Don’t say it! Please don’t! I am not ready for the holiday season! Thanksgiving is coming soon! That means Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New Year are soon after.

There’s so much to do, but most importantly I need to start searching flights for holiday travel, which is a nightmare for my family. My son, age nine, has life-threatening allergies to peanuts. For our family, and so many others, finding an airline that will be accommodating is daunting.

Thankfully, we have never had a serious issue, but airline policies and procedures surrounding food allergies seem to be a moving target. Many times, we have been allowed to pre-board to wipe down our seats, but some airlines won’t allow it. I

We’ve heard the horror stories: tension and hostility from flight attendants, feeling threatened and judged by the other passengers, and even people kicked off flights.

So should you tell a flight attendant about a life-threatening allergy? If you do, you might risk not be allowed to board. In some cases, the pilots and crew determine your experience regardless of the airline’s policies.

Lianne Mandelbaum, the founder of “The No Nut Traveler” offers these tips of the day of traveling:

“Remember to bring your medications (epinephrine/antihistamines), a copy of your airline policy, a letter from your MD and your signed emergency action plan. Do not place in your packed luggage or overhead storage. Keep accessible at all times!

Remind the gate agent of the severity of your/your child’s allergy and if possible pre-board to clean the area. When on board remind the flight attendants as well.
Clean the seat and surrounding area including the tray table, light switches, armrests, window shade and call buttons. Use wipes such as Clorox, not hand sanitizer. Consider using a seat cover and/or your own blanket to cover the seat.

Inform those around you and, if possible, ask for an announcement and/or buffer zone. You may want to wear a bracelet or shirt alerting others to the allergy.”

We also use one of our favorite resources to do research about different airlines’ policies on how they handle allergies. For the list by Very Well, click here.

Ultimately, though, if you feel like you are being mistreated because of a life-threatening allergy on an airline, you do have rights! be sure to visit the Allergy Law Project if your rights have been infringed upon.


The Not-So-Friendly Skies – Allergic Passenger Rights