American Airlines Won’t Accommodate Your Nut Allergies

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Do you ever stumble across something to which your internal response is, “Oooooh, I get it, you *don’t* want me to be a customer. Thanks for letting me know. I’ll be sure to pass this along.”

This happened for me last week when I saw this photo of the US Airways / American Airlines nut policy shared by the Food Allergy Pharmacist on Facebook:

American Airlines Nut Policy: Food Allergy Pharmacist

I think it’s important for the American and US Airways marketing folks to note that being on the receiving end of a policy written like this makes those of us living with food allergies feel at best singled out and excluded; at worst unwelcome and inhuman. The way this policy is written is downright adversarial to those with nut allergies.

What the people writing the policy, and those trying to communicate it, fail to understand is that allergic individuals are people too. Our loved ones have hopes and dreams. Amazingly, they also desire to travel and experience the world just like any ol’ normal person. That’s not too much to ask for, I think, being able to really experience life.

I have to ask: Why is there no thought of reasonable accommodation for those with severe allergies? If I were an outsider looking in, I would most assuredly wish to offer the healthiest environment possible to ensure all passengers made it through the trip safely. Although flights being diverted mid-flight because of a severe allergic reaction are rare enough to make headlines, it’s quite possible that with the recent meteoric rise in food allergies, it could become more of the norm.

That said, why wouldn’t an airline want to put safeguards into place to ensure an entire plane of people would not be delayed because of an urgent landing for a passenger who needs medical assistance?

Reasonable accommodation for disabilities is appreciated. Saving other passengers time – and the airline a load of money – by not diverting flights is also appreciated. These are all good questions to ask and considerations to make. But I saved my biggest question for last, because I really must know.

Where is the humanity in these policies?

When did people stop being treated like real people and instead more like cattle? Why is a dollar earned more important than treating people like the cherished human beings that they are?

After our last experience flying on American (my son ended up sneezing for the last half of the flight for who-knows-what reason, maybe the proteins from the warmed nuts made their way through the system and into our vents?) and after reading this policy multiple times, it’s safe to say that, for us, American and US Airways are off our radar for booking flights. There are other airlines that are more allergy-friendly, and more likely to treat us as humans rather than cattle that may disrupt their way of earning a quick buck. We will stick with those airlines instead, until we see a marked change in how American approaches those with severe allergies.

Perhaps if we spread the word far and wide and more people make the same choice, the American Airlines Group, Inc., will get the picture and make some accommodations to treat our loved ones in the most basic way we would hope – like a normal person.

Tiffany Self

Tiffany Self is a wife, mom to "Z", and a lover of words. In an ironic twist, she is an English class dropout who now writes for a living. Tiffany is a freelancer in the Chicago suburbs by way of Seattle and Southern Oregon. She writes about her journey of parenting a child with multiple severe food allergies, asthma, and environmental allergies. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

3 Comments to American Airlines Won’t Accommodate Your Nut Allergies

  1. John

    Sorry lady, but American Airlines point is valid. They are an airline, and do not have the financial resources to monitor all the various food processing companies that provide them with in-flight snacks. Stopping all forms of peanut cross-contamination is ridiculous and extremely costly.

    Plus, you cannot stop people from buying peanuts at the terminal and bringing them aboard. I’m not being rude, I am a realist. And I also have a severe peanut allergy.

    • Tiffany

      Hi John, Thanks for stopping by. I think you may have misunderstood my post. I am not requesting a full on stop to all cross contamination, I’m requesting a kinder approach to the issue. I’ve heard of multiple accounts where American has refused to allow individuals on the plane to clean their area from nut residue before everyone else boarded. That is terrible customer service. I also know that I’ve had fantastic experiences on Alaska Airlines where they’ve allowed me on with ample time to clean up our area to ensure safety for my son, and the flight attendants have designated a buffer zone so they wouldn’t serve nuts to three rows in front or behind us. It’s common human decency to consider something that could cause another person to have such a reaction that the entire flight would have to be diverted because of a medical emergency like this. I’m thinking from all sides of the issue. Really, American could take a page out of the book of other airlines like Alaska and treat folks like my son (and, evidently, you) with a little more decency. That’s all I’m asking…while informing others of a policy that is hostile to them.

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