s nut allergy.

We have traveled with our son since he was born because none of our family lives near us. I called and interviewed every airline once he was diagnosed at 18 months and the only one that offered to assist us was Delta Airlines.

We have been traveling across the USA and Internationally primarily with Delta. Last year when we contacted South West, we found they would also be willing to assist. My son cannot have nuts present on the smaller planes the barrier space isn't large enough. We also have found that you must mark the ticket purchase with Nut Allergy and alert every check-in point because several times communications between the various staff do not transfer. We have encountered several different experiences through the years. Sometimes people are angry about it but comply and we thank them over and over.

In one instance, Delta started serving peanuts and my son started sneezing, eyes watering and my husband quickly used a baby blanket over his head as a filter device until the flight attendants had gathered all nuts back up and apologized. He never saw the nuts being handed out, so I know this was a natural reaction due to the dust/fumes.

We have had some airlines tell us when calling and checking on this prior to ticket purchasing, "If he might die, don't fly." Which sounds really crazy and then it was explained to us that once the airline is in the air out of local air space the ADA no longer applies and each airline can do what they want and when. With this in mind we wanted to find an airline that would help us and not blow us off. That was Delta 17 years ago and we still prefer them, they make mistakes but quickly and honestly try to fix those errors. We have sent both complaints and compliments to them. It is nice to finally see other people experiencing what we have been for several years and we carry a surgical mask with us on all flights since the filter with the baby blanket worked immediately years ago. We hope most people can understand this is a real life threatening experience and time is critical, the ones that won't accept this scare us the most.

Story:  An adult living with food allergies

We flew on US Airways from Orlando to Reagan National on Tues Nov 4th, 2014. I myself have a severe peanut/legume allergy. While on vacation 3 days prior, I experienced an allergic reaction at a restaurant despite being abundantly clear about my allergy.

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Story: An adult living with food allergies

We flew on US Airways from Orlando to Reagan National on Tues Nov 4th, 2014. I myself have a severe peanut/legume allergy. While on vacation 3 days prior, I experienced an allergic reaction at a restaurant despite being abundantly clear about my allergy. I ended up in the ER after needing my Epi-Pen. So needless to say, I was nervous about flying. I was still on steroids from my reaction when we boarded our flight. US Airways allowed us to pre board and wipe down our seats. I was not the only one with a nut allergy but no announcement was made about restricting nuts. As the plane was still boarding and I was sitting with my 3 kids and husband, the woman in the same row opened up 2 peanut butter sandwiches and gave them to her two kids. My husband is a physician and I am an RN. My husband immediately spoke up and nicely asked if she wouldn't mind putting the peanut butter away since I was so allergic. I could smell the peanut butter and got scared. We offered her all of our snacks (which were plentiful). She told us that I needed to carry an Epi-Pen and use it if I was so allergic and she was not going to take the sandwiches from her children. My husband told her that using an Epi-Pen at 30,000 feet is obviously not ideal and that is something we would avoid if possible. I honestly felt humiliated and different, singled out for my allergy and put at the mercy of a callous woman. Some passengers overheard us and offered to switch seats. I took a man up on his offer despite this causing him to be separated from his girlfriend and cousin.

The flight attendants were wonderful, letting me know that they continue to be amazed at the stupidity and ignorance and rudeness of people when dealing with allergies. One attendant told me how her son was nut allergic and recently needed his Epi-Pen and another told me how she herself has food allergies. BUT THERE WAS NOTHING THEY COULD DO. In my switched row was an EMT from Orlando who talked about how moronic people can be when it comes to not understanding food allergies and that one of an EMT's biggest fear in an anaphylactic reaction while in the air. The girlfriend and cousin of the man who switched with me were nothing short of amazing people. They rallied around me when I felt helpless. There was also a man in the row behind me who was angry with the lady for not putting away the peanut butter and approached her row and stared her down. Being made to stand out and feel different for my allergy was a very humiliating experience. I am thankful for a wonderful group of passengers and crew.

My husband wanted to buy a drink for the man who switched places with me. When he went to pay for the drink that the man ordered, the crew refused to take our money, saying it was on them. They too were appalled at the behavior of the woman. Of course, since they have no policy to assist allergic passengers, so they were limited in how much they could help us.

Story:  United’s new buffer zone promise non-existent for my daughter

I have a 15-year-old daughter who has had a nut allergy since age 6. We have traveled often and have seen a pleasant progression of awareness both among the general pubic and the airlines that nut allergies exist. Yet I see the value of a consistent policy by the airline to avoid confusion in flight.

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Story: United’s new buffer zone promise non-existent for my daughter

I have a 15-year-old daughter who has had a nut allergy since age 6. We have traveled often and have seen a pleasant progression of awareness both among the general pubic and the airlines that nut allergies exist. Yet I see the value of a consistent policy by the airline to avoid confusion in flight.

In August we were flying on a United flight; my daughter and I both on the isle seat, across from each other. The flight attendant took our lunch order and we explained that neither of us would be eating because of her nut allergy. The flight attendant asked what type of allergy we explained anaphylaxis. The flight attendant quickly mentioned this to the two other customers sitting next to both of us at the window seat. She asked if they would switch seats with either of us -so that my daughter would be less likely to be exposed to nuts. Sadly, both customers refused. Both my daughter and I were surprise but very respectful as we understood the customers might not be familiar with nut allergies and anaphylaxis to nuts. The customers might not have been familiar with the concept of buffer zone and how this may have protected someone with a nut allergy. Was it our job to have an educational seminar mid flight?

United’s new policy of asking passengers if they will not eat nuts near the allergic passenger was clearly not applied here. No buffer zone was even entertained. Instead of asking the passengers near my daughter is it ok not to serve you nuts, it would have been much easier to just say we won’t serve nuts in this area. This would take the onus off us to educate all those around us. It of course be much easier to have a national policy on this issue from the Transportation Safety Board or a clear and adhered to policy by United Airlines to avoid these unpleasant and hazards and simply unnecessary interactions.

I hope one day we would have a policy that we can identify that we have a nut allergy and it is announced; this way, customers don't have to relocate themselves mid air and every one on the plane knows what is going on. It also would be great to have a clearly labeled meal so you absolutely knew if you could eat airline food.

I look forward to simple policy decisions that are evidence based to provide safety to nut allergy kids and adults so that they may fly safely.

Story:  Second-class passenger or second-class citizen?

I am a 25-year-old male living in Montreal, Quebec. I have been anaphylactic to all nuts since I was about 5 years old. I recently overcame my allergy to peanuts.

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Story: Second-class passenger or second-class citizen?

I am a 25-year-old male living in Montreal, Quebec. I have been anaphylactic to all nuts since I was about 5 years old. I recently overcame my allergy to peanuts.

As you probably know, having an allergy is quite prohibitive. I have suffered from severe anxiety because of my allergy and have missed out on a lot in life because of it.

Not being able to eat and feeling anxious at certain restaurants, feeling uneasy in third-world countries, ruining a romantic first kiss by having to ask the girl if she recently had nuts, and sitting in a meeting with a huge client and having to awkwardly ask him to put away his nuts right before we start pales in comparison to the anxiety that I get when I am on a plane.

I'll start off with some good stories and then move on to some horror stories.

Air Canada, my national carrier, has gone over and above the call of duty to make sure that I am comfortable when I am on their flights. They create buffer zones, make announcements and truly make me feel like a prince. They have even stood up for me when other passengers have given them hell over not serving nuts. This is all at their own discretion. To the best of my knowledge, there is no airtight policy in place on how they should proceed when dealing with a passenger that has severe allergies. Nevertheless, I still would not consider eating their food, and even now I rarely eat my own in fear of having an attack in the air.

On the other hand, I avoid flying on American Airlines because they are not only inconsiderate, but also reckless when it comes to the lives of their allergic passengers.

