My 16 year old daughter is allergic to all nuts. Flying is frightening, as we never know what to expect. On 4/9/2023, our first flight on United, from Boston to New York was easy. The crew were kind and supportive when I mentioned my child’s allergy. They announced it over the intercom and also requested that no one eats nuts on this flight.. Even more than I had asked for. No one on the plane seemed to mind not eating nuts, and no one complained. I was amazed and extremely grateful.
The second leg of our trip was a different story. We flew United again from New York to Cape Town, a 15 hour flight. I explained again to the crew my concern, in a very polite way, and asked that just those around us could be informed. They were rude and dismissive, implying that my request was impossible. I was told that they aren’t allowed to request that people refrain from eating nuts. Even to save a life? They asked if I had an Epi-pen – I have several, but it’s a scary thought that I might have to use it mid-air with possibly many hours before landing. I was spoken to as though I was making it up & being unreasonably neurotic. And as though they really didn’t care. I was left feeling angry and afraid for my child’s well being.
There is no consistency to their actions around this issue. As I always do, I tried informing them when buying the tickets, at all the ticket counters and to the crew. Each time I am asked if I indicated it when requesting special meals, but nowhere is there an option for that.
We need policy around allergies for the many people who suffer from them, as well as compassion. How hard is that!