Summer 2015 –
When airline executives now receive disability training, food allergies will be a part of that discussion, thanks to Open Doors, a non-profit advocacy group for people with disabilities. Due to the growing prevalence of food allergies, the Chicago-based organization began to include the information in its training program beginning in January.
“We have included severe nut allergies in our education programs and recognize that severe nut allergies can be fatal,” said Executive Director Eric Lipp. “Our approach is to establish a consistent minimum policy that all airlines can follow that calls on them to instruct their flight crews to make an announcement when a passenger has a severe nut allergy.”
Lipp acknowledges that airlines can’t prevent passengers from bringing nuts on board, but says an announcement could discourage passengers from opening nut packages.
“It’s really a shared responsibility. Passengers with nut allergies should make sure they take all preventive arrangements before boarding, including having an epinephrine auto-injector and wiping down seats from previous passengers. We are hoping that airlines will step up and establish higher standards when it comes to dealing with severe nut allergies,” added Lipp, who notes that many airlines today routinely include an epinephrine auto-injector in their on-board medical kits.
The organization, founded in 2000, advocates on behalf of all persons with disabilities so that they may have the same consumer opportunities as everyone else. They aspire to teach businesses how to succeed in the disability market, while simultaneously empowering the disability community.
By: David Brimm