I was once flying home from Mexico in first class. In fact, my family had 9 of the 14 first class seats. About 45 minutes into the flight, the flight attendant came out with a bowl of nuts. I was sleeping so my brother (the world’s best brother, who is extremely sensitive to my allergies) POLITELY asked the flight attendant if she could refrain from serving nuts because of my deadly allergy. She responded by saying the best she could do was not serve nuts to me… Are you kidding me? That's the best she could do? She would not even refrain from serving nuts to members of my family until they explicitly told her that they did not want the nuts. She said that nuts were a big part of the flight experience and that she could not take that experience away from other passengers. I then had to sit with a sweatshirt over my mouth for the rest of the flight because I was afraid of breathing in the air (People can have an attack from the smell). I undoubtedly had the worst anxiety that I have ever had. She also had the audacity to tell me that she hoped it didn’t deter me from wanting to fly on American Airlines in the future.

Having to put my sweatshirt over my mouth for hours at a time has become standard when flying on American or United Airlines. I always say to myself, what's it going to take? Someone dying and CNN covering it for them to finally put some procedures in place? I even spoke to a top executive at United who pretty much laughed in my face when I asked him to review their allergy policies. If only these people could spend one day in our shoes! I guarantee that allergies would be taken more seriously.

The lack of respect for my life does not only affect my flight experience; it has serious consequences on my life decisions. I have had to avoid certain dream jobs because of my fear of having to fly on a regular basis. Or, because I know that the company primarily uses American or United Airlines. The anxiety that comes along with it is just not worth it.

When I am forced to fly on United or American, I don't even bother calling the airline before hand or speaking to the flight attendant once I am on board. It's a waste of time. I now buy multiple snacks prior to boarding and offer them to flyers as the flight attendants attempt to serve the passengers nuts. This usually works because in reality, people don’t even like or eat the nuts. They are on the plane because they are cheap to serve. What the airlines don’t realize is that they could cause a fatality on the plane, which would inevitably hurt the airline’s bottom line, and also cause a slew of negative P.R.

I urge these airlines to realize that they are playing with people’s lives and in essence playing with fire - not only on board the flight, but with in the life choices that we have had to make in order to avoid putting ourselves in these terribly dangerous situations.

Story:  Another bad experience on Delta. Courtesy noted by Jet Blue and Southwest

Unwillingness to be helpful. Rude and disrespectful regarding son's peanut allergy.

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Story: Another bad experience on Delta. Courtesy noted by Jet Blue and Southwest

Last year we had a bad experience on United.I had told the airline in advance about my son's allergy. They did not serve nuts but would not make any kind of announcement for others not to eat. I felt like it was up to me entirely to inform other passengers and incur whatever hostility may have come along. The stewardess was rude and disrespectful as she walked by me and basically demonstrated contempt for us and our situaiton. Her reaction was seen by those around us and I almost felt like the victim of a bully. In contrast, Jetblue and Southwest have been helpful by not serving nuts and making an announcement for passengers to refrain from eating any they have brought. They do not identify the passenger with the allergy. This is good because you never know what kind of jerk might be near you who could direct hostility your way for infringing on his or her "rights."

Story:  Uncomfortable Plane Ride

When request was made to not serve nuts/tree nuts was the center of attention along with allergic daughter to looks of curiosity to distain

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Story: Uncomfortable Plane Ride

I have a 9 year old daughter who is allergic to peanuts as well as all tree nuts, especially cashew. It is ALWAYS a stressful event for us to travel in airlines as I am constantly nervous about how she will do. We are from India, so the long hours in planes when we travel to India are sometimes very stressful for me as I feel I have no form of protection that I could offer her. I have to keep her in an environment that is basically at the mercy of the airline staff and my fellow passengers.

On a return journey in an airline from Florida, I noticed that an airline was serving peanuts/cashews. I requested the attendant to not serve them as my daughter is allergic. She went and brought me a handbook and showed me that she cannot do that and started offering them to her passengers. She was very nice and told the passengers in and around us to pick the non-peanut option and which the passengers did but it was really uncomfortable for us because everybody started asking who is the child and kept looking at us and discussing about it - it was very uncomfortable and my daughter felt that she was not normal and different and felt very embarrassed. Even to this day she is concerned about travelling in flights because she feels she causes discomfort to others. A passenger sitting besides us seemed less than cooperative and made comments such that people with 'special needs' should get in planes.

We truly need an airline policy that bans nuts/peanuts from flights - PERIOD

It is hard for me to imagine how this is still not been done because a flight journey is 30,000 feet high with no chance for immediate medical attention if needed and it is the middle of nowhere- the only way to keep safe is to ban them

Story:  Alaska Airlines Food Allergy Policy

An Example of Alaskan Airlines policy and their inconsistent handling of passengers.

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Story: Alaska Airlines Food Allergy Policy

We recently took flights to and from Hawaii on Alaska Airlines had two completely different reactions. When purchasing our tickets I always inform the representative of my husband and sons allergies to peanuts and macadamia nuts. They are supposed to put a note in the system that they are in need of extra services. Upon reaching the gate, I always remind the airline again. On the flight outbound, everyone was already aware of the issue, and the flight attendants not only created a buffer zone, but they decided they would not serve the nut packets to anyone. This was simple and easy, and I was very grateful. On the return flight home, I again asked the gate to remind the flight attendants, and they said they wanted me to talk to them personally when we boarded. Upon boarding, I got a completely opposite reaction. The flight attendant was harsh. She said she could not set up any zone and would not refrain from serving the nut packets. She said she had never heard of such a thing. She then informed the captain, and they threatened to remove us from the plane. Their chaotic reaction to this issue even delayed the plane from taking off. After a lot of back and forth and involvement from the company headquarters, the captain finally agreed to let us stay on the plane and set up buffer zone. It was terribly embarrassing and humiliating. My son was very upset and scared.

Story:  American refunded our money after callous rebuff!

American said they could not guarantee our sons saftey so they refunded the total purchase price.

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Story: American refunded our money after callous rebuff!

We called American to alert them of our sons peanut allergy and the customer service person asked us, "do you think it's fair that someone else couldn't get their bag of peanuts?" My asked him do you think it's fair my son could die from that bag of peanuts? Also that we are paying full fare for his seat and then he continued being rude finally got a manager on the phone and he just said he was going to refund our money. So sad they didn't care.....

Story:  American Airlines Horrible

Upcoming flight w AA--very scary!!

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Story: American Airlines Horrible

I spoke to to American Airlines today due to our upcoming flight. The woman read me the policy over the phone: They continue to serve peanuts and/or tree nuts, make NO announcements about allergic passengers, do not ask other passengers to refrain from eating nuts, NO buffer zones are established. She states that you "fly at your own risk"! I am currently trying to get a refund and reschedule our flight on a more allergy-friendly airlines. I informed the woman I will NEVER fly AA ever and will inform everyone I know how awful they are!

Story:  Delta Policy Inconsistent: Caring and Callous Staff on flights. - Which crew will you get?

Rude and Callous Flight Attendant

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Story: Rude and Callous Flight Attendant

On a flight to NYC I asked flight attendant to make announcement regarding my son's peanut allergy. She refused and when nuts were served to everyone she stated that 'not all allergies are that serious" and that I should relax and not worry. I spoke up so that passengers near our seats could hear and possibly not open their nuts. Everyone around us refrained from eating their nuts and said that if they had made the announcement they would never consider risking anyone's safety. Subsequently, I called the airline the day before our flight home and was told that they had changed their policy and would not serve nuts any longer but could not prevent passengers from bringing their own. When we arrived for our flight home-the airline said they had tried to page me to advise that they could not remove peanuts but could offer buffer zone around our seats. This they said was because they need more time to make such an adjustment. However when we boarded, the attendants said they would not serve nuts and they served cookies/crackers instead. Very unnerving situation and if only the airline cared as much as the passengers did and the nice attendant on the flight home. The person I spoke with on the phone clearly only told me what I wanted to hear. I was shocked at the notion that they had changed policy overnight however it was just a fairy-tale.

