I have an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts and as well as many other nuts, but United is one of the only airlines that doesn’t serve peanuts and only serves tree nuts in first/business class. My past experience has been that my allergy is bad enough that if I touch traces of nuts, I will have a reaction. I have not reacted in the past from just smelling nuts – although, the smell does bother me. I have flown United pretty regularly in the past few months and intend to over the next several months as well.
The first time I flew this year, I was a little nervous because it had been over a year since I’d flown, but each time I’ve flown recently, the staff at the gate have been extremely accommodating and made sure that I had a chance to talk to someone on the flight crew before boarding. I pre-board every time to wipe down my seat and get myself settled. And I always bring my own food and drinks on board. Even though I know I’m not allergic to the drinks they serve, I worry about cross-contamination, so I always say no thank you.
On three of the flights I took recently, the flight crew even went around to the rows in front of and behind me to let passengers know that there was someone with a nut allergy. I didn’t bother asking on the fourth flight because it was a red eye and most people were just going straight to sleep anyway.
And on two of the flights I took recently, the flight crew members touched base with me at least once or twice while in the air to make sure I was okay and see if I needed anything. (On one flight, a flight attendant even came by at the end of the flight to give me a United wings pin… even though I’m an adult. I thought that was a pretty cute touch.)
I know United gets a bad reputation, but I have only ever approached them with kindness and sincerity and they have only ever responded the same. I find it does help to assure them that I have my own food and drinks and that as long as I can wipe down my seat and ensure that nobody in my row is eating nuts, I will be okay. (If the flight crew refuses to let the people around me know, I would have no problem informing them myself and if they had planned on eating nuts, I would happily buy them a different snack.) The United crews have never given me any trouble or told me they couldn’t accommodate my requests.