My family of 5 were flying from Baltimore to Orlando on 8/20/17. It was our first time flying with our peanut allergic, 3 year old son. I called Southwest ahead of time to inform them of his peanut allergy. When we checked in we received our boarding passes and an additional pass stating that he has a Peanut Dust Allergy. We were told we could all pre-board.
We stood in the pre-board area for over 20 minutes and I repeatedly tried to get the gate employee’s attention to let him know that we were pre-boarders. He ignored me entirely and helped 4 individuals in wheelchairs on the plane. Finally, he allowed us on and scanned our passes without even looking at us. He immediately began allowing group A on, which meant that there were passengers directly behind us.
We boarded the plane and the head flight attendant looked at the Peanut Allergy notice and kindly informed us that pretzels would be served on this flight but that peanuts had been served earlier. She instructed the other two flight attendants to help us wipe down the tray tables. We found seats and my husband and I frantically started to wipe everything down while our 3 children stood in the aisle and members of Group A crept up on us.
The other two flight attendants stood at the back of the plane and refused to assist us. Instead, one of them shouted out “Do you have an epi-pen? Because we served peanuts on the last flight.” Then they shook their heads and rolled their eyes at us, they made it obvious that they were unhappy with our decision to fly. Then the same flight attendant yelled at my children to stop blocking the boarding passengers and get out of the aisle.
We were furious that we were not given adequate time to wipe down the seats and that our children were yelled at for making room for their parents to do so. But most of all, we were shocked and deeply upset by the two flight attendants’ response to our presence. They made it abundantly clear that they disapproved of our decision to fly with a child with a peanut allergy. When they asked if we had an epi-pen with us and subsequently rolled their eyes etc, we felt that they were not taking our child’s life,threatening allergy seriously. Then to add injury to insult, by refusing to help us clean our area I believe they exacerbated the problem. This was a very nerve wracking trip to Orlando and I am very reluctant to fly with my son again. Thankfully, although complaining of being “itchy all over” at the beginning of the flight, he reached Orlando without a reaction.
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