Story:  Delta airlines

I wanted to sincerely thank Delta and our flight crew for letting our family pre board the plane on our flight from Boston to Orlando to clean our seats due to our daughters' peanut and tree nut

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Story: Delta airlines

I wanted to sincerely thank Delta and our flight crew for letting our family pre board the plane on our flight from Boston to Orlando to clean our seats due to our daughters' peanut and tree nut allergies. Also, it was so important for Delta to recognize the seriousness of this potentially life threatening allergy by making an announcement at the beginning of the flight that they would not be serving peanuts. This was also done on our return flight. I did not hear any protests from any of the passengers but I did hear an elderly woman two rows in front of us ask for peanuts. She was not given any of course but it shows that you can't always count on people hearing the announcement. You still must remain vigilant about what is going on around you! I would like to thank Delta from the bottom of my heart for taking steps to keep my daughters safe. Keep up the good work and know that even more could be done to make flying even more safe for those with allergies.

Story:  Severely Nut Allergic Toddler Refused Reasonable Accommodations by American Airlines

American Airlines ("AA") refused to provide the reasonable accommodations recommended by our allergist to my 2 year old peanut/tree nut allergic toddler and, in effect, denied him access to safe air travel.

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Story: Severely Nut Allergic Toddler Refused Reasonable Accommodations by American Airlines

American Airlines ("AA") refused to provide the reasonable accommodations recommended by our allergist to my 2 year old peanut/tree nut allergic toddler and, in effect, denied him access to safe air travel.

My 2 year old son has multiple food allergies, the most severe of which is his allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. Our family of 4 had booked tickets on American Airlines to fly from Austin, Texas to Portland, Oregon to see my husband run in his first marathon. My son had only flown as an infant prior to our knowledge of any allergy. Due to the prolific prevalence of nuts on flights, I spoke with our allergist about what we needed to do for my son to travel safely on a plane. She recommended for us to ask to pre-board the plane to wipe down and clean his seat and the seats around him that he would be touching, to ask for the airline to provide him with a buffer zone one row in front and one row behind our seats where no nuts were served, and to ask for the flight crew to make an announcement that a child with a severe nut allergy was on board. She stressed these accommodations were important particularly because he was so young and, like other small children, touch everything exploring his surroundings and then often put his hands and potentially anything his finds exploring in his mouth (if there was a loose nut in the seat creases or on the floor, or nut protein from a person who ate nuts in the chair earlier in the day, and he ingested it, he could have a reaction). Our allergist also recommended that I call the airline to let them know that he'd be flying ahead of time, so they could note his allergy and our requests for accommodations.

I followed her recommendation and called American Airlines. I was told that their policy was to NOT provide any of the accommodations I requested. She also stated that American Airlines often roasts mixed nuts in first class and they would not suspend this service to the first class passengers during our flight.

I explained the severity of the situation to the customer service representative --that exposure to nuts did not simply make him uncomfortable, but could cause him to stop breathing, lose consciousness due to a fast drop in his blood pressure, which happened the first time he ingested tree nuts, and that he could die -- and that what I was asking for was rather simple and based upon the advice of his physician. She held firm to her statement regarding the airline's policy to refuse accommodation.

Somewhat in a state of disbelief, I asked to speak to her supervisor and worked my way up the chain of command attempting to find someone who could explain to me how an airline could deny reasonable accommodations to a person who has a medical condition, which is deemed a disability under current law. No one could provide me with an acceptable answer, but stuck to their policy, which effectively denied my son access to safe air travel. I explained that I could not in good conscience go against his physician's suggestions and that, if his allergist stated he could not safely fly without the accommodations requested, that I would need to cancel our family's reservations and I wanted my money back -- not a credit -- since my family could not ever safely travel on their airline due to their policy.

I then called his allergist and discussed the safety of him flying without any of the accommodations requested and was told that it was against her recommendation for him to take a flight on which he was unprotected by any of the accommodations suggested. I called AA back, told them that I was not comfortable with him flying under their current policy, and that my entire family's trip was now impossible and I wanted to cancel my reservations and be refunded the costs of the tickets. After a lengthy discussion and proving to the airline that he did in fact have a severe nut allergy, I was issued a refund.

Needless to say, the entire situation was distressing to our family. Learning that our child had a condition like severe food allergies was life altering. It is truly one of the only medical conditions which requires you to rely on the actions of others to avoid a reaction and to keep you safe. The absolute refusal by AA to provide the accommodations recommended by his allergist and assist in insuring his safe travel was shocking and effectively denied him the right to travel with us as a family.

Story:  United Airlines complete lack of understanding and help when flying with food allergies

"hands off" approach to nut allergies with all 4 flights I recently took on United

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Story: United Airlines complete lack of understanding and help when flying with food allergies

"hands off" approach to nut allergies with all 4 flights I recently took on United

I recently connected through Chicago from LaGuardia to Wyoming and had a total of 4 stressful flights with my 2 peanut and tree nut allergic daughters. My Jet Blue experience on a prior trip was great with flight attendant asking the rows ahead and behind to refrain from nuts-this is a reasonable safety precaution in my opinion. The United flight attendants have a complete block and are totally unwilling to do anything. They wouldn't ask anyone to not consume nuts near us and furthermore when I told the flight attendant about the allergies she boarded someone from United customer service to tell me "maybe I shouldn't fly with my kids". Thank goodness the girls were watching their movies and didn't hear this. I ended up askig the people in front and behind if they would refraining from nuts, and unbelievably a woman directly behind me with 2 kids said she made peanut butter sandwiches for them and planned on feeding them that. On the verge of tears the woman made a scene and decided not to serve her kids the sandwiches. I can’t stop thinking about the A) lack of compassion of that woman and B) the hands off, rude "travel at your own risk" attitude that United airlines displayed on all 4 legs of our trip.

Story:  Bullied by US Air

US Air will make no accommodations for nut allergy travelers

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Story: Bullied by US Air

On a US Air flight one member of the crew became very upset when he overhead me telling the people sitting next to my son that he had a peanut/tree nut allergy. He raised his voice, told me that I was not allowed to speak to people on the plane about allergies. At this point, the people I spoke with told me it was fine that they had brought nuts, but would not eat them, the woman sitting across from me, who I hadn’t spoken with turned around and told the flight crew not to worry about it. He however, did not stop; he told me that if my son’s allergy is so severe maybe I should get off the plane and take another flight. When I asked him what flight he suggested I take, he ignored me, and continued on; he then stated that he would notify the pilot, if I talked to anyone else. He did not tell me what would happen if he spoke with the pilot, but from his demeanor, I took it as threat that he would have me thrown off the plane. Finally, my husband who was sitting several rows up turned around, and told him, thank you. We wanted to notify the people sitting near our son about his nut allergy and because he made a big deal about it raising his voice and caring on, everyone knew about the allergy. The next 3 flights the crew helped by making an announcement about the nut allergy. I complained to US Air and was told the following: US AIR REPRESENTATIVE CALLED BACK FROM DISABLITY DEPARTMENT. EXPLAINED THAT FLIGHT CREW CAN NOT PREVENT YOU FROM SPEAKING TO OTHER PASSENGERS AND THEY WOULD ADDRESS MATTER WITH STAFF. THEY ALSO STATED THE OTHER STAFF THAT ACCOMODATED US BY MAKING AN ANNOUNCEMENT WERE IN VIOLATION OF COMPANY POLICY. US AIR POLICY IS NO ANNOUNCEMENTS, NO BUFFER ZONES AND NO CHANGES TO SNACKS SERVED INCLUDING NUT PRODUCTS (Note: they don't serve peanuts). WHEN ASKED WHAT A NUT ALLERGY PERSON SHOULD DO IF THEY HAVE A JOB THAT REQUIRES TRAVEL WAS TOLD THEY SHOULD TELL THEIR BOSS THEY CAN NOT FLY US AIR.

Story:  My child put in danger due to United’s refusal to make an announcement

On February 25th, my family and I took a United Airline flight from Orlando to Denver on our way home to Canada with United Airlines. My son has a very severe peanut allergy and consequently, we always talk to airline attendants

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Featured Story: My child put in danger due to United’s refusal to make an announcement

On February 25th, my family and I took a United Airline flight from Orlando to Denver on our way home to Canada with United Airlines. My son has a very severe peanut allergy and consequently, we always talk to airline attendants before the flight departure to request they make an announcement to inform people on the flight of his allergy and ask that if anyone has anything with peanuts to kindly to it away for the duration of that flight. We have never had a problem and attendants have always been very accommodating to us in every other flight experience we`ve had.

