Are the Airlines on Board with Passengers’ Food Allergies?

 In Traveling with Food Allergies

Allergic travelers are stepping up and speaking out about their rights as airline passengers.  Some are even getting political support. This past December, the New Jersey Senate unanimously passed Resolution 124 brought forward by Senator Joe Kyrillos, (R. Monmouth) calling for commercial airlines to establish formal policies to accommodate passengers with peanut allergies.

 Resolution 124 calls for the following:

  • A standard practice among U.S. airlines of creating a buffer zone (in which no nuts can be consumed) of at least one row in front and one row behind the row where the allergic passenger is seated. Flight crew would ask passengers in this buffer zone to refrain from eating nut-containing products they have brought onboard. The crew would not serve any nut containing products within the buffer zone.
  • The right for allergic passengers (whether children or adults) to report their food allergy to the flight crew without fear of being removed from the flight simply because of the allergy. (At present, this can occur).

The hope is that other legislators will carry the message forward and generate more interest throughout the country about a very real concern.

A large part of the problem with the airlines is that some of the airlines’ own flight attendants and employees seem unaware of their employer’s exact policy on food allergies. Training employees to both recognize the implications of food allergies and know how to respond would be a giant step forward for the airline industry.

Some of the airlines have risen to the task of creating policies and procedures that have improved travel for people with food allergy.  Comparing airlines’ policies on food allergies discloses a variation on how to help protect food allergic passengers and provide needed considerations to ensure their well-being.

On Tuesday January 28th, 2014, the video, “More Than an Inconvenience”, was presented to 30 airline representatives. The hope is that they will become more than just interested, but actually involved and active in adding clarity to airline policies related to passengers with food allergies.

 If you experience inappropriate treatment from airline personnel during your travels or attempts to travel, put your complaint in writing to the Aviation Consumer Protection Division (ACPD).

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