This is a note from Lianne- As the testimonial below indicates Delta has updated their policy -https://www.delta.com/us/en/accessible-travel-services/dietary-needs-and-allergies – it does in fact have a separate peanut allergy policy -making allowance for peanuts in writing and NOT anything specific for tree nuts or other allergies- leaving it up to the crew. This is unacceptable and why we continue to advocate.
Testimonial on 2/5/2022 Our 6-year-old daughter has anaphylactic allergies to tree nuts. We have successfully and comfortably flown Jet Blue. They have always followed their published online policy of establishing a buffer zone where they do not serve or sell items containing tree nuts in front, behind and across from us. We travel with multiple EpiPens, wipe down seats, trays etc, and bring our own safe food.
We have not flown since Covid but recently explored flying to an important family wedding out of the US. The easiest most direct flights were on Delta and would allow us to travel within a single day. This would avoid the additional stress, inconvenience, and risk (additional care needed to have safe food and avoid Covid) of having to stay overnight in a hotel. I had heard that Delta was very allergy aware on many allergy support group sites online, so decided to call and confirm with Delta.
However, I was horrified and disheartened when I spoke with Delta about how they deal with all allergies except Peanuts! I called Delta disability services ( at phone number 404-209-3434 ) 3 times and spoke with 3 different supervisors, because I didn’t believe what I heard each time.
There is no buffer zone and no policy for tree nuts or any allergen other than peanuts, other than they will not serve tree nuts to your exact row on one side of the plane only (so only the people on either side of you). The 3 different supervisors at disability services told me it is up to the flight crew on the day of my flight if they decide to serve tree nuts as the complimentary snack to the entire plane, and it was likely they will serve the entire plane tree nuts.
One supervisor told me rudely that “I should not fly if we have life threatening allergies and find other transportation.” I explained that many people have anaphylactic life-threatening food allergies and should be able to safely take an airplane as a means of transportation as this may be the only option. I also explained that I am a physician, that anaphylactic food allergies are a recognized disability and that I did not think she should be saying I should not fly because I have a disability. I requested to speak to her supervisor, and she said she does not have one and she hung up on me.
I called the same disability services number again in hopes of getting a more informed, professional supervisor. However, this supervisor was even worse! I explained my young child had life threatening allergies to tree nuts and asked Delta’s policy. He also told me it’s up to the flight crew what rules they follow and what snacks they serve. I asked about a buffer zone, and he replied with, “It would unethical for Delta to not serve the tree nuts to the entire plane”. I said I disagree on that ethical claim and explained that other airlines such at Jet Blue do in fact restrict passengers in the 2-3 rows in front of, behind and next to us from being served or buying items containing tree nuts.
Again, the supervisor said Delta thinks that is “unethical”. I called a third time. This Delta disability services supervisor spent a long time searching for Delta’s policy on tree nuts, because she said they only had policies on peanuts. After about 5-10 minutes she found the policy- for people with a tree nut allergy, Delta will not serve tree nuts to the people in your row on only your side of the plane, meaning the two other people adjacent to you, tree nuts.
I explained that to other supervisors told me that if I have anaphylactic food allergies I should not fly by plane or that it was unethical for Delta to not serve nuts to the entire plane. She at least apologized for the other two supervisors poor attitudes and comments. She also apologized that she could not offer me anything more that Delta would do to make me feel safe for my family to fly with them. I also explained to her that I was a physician in Boston at a prominent hospital and very disappointed in Delta’s response. She was very kind and apologized but also said there was nothing more she could do to help me, other than encouraging me to file a complaint online through Delta’s online complaint form. I told her that because of this, me, my immediate and my extended family will NOT ever fly Delta.
Ultimately, we booked with Jet Blue. Our allergist at Boston Children’s Hospital was concerned that if the entire plane opened bags of tree nuts within a few minutes, that our child could have anaphylaxis. This means we have to depart an extra day (and take an extra work vacation day), stay at a hotel overnight (and all that entails with extra expense and days providing safe food away from home) because No same day connecting flights to our destination were an option on Jet Blue. But ultimately the only thing that really matters is feeling like we are doing all that we can to keep our daughter as safe as possible from having anaphylaxis in the airplane.