This unfortunately did not happen on this flight. My husband kindly explained to the flight attendant of our son`s allergy, and she simply responded that because of company policy she is not required to do anything for us. I explained to her the severity of his allergy, and the consequences that could occur if he was exposed to peanuts including the possibility of anaphylactic attack and even death. She walked away from us to get another flight attendant.

The other flight attendant told me that they were not going to make any announcements for us, and if we did not like this, she would gladly let us off the plane. She said United Airlines does not allow them to make such announcement. I informed her that the last 3 United flights did make those announcements and everyone had been very accommodating to us before. We just wanted people to be aware that there was a little boy with a severe peanut allergy on this flight and that in return, perhaps people would not eat peanuts and he could have a safe flight home. She responded again that if we didn`t like the fact that they were not going to do anything, we could simply leave the plane.

After all of our efforts, we decided to let it go, since they were not willing to accommodate or even try to help us… We were on the plane our way home, and just had to hope that everything would be fine. About 30 minutes after the plane took off, my son started scratching his face and his neck. I asked him if he was ok, and he said he was really itchy… His face started getting hives, so I looked around, and as luck would have it, a little girl sitting one seat down across from him was eating peanuts.

We gave him Benadryl and had to monitor his symptoms the next 3 hours and fear that he might do into anaphalactic shock! This was an extremely scary experience for me, my husband and especially my 6 year old son who especially knows what else could happen to him. This could have all been avoided with a simple announcement. Instead, these attendants chose to neglect my son`s disability and his needs and consequently, this little boy could have had a severe reaction. This posed a direct threat to my son`s health and safety. No family should have to experience this kind of stress on an airplane. This was completely avoidable. How difficult would it have been to have made the announcement. United’s policy to do nothing is not just ignorant it is dangerous!

Story:  Delta’s Allergy Policy Great but Planes still have Peanut and other Garbage because they still serve peanuts!!

On February 25th, my family and I took a United Airline flight from Orlando to Denver on our way home to Canada with United Airlines. My son has a very severe peanut allergy and consequently, we always talk to airline attendants

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Story: Delta’s Allergy Policy Great but Planes still have Peanut and other Garbage because they still serve peanuts!!

Nut allergy travel

Delta was easily the best of the airlines that we've flown (including Alaska and United recently) in handling peanut allergy with pretty comprehensive policies and a general feeling of courtesy and respect. Our reservations were clearly marked for the allergy, we were invited to baord early, given wipes and and an announcement was made asking people not to eat peanuts and explaining why. The problem is that the environment was very contaminated with peanuts and I don’t think it would be safe for many people with peanut allergy.

My family and I flew from Seattle to Salt Lake, then from Lake on to Honolulu. On the first flight I felt like I could smell peanuts. Just faintly.

On the second flight I figured out why. The rails that the chairs sit in are completely gunked up with peanut bits, other food and filth. Please see attached picture. I seriously considered getting off the plane when I saw what was there.

I was frankly terrified but had time to carefully consider the risks:
  • We just had a two hour flight on delta where I could faintly smell peanuts - I didn't know why at the time but now I knew why and my son luckily didn’t have a reaction to that level of exposure.
  • We were sitting on this plane for a full 45 mins before take off
  • We were flying from Salt Lake City - so had some time over land (not the case when you leave from Seattle)
  • We go to theaters and out in the world without any trouble and I know that there are pnuts around in many places
I'm so glad that we made it and really wished that we had done some "proximity testing" before- hand. If I knew how peanuty Delta was I wouldn’t have chosen that airline. Had I flown Delta myself recently I never would have booked us on that airline.

Flight home was good. The plane was totally clean and didn't smell at all like peanuts. I didn't see any filth or peanuts.

My son’s ticket was marked as peanut allergy. The staff in Hawaii didn't seem as aware of the policies, but when I said that we needed to board early - they were fine with that. They didn't serve peanuts. When we walked on I mentioned to the Flight Attenant - "this is the peanut allergy - isle 44", and they said that they knew and welcome aboard. After we were seated one of the FA's asked me if "he was really sensitive?" and "could they eat peanuts in the galley?" - he asked it very gingerly and accepted the answer of "yes he's sensitive and no, not even in the galley" just fine. That made me wonder about the staff bringing their own food and if they weren't told about a peanut free flight, if they brought something with peanuts for their lunch - that could be a problem for the staff. They also made an announcement asking people not to eat peanuts on the flight.

Overall, it was sadly ironic that they airline with the best policies is probably not safe for many people with peanut allergy to fly. I think that they should either take responsibility and clean the planes better or warn travers as to the conditions.

Story:  Helpless in the air

My daughter had an anaphylactic reaction to a nut while flying home from vacation.

We were on a Jet Blue flight from Orlando to Rhode Island. Our family was returning from a vacation and we had 2 nut allergic children in our party, my niece and my daughter.

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Story: Helpless in the air

My daughter had an anaphylactic reaction to a nut while flying home from vacation.

We were on a Jet Blue flight from Orlando to Rhode Island. Our family was returning from a vacation and we had 2 nut allergic children in our party, my niece and my daughter. My husband and my sister both spoke to the Jet Blue attendant and informed him that we were traveling with two children with nut allergies and that they need to clean & wipe the area down. He allowed us to pre board after he double checked with the crew. When we got on board the flight crew seemed surprised we were there as they were still readying the cabin.

They allowed us to stay and we proceeded to wipe down the seat tray, arm rests but did not wipe the seat itself (as it was cloth).

About 25 minutes into the flight, my daughter was rubbing her eyes continually & acting strangely (I cannot think of a more accurate description). I asked her what was wrong. When she looked up at me her eye became alarmingly swollen and she looked like ET. I turned to my husband and said "I think she's having an allergic reaction". I ran to get the crew to let them know my daughter was having a reaction. I asked if they had Benadryl or an Epi-pen, no one seemed alarmed. At this point I had no idea why this was happening. Meanwhile I gave her Benadryl but as her symptoms worsened her face and neck swelled, and she said her throat felt funny so we gave her the epi-pen. She seemed stable after we gave her the epinephrine.

My friend who was sitting in the row behind her then spoke up and said, " I saw a pistachio under her seat." My sister also saw reminisce of something that looked like pistachio dust and crumbs on the ground. The flight attendant was notified and picked it up. I believe someone in her row must have been eating nuts on the flight before us. As noted before, I did not wipe down the actual seat and I suspect that was where she was exposed. It all made sense! She is highly allergic to pistachios.

I then went to the crew and asked if they could make an announcement for passengers not to eat nuts. They refused and were unsympathetic to the cascade of events taking place. They definitely did not give what was happening serious attention as they did not think it was necessary.

At that point they asked if there were any doctors on board. The crew then refused to let the doctors have access to the medical kit, as they determined they did not have proper id. My husband is an ex-police officer and he has never seen a situation where medical attention was warranted and physicians are told to stand down. Why did the crew do this? I do not understand. They even made it difficult for me to get ice for her eye. Sending me from one end of the plane to the other. Offering me zero assistance other than water to drink.

I have never felt so helpless. The flight attendant continued to make light of the situation, making jokes about nuts. No one offered to land the plane. I asked for an ambulance to meet us when we landed and one of the crew members repeatedly questioned my decision saying are you sure you want that she seems fine now. They tried to play down the events the whole way through although something changed during the last 20 minutes of the flight. They seemed to panic and allowed the doctors only then access to the med kit and a stethoscope to listen to her heart. I also noticed they were telling the passengers around us that there was a girl on board who had a reaction to nuts. I assume they were telling them not to eat any nuts, but I'm not sure.

Picture this my 8 year old daughter for the duration of the flight upset and scared telling me not to let her die on a plane, she didn't want to die and the flight attendants making light of this situation. I'm wondering in my head why they aren't landing this plane. Why didn't I speak up? They were totally ignorant and negligent.

Right before we landed the pilot made an announcement that there was a medical emergency on board, so when we land there will be Medics, ambulance and lots of emergency trucks and lights, please don't panic and stay in your seats. They are here to help the passenger leave the flight. When they came on board as we were leaving the crew member pulled me back & said, you better make sure they're not charging you for this. Are you sure you want to do this?

