A Traveling 'Nut'mare

Guest Blogger: Meghan Cappel

Do you have that one person in your life who really gets you? For me, it’s my sister, Meghan. It consistently feels like we are always on the same wavelength. My sister is three years older than me, so we were able to conquer the University of Cincinnati for two years before she graduated. We still live together in an apartment and we are so lucky to get to see each other so often.

When I found out about my allergies, my sister took them on in full force. She gave up one of her favorite snacks to have around the house, peanut butter, just for me. (I can still remember my sister and dad eating peanut butter by the spoon as an afternoon snack!)

When I was in Hilton Head, first with some friends and then with my family, Meghan was able to figure out her work schedule to drop down for the weekend. She had an interesting experience with the airline, Allegiant, and I asked her if she would be willing to share on the blog. Meghan deserves the first guest blog post and I’m so fortunate that she’s willing to share her experience with allergies from a different perspective.


Like Kendall, I have always loved to travel. As a kid, I would get so excited about vacation that I would make myself sick… and the variety of snacks my mom packed for the car probably didn’t help! After 10+ hours of driving from Cincinnati to Hilton Head, I’m sure that was the last thing my parents wanted to deal with!

On a number of occasions, we flew to various vacation destinations, including Seattle, Minneapolis, and Orlando. One time, after our car broke down, we flew home from Hilton Head. After my first plane experience, I could not wait to fly. I loved getting the wings pin from the Delta flight attendant and a small bag of overly salted peanuts. There was something magical about flying to a new place, sitting in a seat between my parents (that I thought was pretty comfy at the time), munching on peanuts. At the time, Kendall was just a baby and had not yet been diagnosed with a nut allergy.

In the 20+ years that have passed between my first flying experience and today, allergy awareness has certainly become more prevalent in the airline industry. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I was offered peanuts on the plane… and I’ve flown a variety of airlines all over the world! For allergy sufferers and their families, the substitution of pretzels for peanuts is a huge relief. While I’ll never get to relive my childhood memories, I know most airlines are doing all that they can to protect my sister and others who have severe allergies.

As much as I love traveling to Hilton Head, these days, I’m over the 10 hour drive. Luckily, during the summer months, Allegiant has a daily flight from Cincinnati to Savannah. Recently, I crashed Kendall’s trip with her friends just so I could soak up the sun for one more weekend before heading into fall semester. Though I’ve been to the island so many times, no two trips are ever the same. This trip was so late in the summer season that the loggerhead sea turtle nests were almost ready to hatch. Nests are all over the island, and we’re lucky enough to have several nests at our beach. Spending the weekend on the beach, eating delicious seafood, and waiting for the turtles to hatch was the perfect way to end the summer.

On my short flight home from the island, the Allegiant flight attendants came through the aisle asking if passengers wanted to purchase snacks. A couple rows ahead of me, a lady made a joke that she “could really go for some peanuts”. In a very unprofessional manner, the Allegiant flight attendant loudly ‘whispered’ saying, “Well I would, but you know ‘allergies’” and then rolled her eyes. As food allergy awareness in the airline industry has improved drastically in the last several years, the flight attendant’s comment diminishes the progress. Is it possible for those with food allergies to feel safe if flight attendants can’t even take allergies seriously???

Over Labor Day, Kendall and I are flying to Santa Ana to see the Bearcats play UCLA at the Rose Bowl. Here’s to hoping United Airlines take allergies more seriously!

Meghan

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