Flying the Un-Friendly Skies

Gina Clowes  of AllergyMoms website,  is an allergy author and advocate. She recently was trying to fly with her two boys who have nut allergies. She spent $2200 on 4 tickets.  Then found out that American Airlines roast nuts in first class on flights.  Yes, with recirculated cabin air, on flights, no exit. I think we ALL see the problem there don’t we? Gina tried to contact the airlines representatives, her request “was extremely reasonable. She didn’t object to the serving of cashews in first class seating, but she asked them to refrain from roasting the cashews in-flight because of the increased risk of allergic reaction.” This quote and following link belong to Jenny Kales, Nut-Free Mom @ Please read this Blog post!

For those new to the allergy scene, the act of heating up certain foods releases more of the particles into the air (aerosolization), which means minuscule particles get into eyes, lungs etc. causing severe reactions.  Gina has said that her son does have a 504 Plan, “which means he is considered “disabled’ because of his food allergies. I don’t like the word “disability” any more than anyone else does. But my son does, at times, need some additional accommodations.” The understanding is that “an airline cannot refuse to provide transportation to us simply because an accommodation may “offend, annoy, inconvenience crew members or other passengers.”

BIG Thank yous to Gina Clowes and Jenny Kales for sharing this story.

All of this has really got me wondering, If I need to fly somewhere with my two severely allergic boys, what airline is safe? Who will make accommodations? Did you know that currently there is NO AIRLINE that is Nut Free? None. 1 out of 12 people have food allergies- Peanuts being most common. Maybe they don’t understand how nut oils get onto everything- the bathroom doors, the seats, the flip down trays, how it can cause anaphylaxis when an allergic person breathes it in the air.  I called and spoke to a travel agent, Dorothy, at Liberty Travel in NY,  who was very helpful, and is familiar with traveling with food allergies.  She told me that US Airways, Continental, United, American Airlines, and Delta all serve peanuts.  JET BLUE does not serve peanuts! – They do serve Cashews, however they don’t warm any nuts! 😉   I called Jet Blue and spoke to a representative who told me that they will make accommodations for those traveling with nut allergies and not serve them in the surrounding seats, but probably will to the rest of the plane. I asked her if they understood how it can still cause a reaction to the allergic person.  Her advice was to go onto the Jet Blue website and file a complaint or request with them [Speak Up tab on their website] explaining the problem. She did not know why planes had to serve nuts at all in this day and age!

If Jet Blue would make this policy change they would be the ONLY nut free airline out there.  As things stand now, they are the “safest” one for us to fly on. I have sent this post to them in hopes of getting them to review the matter! Gina Clowes has told me that she has had good luck with South West Airlines as well.

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One Response to Flying the Un-Friendly Skies

  1. livingtheallergylife July 22, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    We recently flew on southwest and before the flight started they made an announcement that someone had a peanut allergy so no nuts would be served on that flight. They let everyone know they would be serving pretzels instead. We have peanut allergies but not to the extent that we can’t be around them. It made me happy to hear the airline was happy to help in the situation by changing their snack. I remember pre-kids flying another time when they did the same thing. Not sure if we were on southwest though. We still couldn’t eat the pretzels because they were processed with peanuts but big deal, mommy always has snacks on hand!

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