When we finally got to the hospital the doctors were shocked they did not immediately land the plane and said we were lucky she was alive.

Unfortunately she rebounded last night and we had to call the ambulance and she got another dose of epinephrine and steroids.

I don't think I can ever fly again until safe polices are put in place and flight crews are educated about the seriousness of life threatening reaction.

Story:  Emergency Landing: We did not know our daughter (3 years old) had an anaphylactic cashew allergy.

In 2001, our plane made an emergency landing due to my 3 year old who had an anaphylactic reaction while eating cashews that were served in first class. We did not know that she was allergic at the time.

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Story: Emergency Landing: We did not know our daughter (3 years old) had an anaphylactic cashew allergy.

In 2001, our plane made an emergency landing due to my 3 year old who had an anaphylactic reaction while eating cashews that were served in first class. We did not know that she was allergic at the time. After eating the cashews she developed a rash and then had trouble breathing. An ambulance met the plane when we landed, and my daughter was rushed to the ER where epinephrine was administered. Unfortunately, although there was adrenaline on the plane, it was for an adult and nobody knew how much to give to a child so we only gave her Benadryl. Nut and peanut allergies need to be treated with respect as they can be life threatening. I strongly agree with a ban on nuts and peanuts on airline flights.

Story:  Flew with peanut allergy, positive outcome,no thanks to Delta’s airline staff.

My son is eight years old and has a severe allergy to peanuts. This is his third vacation to Orlando, but our first time flying Delta Airlines. In the past, we have flown Air Tran or Jet Blue because of they did not serve peanuts inflight

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Story: Flew with peanut allergy, positive outcome,no thanks to Delta’s airline staff.

My son is eight years old and has a severe allergy to peanuts. This is his third vacation to Orlando, but our first time flying Delta Airlines. In the past, we have flown Air Tran or Jet Blue because of they did not serve peanuts inflight and they were our only options from our airport. However, due to Southwest buying AirTran and changing their policy, we can no longer fly them. As a result, we decided to fly Delta after we read many online reviews from allergy concerned parents and their new policy of flying peanut snack free when requested.

Our AAA travel agent coded my son's ticket with a peanut allergy. I also called a couple of weeks before our flight to make sure everything was in order and that peanuts would not be served on our flights. When we checked in at the ticket counter, the ticket agent mentioned our son's allergy. So, we thought we were in the clear. Actually, I was really impressed with how informed they all were. So, when we boarded the plane, I wiped down all surfaces that my son may touch and gave him a dose of Benedryl (precautionary) and I also brought a face mask (those white ones that go over your mouth and nose) to use if we saw peanuts, etc. I also made sure that he wore long sleeve shirts and pants. In addition, I sit with him to remind him not to touch his face, etc. We also fly with multiple epi-pens in case he has a reaction.

We were one of the first parties on the plane and a flight attendant walked past me and I informed her of my son's peanut allergy. I just wanted to double check that no peanuts would be served on board. She was COMPLETELY surprised and very upset with me. I apparently was supposed to inform her when we walked on the plane, I had no idea. I was told that they do not always read the passenger list prior to boarding. Everyone else who we spoke to knew and assured us that it would be peanut free. I was really upset, and asked my husband to go up and speak to the head flight attendant and discuss the need to be peanut free (I would have walked us all off the plane if we were told no). She was very responsive to him and they took the peanut snacks off and replaced them with an alternative. During the snack service, the first flight attendant was apologizing to each person for no peanuts due to a peanut allergic passenger- rather loudly and rudely. My parents were also flying with us but a few rows back, and when she apologized to them, my father very loudly informed her that the passenger was his grandson. She stopped apologizing after that.

On our connecting flight, we checked with the gate agent and each of the flight attendants. I asked the next crew if peanuts were served on the earlier flight and I was told, "Peanuts have been served on this plane for the last 20 years. I am sure there are peanuts residue all over this plane." He was very dismissive and seem quite annoyed by my question.

Our return flights home were wonderful and we had very responsive Delta Airlines staff who knew our son had a peanut allergy, no peanuts were loaded on the flight (we did not need to ask, even though we did), and they welcomed us to board early and wipe things down.

I really got the feeling that this new policy of Delta’s was not welcomed by all flight attendants, and they found it to be a real bother to deal with.

Story:  Kudos for Southwest -Southwest staff helps a South Jersey family travel with less stress about allergies.

We flew Southwest in Oct of 2014 from Philadelphia to Orlando. At the time of booking we noted our childrens’ peanut and tree nut allergies. The alerted us that they could not guarantee a nut-free environment,

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Story: Kudos for Southwest -Southwest staff helps a South Jersey family travel with less stress about allergies.

We flew Southwest in Oct of 2014 from Philadelphia to Orlando. At the time of booking we noted our childrens’ peanut and tree nut allergies. The alerted us that they could not guarantee a nut-free environment, and that we should take the earliest flights since the planes are cleaned prior. At check-in we were given a waiver to allow us to board the plane to wipe down our seating area. While we try not to make too much of it, the attendants and gate staff took it seriously, and were very helpful and accommodating. It all seemed very matter-of-course for them. Nuts were not served on either flight, and an announcement was made that there would be no nuts due to an allergy and asking the passengers to refrain from eating them. While we still take every precaution to sequester our children, and we even need to bring 8 Epi-pens ($2000 dollars worth, we need to keep them alive long enough to land the plane and get them to the hospital), Southwest's policies and understanding give us a significant measure of comfort. We aren't prone to dramatics, but it's not an exaggeration to say that flying with children that have life-threatening nut allergies is an extremely stressful event. We believe we are taking a risk in doing so, and every trip must weigh that risk against other options, most of which would put a large burden on us or cut the vacation, etc. by days. In a plane, you are at the mercy of the pilots, attendants, and controllers in the case of an emergency, and seconds and minutes make the difference between life and death during an anaphylactic episode. No longer serving nuts on board and instituting new policies are trivial changes that can translate directly to saved money for the airlines (fewer emergencies and lawsuits) and obviously saved lives. Southwest deserves kudos for their policies and staff, however this issues needs to be addressed system wide.

Story:  Mixed bag review - Spirit and American

We flew spirit from Detroit to Orlando. Spirit would only give us a peanut "buffer zone" of three rows and they said the children had to be seated in the center seat, which split up our family.

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Story: Mixed bag review - Spirit and American

We flew spirit from Detroit to Orlando. Spirit would only give us a peanut "buffer zone" of three rows and they said the children had to be seated in the center seat, which split up our family. They would not make an announcement but allowed us to pre-board. They do not serve nuts but sell snacks with nuts. The attendant spoke with each passenger in the rows ahead and behind and everyone agreed not to eat nuts. We brought extra snacks just in case we needed to offer someone something. We then flew American from Orlando to Miami. American does not serve nuts and it was a really short flight so they didn't sell anything either. Good thing because the gate agent was a witch. She refused to let us preboard, refused to make an announcement and yelled at me for asking. Later we flew American from Miami back to Detroit. They let us preboard but would not make an announcement. The lady in front of my son started to open a bag of mixed nuts. I politely asked her if she could refrain from eating them due to my children's allergies. I offered her a snack from my bag. She refused my snack, seemed really put out, but did not eat her mixed nuts. I used disposable seat covers on all three flights and cleaning wipes for the tray table, seat belt, window, and armrest. We are lucky. I know it could have been worse.

Story:  US Airways: No buffer zone

On our flight coming home from Disney on US Airways they wouldn't make a buffer zone around my son who is anaphylactic to Tree Nuts and Fish.

