I am a 22 year old girl from New Jersey. I have suffered with nut allergies for the past 21 years of my life. Within these 21 years, I have traveled many places. Last night while coming home from California, I encountered the worst experience of my life. This is what I went through.
I had called United upon booking my ticket to ask them about the nuts on the plane and the person on the phone ensured me there would be no nuts. I also called 5 days prior to departure,and was ensured the same. I arrived at the gate and went up to speak to the people at the counter and explain my situation. The gate agents got the flight attendants who informed me that they have n0 clue why anyone would tell me no nuts because they definitely are serving nuts in their trail mix and there was nothing they could do about it. I asked if they could check with the pilot because I was afraid I would potentially risk having an allergic reaction. The pilot came out and spoke with my aunt and I. He stated very rudely that there’s nothing he can do for me and said if I feel I might have an allergic reaction, maybe I shouldn’t fly.
My aunt and I were only asking for him to have the flight attendants make an announcement that someone on board has a nut allergy and if they could try to refrain from eating nuts. He wouldn’t do that. Then I asked him if he could just tell my surrounding rows, and he wouldn’t do that. He called me an “inconvenience”, that my thought process was selfish, and that he doesn’t understand how I am being so inconsiderate to the other passengers . IT IS MY LIFE OR DEATH. He told me he has never made an announcement as such and never will. He made such a fuss that the passenger in line behind me said “excuse me pilot but I’m a global member and I’ve been on multiple flights where they make that announcement” and the pilot said “well not my flight, this isn’t up to me it’s up to the flight attendants and they don’t want to do this”.
DON’T WANT TO DO THIS? Why was I ensured via phone that this wouldn’t be a problem? The he asked his supervisor what to do and says he will get back to me. He calls me up after consulting with his supervisor and starts explaining that he can’t ensure a nut free flight due to what others bring WHICH I TOTALLY understand! But we expressed if a message was said and none were intentially served, the chances of people who would eat it would be slim, my risk reduced. He then said are we playing a game now?” How dare he say my allergies are a game. He then told me “I should be thankful he is letting me on my flight due to the huge risk and inconvenience I may cause to other passengers”.
He was very condescending, along with his supervisor. He told me it was very strange that I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t make an announcement or not serve them or even just tell the row ahead of me. He also told me how UNCOMFORTABLE I was making passengers. How about uncomfortable when your throat may close??? My family inquired at that time what the airline would do if they had someone with a disability and he said they would accommodate them on the plane. They then asked why not me and he said because food allergy is not a disability. THIS IS A SILENT DISABILITY. He told me to find a new airline.
I chose to go on this airline due to the fact that I was with 11 members who are traveling together as a dance studio. We were a team and had events scheduled together. I did my homework and called the airline before and was not told it would be an issue. I did not just show up and announce I had a food allergy. I turned around and went to buy two face masks, I took 3 Benadryl, and put my head into my cousins lap during the flight. I was fearful the entire flight, which is not how I usually am regarding my allergy. I am not only disgusted by the policy, but disgusted how I personally was made to feel. I felt harassed and disrespected by this pilot and the crew members. Food allergies are not a choice and should be respected.