Why is it that I meet so many people who tell me about their horrific airline experiences yet never write down their experiences for publication on my advocacy website, No Nut Traveler? While some admit they don’t want to ever think about it again, others don’t want to tell people how they were bullied in front of their child by airline staff. Some just want to move on since nothing catastrophic happened on the flight.
If I am honest, my first negative airline experience was not in Denver when my son was 8 and we walked off a flight, but 6 years before. Spoiler alert, I never filed a complaint.
While returning from a family ski trip, two family members were upgraded. Josh was 2, traveling in his car seat. My husband and I decided that I would move, thinking it was less likely someone would be eating a peanut butter sandwich. I can vividly remember walking up to the front of the plane and informing the flight attendant of Josh’s nut allergy. She proceeded to say with a smirk on her face that, “You better wipe down the area because I served peanuts on the last flight to everyone and they all were munching on them. There is dust everywhere, have fun trying to clean it. You have medication, don’t you? Oh and I can’t deny my Business class passengers nuts because of your son’s allergy so I WILL be serving them all around you on this flight.”
Shocked into silence, I said nothing and began to clean around the area. Not wanting to endanger a child, people around me stood up, called over the flight attendant, and told her not to serve the nuts. I was so thankful to those around me, and the flight went smoothly. We landed and I never gave it another thought. Never filed a complaint.
Often times physicians tell me that their patients don’t talk about issues concerning air travel. For a while, I never did. We must take the initiative to open rational discussions with our physicians about how challenging flying with food allergies is and is, in fact, downright frightening to many.
Death is not the only outcome in the air that should spark outrage. I have collected anecdotal reports of families kicked off flights for asking for an announcement, mocked by flight attendants, and ridiculed by other passengers. No federal guidelines exist to protect food allergic airline passengers and airlines are consistently inconsistent in dealing with passengers flying with food allergies. People with food allergies don’t always get a second chance.
Treatment of food allergic passengers in the air often depends on both the mood and basic food allergy knowledge of a particular flight crew. The fact that food allergy protections on planes do not exist in a dependable capacity is utterly unacceptable. The world will never begin to understand the danger of food allergies if we don’t share and record our testimonials. Without written records, it is like our experiences never happened.
So this is a plea from me to you to take the time this year to share your air travel experiences, good or bad. They matter. Our experiences already lead to the publication of a NY Times article and have been a catalyst for change in the DOT complaint, filed against American Air. But there is so much more to be done. Please help me!!
Heres to 2019- May this be the year for everyone with a food allergy to travel safely!
To share your story use this link : http://nonuttraveler.com/share-your-story