“Peanuts, Pretzels, or Cookies?”

Photography by Philip Heidenreich

Peanuts, pretzels, or cookies?” For most of us allergen sufferers, that’s the worst sentence you can hear on an airplane. For those with airborne allergies more severe than my own, this question becomes a potential death sentence in such a confined space.

Remember, as you are booking a flight, speak up about your allergies! All airlines have a meal request fill-in question as you are purchasing your flight. Step one is to list your allergies, even if your allergen isn’t something typically served on a plane. I always include my shellfish allergy for the record, even though the airlines I frequent don’t serve shrimp cocktails. You can never be too sure of where these allergens are hiding. I followed this guideline on a flight to California this summer. The flight attendant met me at my seat and discussed the severity of my allergies. She made an announcement that there was a traveler with severe nut allergies on flight and that no peanuts would be served. She went the extra mile to ask that if people were traveling with “nut snacks” that they wait until they leave the plane to open them. I heard some grumblings around me, but the other passengers were very accepting of the request.  

The second step to an allergen-safe flight is to confirm your allergies again to the attendant greeting you as you board. When traveling to Texas this past summer, my allergy request information didn’t pull through on the flight attendant’s report. Things like that happen, but it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. Since I mentioned my allergies to my flight attendant, he made sure that peanuts or almonds were not served (thanks, Delta!). Be confident and in control of your safety.

Adventure awaits,


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