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Story: US Airways: No buffer zone

On our flight coming home from Disney on US Airways they wouldn't make a buffer zone around my son who is anaphylactic to Tree Nuts and Fish. My son has had multiple reactions in flight due to contamintaed seats and arm rests. When I called the airline before our flight they told me to inform the flight staff who will deal with us when we board...we are always told to do this by multiple airlines. This time the stewardess told me that they never make buffer zones for allergic passengers and they have never done that before! We literally got in a yelling match. She told me she knows what it's like to have a "peanut allergy" becaue she almost died of an asthma attack. WHAT!? First of all I told her it was TREE NUTS and second of all I am not questioning her issues. All we wanted was a buffer zone around my son for the flight. She then told me that she can not ask a mother who brought nuts for their children to eat, not to feed them. All of the other stewardesses just stood there not saying a word. The woman beside us opened a package of mixed nuts to eat and it wreaked!! Why do so many people bring nuts to eat. I had to tell her not to eat them. The stewardess then decided to move our family to the back of the plane where there was an empty row. She told us that 4 rows behind us sat a family who were eating peanuts and she couln't tell them to stop. Again, it's TREE NUTS!! Airline staff need to be educated on food allergies. There needs to be rules in place about allowing nuts onto flights. It seems to be a very common food to consume in flight and can very easily contaminate the plane.

Story:  A Long Island Family

In December, we were scheduled to fly out of Newark, NJ to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on an United Airlines flight. We are frequent flyers, so per our usual practice, we asked the gate agent about nuts on board. She told us we shouldn't have problems, but to confirm with the flight attendant. This is not unusual, so we did as she instructed. Once on board, instead of being greeted with concern, the flight attendant treated us with hostile indifference.

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Story: A Long Island Family

In December, we were scheduled to fly out of Newark, NJ to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on an United Airlines flight. We are frequent flyers, so per our usual practice, we asked the gate agent about nuts on board. She told us we shouldn't have problems, but to confirm with the flight attendant. This is not unusual, so we did as she instructed. Once on board, instead of being greeted with concern, the flight attendant treated us with hostile indifference.

Typically when we fly, the airline flight crew makes a courtesy announcement to ask passengers to refrain from eating nuts. They also will not serve nuts. But this flight attendant treated us as if we were pretentiously asking for seat upgrades. Her response to our requests was "I can't inconvenience an entire flight because of the allergy of one child!"

Upon hearing this, we informed her that this food allergy wasn't a simple rash or nausea causing issue, but one that could cause death. She asked us to take our seats and assured us she would be speaking to the captain. Instead, 10 minutes later, we were removed from the flight.

We were informed later that the captain removed us because he did not want the risk of death on a 5.5 hour flight.

Unfortunately, because of the lack of options of flying to Edmonton, we did not have the option of flying another carrier, so we were rebooked the next day. For those outbound flights and our return flights we did not even mention allergies on the fear of another removal.

Our daughter thought she did something wrong and it was her fault that we were removed. Thankfully we made it to Canada, but she was worried every minute until landing that we wouldn't make it and that it would be her fault. As a parent, this was the most heart breaking part of the ordeal.

Story:  Horror story on Hawaiian Airlines...

On January 1, 2014 my family was put through a horrible experience with Hawaiian Airlines.
We had flown Hawaiian Airlines from Las Vegas to Honolulu on December 19th with no issues. But on the way home it was a whole different story.

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Story:  Horror story on Hawaiian Airlines...

On January 1, 2014 my family was put through a horrible experience with Hawaiian Airlines.

We had flown Hawaiian Airlines from Las Vegas to Honolulu on December 19th with no issues. But on the way home it was a whole different story. While discussing the airlines we were to fly I informed my travel agent of my two children’s severe allergy to nuts. She told me that she would contact Hawaiian Airline to let them know and see if this would pose a problem. After she made that call she confirmed with me that it was documented and should not be an issue. She also recommended that I call as well to speak with them and reconfirm, which I did on November 18, 2013. I spoke with a woman named Katie who assured me that they would document this in our record and make sure that no nuts were served on board. She also told me to reconfirm at the gate, that way if it was to be missed for any reason they could stop anything from being put on board at that time. I felt confident, it was all set and that my children would not be in danger.

So when flying out from Vegas I talked with the gate agent and was told that they were not serving any food because it was an overnight flight. Perfect I thought!

After being on Oahu for a week we went through Hawaiian Airline to Maui and back to Oahu with no issues, again not serving food on board. When returning from Maui to Honolulu we headed right to the gate to board flight HA 50 heading for New York, JFK.

We stood in line waiting to talk with the gate agent. Upon doing so, we explained that we had spoken with someone from Hawaiian and they told us to reconfirm at the gate about our children’s nut allergies. She responded by saying that they would not accommodate us and that it was not their policy to do so. I was dumbfounded and upset. I took out my paperwork to show them that I had indeed spoken with Katie from Hawaiian Airlines on November 18th. Had I been told at that time that Hawaiian would not accommodate for my children’s nut allergy I certainly would not have kept our air reservation. There are other airlines that I knew would accommodate us. The gate agent then said that they serve about five different items on board that have nuts in them, a nut encrusted entree, a chocolate cake with macadamias, a snack pack with almonds and two other things were also available for purchase or first class. They were going to serve them no matter what. I ask for a manager and had to wait while the plane was boarding until he finally arrived.

His name was Henry Koizumi. He told me the same thing, that they would not accommodate us even though we had spoken to Katie in November regarding their allergies. I tried desperately to explain to him that this could be a matter of life or death, with approximately 300 people in a closed capsule all eating something that our kids are highly allergic to, could be fatal. The partials in the air, the touching of everything in close quarters without the passengers being readily able to wash their hands would pose an incredibly high risk. One that my family was not willing to take. We always carry epi-pens with us, and had six in our carryon luggage, however they would last maybe an hour for each child, then what? We were flying over the Pacific Ocean. As the plane finished boarding we were still discussing this to no avail. At that point I told Henry that he was going to have to find us some other way home. We were not going to board that plane.

We were then taking to a different part of the airport while he tried to figure something out. All the while we were all so very upset, my son told me he had never been so frightened in his life, that from a seventeen year old boy. My daughter was crying and sick to her stomach the entire evening. After waiting a while he came back and told us that he booked us on a flight to Los Angeles at 10:30 that evening through Hawaiian Air but because it was an overnight flight no food would be served. Then from there Jet Blue would take us the remainder of the way. It was around 5:00pm at this point so we were going to have to wait five and a half more hours. I asked him what we were supposed to do in the meantime after leaving our hotel seven hours before. He took us to the lounge and told us we could wait there, there were complimentary soda and coffee available, but to wait another five hours meant at least another meal for the four of us. Maybe a complimentary meal would have been nice, but that was not offered. After waiting the remainder of the time we boarded flight HA 4 to Los Angeles with not further issues.

It is very unfortunate that Hawaiian Airlines does not have any concern for the safety of their passengers with food allergies. We were to fly over the Pacific Ocean with nowhere to land should and allergic reaction occur. What if another family should encounter this problem in the future and get on that plane because of time restraints or commitment, then what? Let change not be occurring through tragedy, my efforts here are to be preemptive and I hope in writing there will be a change for the better.

Story:  Happy on Hawaiian Airlines...

Our soon Hudson is 2 1/2 and took his first plane ride last year. We live in the Bay Area and were headed to Hawaii...an almost 6 hour flight!

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Story:  Happy on Hawaiian Airlines...

Our soon Hudson is 2 1/2 and took his first plane ride last year. We live in the Bay Area and were headed to Hawaii...an almost 6 hour flight! We always fly Hawaiian and kept with them for this flight. From the initial booking, to the airport/terminal staff, to the flight crew, we were taken care of and listened to. We we're able to pre-board and sanitize with no questions asked. While they could no longer make a full cabin announcement, our flight attendant personally promised me to look out for what snacks passengers around us were eating and helped is to talk to those directly in front and behind us about Hudson's allergy. She also informed me that the only peanut contaminated item on board was in a sauce in a dish offered to first class passengers.

My anxiety stayed with me the entire flight, but I was so relieved to have an inflight guardian angel also looking out for us. I would highly recommend flying Hawaiian Airlines.

Story:  Why we don't fly...

My daughter has an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts. When we retested her we found out that on a scale from 1 to 100, her allergy to ara H 2 was at 100. Ara h 2 is the component associated with systemic allergic reaction. Instead of relaxing about her allergy, we had to become more vigilant.

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Story:  Why we don't fly...

My daughter has an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts. When we retested her we found out that on a scale from 1 to 100, her allergy to ara H 2 was at 100. Ara h 2 is the component associated with systemic allergic reaction. Instead of relaxing about her allergy, we had to become more vigilant.

