The moral of the story is please don’t be afraid to ask to preboard.
I’m on the Autism Spectrum, have environmental allergies to pretty much everything under the sun, and became airborne reactive to peanut dust and peanut products a couple of years ago. My dad, sister, and I had traveled out of state to a convention, and our first four flights went just fine. We were traveling Southwest (they didn’t serve peanuts at this time) and we just boarded at our assigned time. We wiped down my seat, and I wore a mask.
I hadn’t notified anyone at the gate about my allergy because I didn’t want to be separated from my family when boarding.
So on our final flight home, I boarded as usual but chose an aisle seat, and was trying to wipe down my seat. The flight attendant confronted me and told me to move. I tried to nicely say “I have allergies,” but moved anyway. It made it significantly harder to wipe down all of the area. I don’t do very well with confrontation (I was bullied by teachers when I was younger), so this really freaked me out.
Next time I fly I’m going to ask to medically pre-board. It is really hard to clean thoroughly during a general board.
Also, one other thing I should bring up: I wear a Vogmask and hunting earmuffs on flights, and I get uncomfortable because people look at me funny. The loud noises on planes give me sensory overload, so that’s why I wear hearing protection. The mask helps filter out allergens so I’m less likely to have a reaction. So if you see someone wearing funny accessories, please don’t stare. Just ask! I promise I won’t be offended.
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