AST Prepares to Launch Newsletter for Airline Industry

March 9, 2015

Dear AllergySafeTravel Supporter:

We are creating a newsletter that will be distributed to top airline executives and government officials at the Department of Transportation and the White House. This newsletter is intended to gain greater buy-in from airlines for making accommodations for severe food allergy sufferers, especially those with peanut and tree nut allergies whose health can be put at risk during flights.

In each edition, we will be highlighting airline passengers’ flying experiences, both the good and bad, and recognizing flight crew members who have gone out of their way to protect flyers with allergies, among other things.  This is where we need your help.  If you have a flying experience you would like to share, or you would like to recognize a crew member, please email me at amy@allergysafetravel.com.  If you can remember the crew member’s name and/or have a photo you would like to share, that would be great.  If not, even if you can only recall the carrier and flight number and can relate the experience, that would be most helpful.  While we will recognize those flight crew members by name that performed exceptionally (with your permission) , we will not use the names of crew members that failed to make the effort.  That is not our intention.

We will be collecting these stories on an ongoing basis, so please let us know how your flying experience is.  Our first issue will be released Summer 2015.

Our hope is that airline executives will come to realize how accommodations can make a huge difference in support of an airline and its brand.

By helping our cause,  you are helping to upgrade the safety of flights for your family.

Thank you for your continued support.

 

 

5 thoughts on “AST Prepares to Launch Newsletter for Airline Industry

  1. Karen maxson

    I am preparing to bring my severely food allergic 2yr old daughter to disney world for the first time. What should be a joyous trip is causing me a huge amount of anxiety to the point I may chose to drive 24hrs with a toddler instead of chancing putting her on an airplane. In addition to being the mother of an allergic child, I am also a nurse. An anaphylactic reaction can take a persons life in minutes. Epinephrine in the form of epi pens only lasts for a short while, enough to buy you time to get an ambulance to the hospital if you are lucky. Not enough time to make an unscheduled landing and then get medical care! If nuts were served on prior flight, then residue will be present when we would sit in those seats. This means my child could die from taking a flight on a plane even if not nuts are served to her. Why can’t pretzels be served instead of nuts? What would be the big deal? Do you really want people dying on flights?because that is the reality that many now have to deal with. Signed, a terrified nurse and mother

    1. Amy Wicker Post author

      Karen — Thanks for taking the time to write. Where do you live? Is it possible for you to fly JetBlue? At this point, they seem to be the most consistent in how they deal with nut allergic passengers. I agree with you that airlines such as Southwest may not be a good option since they typically serve peanuts on every flight. We cannot step foot on either Southwest or Delta — too much nut residue in the air and on surfaces for my daughter who also has contact and airborne allergies.

  2. Maribeth Browne

    Hi Amy, You may remember our daughter Monica from our visit in Champaign. She’s 18 now and been highly allergic to peanuts her whole life. Flying has been our biggest challenge. In the old days American didn’t serve peanuts and their food service was peanut free. The airline would even announce that anyone having peanuts and peanut products please keep them sealed. Then food service became limited and peanuts and peanut butter crackers are now sold in the gift shops and caused an increase in risk. At that time the airlines started to debate personal freedom and we have had numerous situations, both pleasant and not. The worst was a woman attending a health conference who sat the isle next to me and told her coworker that she was opening her peanuts to prove it wasn’t true that the child on the plane had a problem. The best was a Pilot who came to the back of the plane by our seats and stated he would move any one not willing to keep their peanuts contained and all were happy to comply, but this developed a conversation with the family from England next to us and we are good friends for 12 years now. We have flown a ton over the years. We will not fly Southwest it is not safe. We haven’t had a lot of access to JetBlue. We have had wonderful experiences with Delta. They fail to be public with this information but with advanced warning they clean three rows in front and back of your seats, they asked those patrons to keep peanuts out of the area, and they will not even put peanut products on the plane for that flight. Some Delta locations even arrange a cleaned plane. We recently had a changed flight at the last minute on Delta and the peanut products had already been placed on in the carts. They informed us that they would not be bringing out the service cart. Not only did they serve an alternative snack, but served all beverages on carry platters one at a time. We’ve also called and spoken to airlines beforehand, we carry the epi pen and wipes, we always carry a filter mask for my daughter to choose to wear and we tell the flight attendants our situation and seat location, as soon as, we get on the plane. We could have always avoided planes and there is always a risk, but we are now grateful that our daughter has learned how to handle her situation and how to be her best advocate in a situation that we have limited control. She has been playing Nationals Volleyball for years and in some situations air travel was the only option. We now see that she will either have to manage her situation, or forgo opportunities, with college travel, international studies and even career decisions. We are grateful that she will be able to make her own informed decisions, because she has had us at her side to experience some 200+ flights over her lifetime. Having said that, the airline industry does need to take airborne and contact type allergies more seriously. They need to train Flight Attendants to handle emergency situations and I believe they need to consider a uniform allergy policy. The Airlines cannot legislate the peanut that comes out of a purse, but they can keep their environment as clean as possible and it really would be most helpful if the airport shops were nut free zones. Thanks for working at this Amy and hope to see you sometime soon.

    1. Amy Wicker Post author

      Hi Marybeth – Great to hear from you. Thanks for sharing your airline stories. I was surprised to hear about your experiences on Delta. Most of the stories I’ve heard haven’t been good, so it was nice to hear that they can sometimes get it right. Agreed that flight attendants need more training. Consistent policies, whether they will accommodate or not, would be a big improvement.
      Hope your family is doing well.

  3. Rose

    Hi Amy, I am very surprised to read that some folks are saying that Southwest is not safe. My 19 year old daughter has had the most severest forms of peanut allergy her entire life, just the smell makes her sick (hives, vomiting, shortness of breath). School was always a nightmare, even though peanuts and all food were banned from the classroom, there was always the occasional incident where someone would sneak a peanut containing snack into the class which would ultimately end up with her having to go leave school for the day because she was so sick. So the thought of her getting on a plane was and continues to be terrifying for me but no longer impossible. Her father lives three states away and after some research I found that the only airline that has truly been supportive and amazing is Southwest. She has always been allowed to pre-board and sit at the front rows of the plane, they remove all peanut snacks during the flight and they make an announcement to discourage others from eating peanuts on the plane. When you are booking your travel online, they have a section that you check to indicate that a passenger is allergic to peanut dust. I’ve never seen that on other airlines so there is a little piece of mind there. They also encourage you to take the first morning flight out since those planes undergo thorough cleaning after a whole days travel. If other airlines that fly internationally allowed customers with disabilities the same courtesy, or just completely removed peanuts from their flights, we would travel more often. For now, we will continue to use Southwest.

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