My peanut allergic daughter has never been on a plane. The thought of putting her on a plane where the recycled air could potentially spread peanut dust everywhere, gives me chills. Every vacation we have ever taken, we have had to drive. It is getting old. Believe me, the drive from Kansas to Walt Disney is a long one.

It is not only a problem for vacations. My oldest daughter is now looking at colleges on the East coast. I know that flying my youngest daughter to go visit her sister would be life threatening. I foresee a problem for our family in the near future, if my oldest attends college out of state.

There needs to be Federal Regulation about nuts on flights. The government needs to catch up with the changing times. More and more children are being diagnosed with peanut/nut allergies every day. The times where airlines passed out peanuts on flights needs to be a thing of the past.

Story:  Frequent business travel, always fearful

: I travel for business quite frequently and always fearful of what will happen while I'm trapped in the airplane.

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Story:  Frequent business travel, always fearful

I travel for business quite frequently and always fearful of what will happen while I'm trapped in the airplane. I'm always armed with my Epi pens and the usual precautionary meds, but if my neighbor brings those airport snacks on board that they seem to sell in every airport now days, I'm hosed! Also, if they serve peanuts or any sort of snacks with nuts, it's bad news for me!

Southwest now allows me to board early using an ADA pass, which allows me to board early, pick a seat that would allow me to be close to a flight attendant and wipe down my entire row, tray, arm rests, etc to at least ensure that my surroundings have been cleared of debris left by a previous passenger. They also don't serve any snacks that contain nuts during the flights that I'm on.

The attendants all are made aware that there's a passenger on board with a severe nut allergy and I always make sure they know that I have several Epi pens and where they are. I've had bad experiences on other airlines, but Southwest hasn't done me wrong yet.

Story:  Scared to death to fly!!!

My mom and I traveled up to New York to see my grandma a few years ago and we usually fly Southwest because they are always so good about having a peanut free flight.

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Story:  Scared to death to fly!!!

My mom and I traveled up to New York to see my grandma a few years ago and we usually fly Southwest because they are always so good about having a peanut free flight.

We ended up flying with Delta because they were going right where we needed to go and they assured us if we called in advance and brought a letter from my doctor saying it was a LIFE THREATENING allergy, that the flight would be peanut free.

As nervous as can be, I boarded the plane and showed the stewardess by the door my doctor's letter. She said everything was fine. I proceeded to take my seat and another flight attendant came to me and rudely and very loudly asked if I was the one with the peanut allergy. I confirmed that I was, and she sat there arguing with me, asking how serious my allergy really was.

After trying to explain to this irrational woman that I would die if the person next to me ate ONE peanut, she told me that they are only required to have a peanut free zone of four seats ahead of me and four seats behind me! I was mortified and my anxiety skyrocketed.

I figured if it got really bad, I could just breath through the vomit bag, right? So the plane takes off and then the nightmare only gets worse! As they are passing out the snacks, my anxiety turns into full out panic attacks. I see the cart tray of death rolling down the aisle and find out that my peanut free zone has suddenly turned into a death zone!

The attendant is serving trail mix, snickers, and peanut butter crackers that are available for purchase to the rows right in front of me! I don't remember much else of the flight because I was in a constant state of panic.

We had to fly from Dallas to Atlanta then Atlanta to New York. After flying to Atlanta I was willing to WALK to New York before getting back on any airplane!

We talked to about four managers, the captain of the next plane and just about everyone we could to ensure my safety. This plane ride was amazing! They announced on the loud system that there are multiple people with life threatening peanut allergies on the plane and to even please refrain from eating your own personal snacks for the safety of their passengers.

That was amazing! We talked to numerous people at Delta headquarters and they informed us it is actually up to the flight attendant whether they want to accomodate us or not!! That is ridiculous! I have not flown on an airplane since then because I am absolutely petrified! It shouldn't be that hard to simply serve some crackers or pretzels!

Story:  The Not So Friendly Skies, Inconsistency of food allergy policies amongst airlines

My daughter has an incredibly severe peanut allergy. We first flew when she was 2, in early 2001. I was very new to the whole allergy world and assumed that airlines weren't serving peanuts any more due to the increase in allergies.

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Story:  The Not So Friendly Skies, Inconsistency of food allergy policies amongst airlines

My daughter has an incredibly severe peanut allergy. We first flew when she was 2, in early 2001. I was very new to the whole allergy world and assumed that airlines weren't serving peanuts any more due to the increase in allergies. I about to find out, I was wrong. We were in the middle of the plane, and they started serving snacks from the back. Only five or six rows had been served and the smell of peanuts became very strong. My little one was happily coloring but she started coughing intermittently. Within a few minutes she started rubbing her eyes, and then scratching her head. Her whole face turned red and I gave her a dose of Benadryl. We of course refused the snack when the attendants reached our row, and told them what was happening. They didn't seem to care. I ended up having to give her another dose of Benadryl but didn't have to use epinephrine.

As soon as we reached our destination I called the airline and told them what happened, and told them I needed a peanut free flight on our return. They assured me it would be no problem. When we got to the airport, there was no record of my request in the system. I spoke to several desk agents, and was finally allowed to speak to one of the flight attendants. She was incredibly rude and incredulous. "You mean you want EVERYONE on the flight to not eat peanuts!" I said yes, and absolutely disgusted she finally relented in letting me pick out an alternative snack (pretzels).

Over the years we have had mostly negative experiences flying. Some airlines have clear policies (United) and some have none at all or ambiguous ones. I believe it was Delta who told us they would not serve peanuts to our row, the row in front and the row behind. I told them she's had airborne reactions and they said it was the best they could do. I decided several years ago that we will only fly United from now on. On many flights I have seen peanuts on the floor, peanuts in the seat back pocket...it's such an unsafe environment for those with severe allergies. The anxiety of flying is unreal. We take multiple Epipens, lots of Benadryl, a mask and gloves just in case, and we pre board if allowed and wipe down our entire row and thoroughly check the floor, seat back pockets, and trays. We bring our own tray and our own food.

It seems so silly to me that people get so up in arms about "getting their peanuts" as if it's an inalienable right. You hope for compassion when lives are at stake.

Story:  Flying with Allergic Children-Playing Russian Roulette

Sadly, every time we take a flight with our two nut allergic children its like playing Russian Roulette! Passengers can't smoke on airplanes, and that won't kill you in 30 minutes. Yet, you are still allowed to eat something that can cause a child/adult severe harm (even fatal) in the air! Explain that to me?

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Story:  Flying with Allergic Children-Playing Russian Roulette

Sadly, every time we take a flight with our two nut allergic children its like playing Russian Roulette! Passengers can't smoke on airplanes, and that won't kill you in 30 minutes. Yet, you are still allowed to eat something that can cause a child/adult severe harm (even fatal) in the air! Explain that to me?

On one Jet Blue flight to Florida we seemed to have a friendly crew, except when I asked that they refrain from serving nuts. There are NO PEANUTS they said but we are serving cookies with walnuts. Next I get the question from the flight attendant, "How serious is the allergy?" I then showed her my 8 epi pens. She was speechless. I think clueless as well. An announcement was made...but we were still so anxiety ridden.

On our RETURN flight the attendant forgot to announce the allergy. After I wiped everything down, I put my hand into the seat pocket in front of me to find trash. In it was an opened bag of cashews! Lucky for me, I was able to clean up the potential allergen mess. The attendant then began selling almonds in front of my kids! She clearly forgot about the life threatening allergy my children have. I reminded her and she tried to make up for the mistake. But oh the drama and stares... and bullies on board, our family has to face! We pay to fly, we pay ridiculous mounts during vacation weeks so our families can be together and be happy a few times a year. A few hours without nuts won't harm anyone. Don't you agree?

Story:  Delightful Delta

We fly a lot. We tend to use delta. They have always been wonderful to us. They let us preboard, clean down the area, make announcements, don't serve peanuts. The pdx team is ways fantastic!

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Story:  Delightful Delta

We fly a lot. We tend to use delta. They have always been wonderful to us. They let us preboard, clean down the area, make announcements, don't serve peanuts. The pdx team is ways fantastic!

We always fly delta. When I make my booking I call the disability line and inform them of my daughter's allergy. They always mark the reservation. When we get to the airport I remind them at check in and at the gate. We always preboard to clean down the area. They make announcements asking others not to open any peanut products as there is a passenger on board with a life threatening allergy or words to that effect. They do not serve them either. I would say that they are consistent and have been the best at dealing with allergies. I have flown Alaska no announcements, spirit no announcements and no pre-boarding United hashas had the same policy as Spirit nothing.

Story:  United does nothing to accommodate a NJ food allergic family

While they don't serve peanuts anymore, they still serve these snack boxes. Some of the boxes contain Nutella and some contain almonds.

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Story:  United does nothing to accommodate a NJ food allergic family

While they don't serve peanuts anymore, they still serve these snack boxes. Some of the boxes contain Nutella and some contain almonds. I also believe there was a nut trail nut mix in one of the boxes. We wiped down the seats and asked the people around us not to have nuts if they could please avoid and people were accommodating Thankfully my son doesn't have an airborne allergy, but what if he did? When I got on the plane I told the flight attendant about his allergies and she did nothing to accommodate our family or check how my son was doing. No announcements were permitted. She informed us that they serve nuts on the plane but they're pre-packaged. I wiped down the seats and did the best I could and luckily had a safe flight. What if I'm not so lucky next time?

Story:  Southwest Airlines - We would fly them again...

This Holiday season we visited family in Chicago. We flew Southwest Airlines for the visit. They do serve nuts on their planes but when we made the reservation we told them of our 12 year old daughter's multiple food allergies which include peanuts and tree nuts. They coded the reservation as a "Peanut Dust Allergy." This distinction was noted on my daughter's Boarding pass and we were allowed to pre-board the plane and wipe down the seats. No nut products were served on the flight. The crew and staff were very nice and handled the allergy very well. We would fly them again because of this policy.

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Story:  Southwest Airlines - We would fly them again...

This Holiday season we visited family in Chicago. We flew Southwest Airlines for the visit. They do serve nuts on their planes but when we made the reservation we told them of our 12 year old daughter's multiple food allergies which include peanuts and tree nuts. They coded the reservation as a "Peanut Dust Allergy." This distinction was noted on my daughter's Boarding pass and we were allowed to pre-board the plane and wipe down the seats. No nut products were served on the flight. The crew and staff were very nice and handled the allergy very well. We would fly them again because of this policy.

The ticket agent also was extremely aware of the allergy policy when we checked in at the airport and said we were smart to take the first flight of the day because the plane was thoroughly cleaned the night before at the airport. It was nice to see the Southwest employees be so aware of the food allergy policy.

The flight crew was also very nice on both legs of the flight. They assured us that they knew of the food allergy and no nut products would be served on the flight.

Story:  Amy - AllergySafeTravel

My family and I flew to California for a wedding back in 2009. While I wasn't too worried about flying with my then five year old daughter who has asthma and is anaphylactic to milk, eggs and all nuts, it certainly was a wake up call for all of us. I had flown with her maybe once or twice before, so I felt comfortable flying with her then. The flight attendants were willing to make announcements for us, and we were usually allowed to pre-board to wipe things down. There were nuts in the air...

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Amy - AllergySafeTravel

My family and I flew to California for a wedding back in 2009. While I wasn't too worried about flying with my then five year old daughter who has asthma and is anaphylactic to milk, eggs and all nuts, it certainly was a wake up call for all of us. I had flown with her maybe once or twice before, so I felt comfortable flying with her then. The flight attendants were willing to make announcements for us, and we were usually allowed to pre-board to wipe things down. Since we were on an early morning flight, I didn't think an announcement would be necessary, and there were no nuts being served on that particular flight. About 20 minutes after takeoff, my husband and I looked at each other, we both smelled the same thing. There were nuts in the air. I immediately looked at my daughter who I could tell was starting to react. I pushed the button for the flight attendant who promptly appeared. I told her that we needed to find the nuts asap because my daughter was beginning to have an allergic reaction. While the flight attendant searched out the nuts, I gave gave my daughter a double dose of benadryl and her inhaler to prevent an asthma attack. Turns out an elderly couple sitting a few rows ahead of us had brought a can of mixed nuts on the flight. As soon as they opened the can, the nut proteins became airborne.

We had three subsequent flights on this trip. Each time I told the flight attendants about my daughter's reaction, they were willing to make an announcement or serve other snack items that didn't include peanuts or tree nuts.

I wish I could stay this cooperative nature still holds true today, but it doesn't. Flight attendants are no longer willing to make such accommodations, and the airlines would just as leave not have you on their planes.

In November 2011, we decided to try it again. My family and I flew from Chicago to Phoenix early one Saturday morning. When we boarded the flight, I promptly told the flight attendants about my daughter’s allergies, including the fact that she had had an allergic reaction to nuts on board a flight two years earlier. They told me that they would be warming mixed nuts in both the front and back ends of the plane to serve to their first class passengers. I asked them if they could serve something else. They refused saying they couldn’t deny their first class passengers their warm nuts. I was then told that if I didn’t feel comfortable flying we could get off the plane. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, and I felt as though I had just landed in the middle of a Saturday Night Live skit. The absurdity of it all. I gave my daughter benadryl and her inhaler before we took off and prayed for the best. Needless to say, it was a very stressful flight. I felt even worse for my daughter who couldn't understand why the flight attendant didn't care about her safety. How do you explain that to a child? Liability isn't something they understand at such a young age.

Upon our return flight home, I didn’t dare ask for any special accommodations, but I did ask a flight attendant what had changed since we had last flown. She told me that the airlines were trying to upgrade their offerings in first class to attract higher paying passengers. These upgraded offerings apparently meant warm nuts. She then told me that the general attitude among airline staff had become “colder” towards those with nut allergies. We certainly sensed it.

While I don’t wish to label our food/nut allergic children as disabled, I do think, from time to time, they need special accommodations and protections, especially when they’re flying in cramped quarters, 35,000 feet above ground and miles away from medical assistance. The time has come when something needs to be done.

 
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Featured Story:  Perspective From a Military Family

: "Just don't fly" Isn't Always an Option, Especially for Military Families.

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Featured Story: Perspective From a Military Family

Glad to provide a response from a military perspective. As a career military officer, my family and I must relocate often–at the pleasure of the DOD. We’ve been assigned to locales where flying was the only mode of transportation in order to report on time (Alaska, Hawaii, among others). Despite explaining our “must fly due to military orders” status, the airlines were very noncommittal in observing our sons’ severe peanut allergies. Peanut allergies are deadly. Period, dot. They don’t just trigger hives or itchiness. They trigger death. And Epi-pens are not a cure; they only buy 20 minutes to get to a hospital for real care. Most “pro-peanut” folks don’t realize that. In my military experience, since 1994, the airlines have flip-flopped on their peanut policy: American used to be the most accommodating and Delta, the least. I’m told that has since changed. Hawaiian was 50-50, and Alaska was mostly good. The problem is, you never know how the airline will help protect your children’s lives; so much is personality dependent in the absence of a law/policy change. Real change won’t happen until we can convince a senior member of Congress to advocate a change in the law. How many near-deaths have to occur on the air before authorities take accountability? Is your Reese’s peanut butter cup really that important? The most cringeworthy counter-argument I hear is, “well just don’t fly if you have allergies”, or “why should your kids’ deadly allergy impinge upon my airline snack?” Please realize those of us in uniform who have dedicated our lives–and the lives of our families–to serve our country rarely have the luxury to “just not go”. We report to duty as ordered and only ask for safe passage. This country is full of smart people; we know second-hand smoke is damaging to bystanders; likewise, airborne peanut allergens threaten bystanders even more dangerously–especially in an enclosed aircraft where we all breathe the same recycled air. For the sake of my children’s lives, I’ll gladly trade you a some Oreo cookies in exchange for those peanut M&Ms, if snacking on an airplane is so important to you. We are not looking for sympathy, just responsible citizenship. Think beyond your scope, Fellow Americans, and thank you for your brotherhood. Lt Col Tony Mena, USAF

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